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Sicko’s Back In Town With Pop-Tinged Punk

Our favorite trio of techno-geeks-turned-punk-rockers return to the drier side of the state this weekend for a long-awaited show in Spokane. Yep, it’s Sicko, a group of guys from Seattle who manage to not only hold down day jobs as computer programmers and technical advisors, but also play spunky punk with a pop heart.

They arrive Saturday at Ichabod’s North with their fists full of new CDs. Their fourth long-player, “You Are Not The Boss Of Me,” released on eMpTy Records, comes packed with hepped-up tales of geek love, youthful bliss and indie rock life.

“I think for us it was more of a return to the pop elements of the second album than the punkier elements of the third album,” says singer/guitarist Ean Hernandez.

Sicko formed more than six years ago and, although the group hails from Seattle, singer/guitarist Denny Bartlett grew up in Spokane. Hernandez and Bartlett are joined by drummer Josh Rubin.

The album - 17 songs long - finds tunes like “Summer Never Came” returning to early Sicko style while “Wrathchild” finds them revealing their love for Iron Maiden.

“We wanted to have this huge monster production sound … and we were really big Iron Maiden fans back when we were kids,” Hernandez says. “So, we actually covered an Iron Maiden song. We were just like crying we were laughing so hard in the studio.”

(On that note, look for their cover of Van Halen’s “Panama” coming to a 7-inch record soon.)

The guys will be touring later this year in Japan as well as down the West Coast of this country. And if you ever wondered why they keep going after so long, just check out the lyrics to the song “The Best Thing In the World.”

“Playing in this bad pop band was the best thing that I ever did/Playing in a punk rock band was a lot more fun than anybody ever said.”

Sicko headlines the show at Ichabod’s North Saturday. The Saddle Sores from Vancouver, B.C., play the middle slot and Spokane boys The Stoics open the show. The fun starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

More Spokane returns

Spokane loves Celtic rock. Especially when it comes from Canada. Which, strangely, is where a lot of it seems to be coming from these days. Vancouver, B.C.’s Clumsy Lovers stopped by for a visit a few weeks ago and whipped up a sweaty dance party. Next Thursday a Vancouver, B.C., six-piece called The Paperboys returns to the Fort Spokane Brewery with their mix of Celtic, bluegrass and folk pop.

The Clumsy Lovers formed after several members split away from the Paperboys. And although the sound of the bands are similar The Paperboys seem to land a bit more on the folk side. Both, however, offer up a decidedly upbeat and danceable sound.

The Paperboys (which actually includes a few girls) feature fiddle, accordion, flute, mandolin and banjo, as well as guitar bass and drums. They call their sound “stomp” music and arrive this week with a new CD called “Molinos.”

The music starts Thursday at 9:30 p.m. Cover charge is $4.

If you missed Man Ray the last time they came here - and it sounds like a lot of you did - then here’s another chance. This Seattle band with a penchant for solid pop rock textured thick with the moody and dreamy elements, headlines at Ichabod’s North tonight. They’re worth checking out.

Spokane bands The Carcinogens and Big Fat Sassafras (three members of Shrinking Violet) open the show. Cover is $5 and music starts at 9:30 p.m.

All-ages stuff

Speaking of Shrinking Violet. Here’s a good cause and some good music. Spokane pop rock bands Shrinking Violet and Smash Velvet will raise money for the Cheney High School wrestling program with an all-ages show Wednesday night at the high school. Shrinking Violet guitarist John Beauvais, a wrestling coach at the school, says the money will be used to buy uniforms, tournament entry fees, etc. Music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Catch four bands for four bucks at Club Christo in the Central United Methodist Church Saturday night. Juggernaut, Rainbroz, The Kagneys and Squelch are all set to perform. Music starts at 6 p.m.

Local favorites

Rocking bluesmen Too Slim and the Taildraggers play tonight and Saturday at The Fort Spokane Brewery. Congratulations goes out to drummer John Cage who received an artist endorsement from Remo Drums.

The brewery show starts at 9:30 p.m. and the cover is $6. The trio will also give a free performance Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Valley Hastings in support of their new album “Blues for EB.”

Power pop rockers Flourish headline at Outback Jack’s tonight. They’ll be playing a few new songs for us. They’re joined by the bands Smooch Knob and Woodard. Cover is $4 and the music starts at 9:30 p.m.

Yow. I caught North Idaho’s Champion Birdwatchers Tuesday night. Paint me impressed. This five-piece band - which includes a celloist - may not be the liveliest group to watch on stage, but that’s OK. Just kick back and listen as their otherworldly melodies move from cruise speed to careening intensity. It’s cool and chilling stuff.

They perform at Ichabod’s North Thursday night along with their side project, Derc the Enforcer, and Method. Also keep your eyes open for a CD from the Birdwatchers. My suspicion is it’ll be worth training your binoculars on.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.

Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.