August 20, 2004 in Seven

Belt of Vapor to steam up The B-Side

By The Spokesman-Review
Amanda Smith photo

Belt of Vapor, an experimental rock trio, plays progressive rock with tinges of jazz. Belt of Vapor recently won the battle of the bands competition at The B-Side and is one of the Spokane music scene’s most popular bands.
(Full-size photo)

Belt of Vapor’s seven essential albums:

“Close to the Edge,” Yes

“Catch Bull At Four,” Cat Stevens

“Harvest Moon,” Neil Young

“Vou Lez Vous,” Abba

“These Times They Are A-Changin’” Bob Dylan

“Stag,” The Melvins

“Drukqs,” Aphex Twin

The members of Belt of Vapor weren’t expecting to place high in the battle of the bands at The B-Side this spring.

In fact, they weren’t even planning on entering the sprawling band competition that stretched from weeks to months.

But here they are, rolling around in the Chevy Astro minivan they won for first prize.

“We were surprised we won. We were asked to fill in at the last minute for a band that dropped out. None of us are 21, so no one really knew who we were,” said Aaron Powell, bassist and singer for Belt of Vapor. “It just gives us some reassurance that people actually think we are doing something interesting.”

The minivan is getting experimental rock outfit Belt of Vapor from A to The B-Side, 230 W. Riverside, on Saturday night for an opening slot for rock star gods The Makers and Portland’s Book of Maps. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. The cover is $7.

Next weekend, the “Beltmobile” will see Powell, guitarist/singer Bob Homburg and drummer Justin Walter to Silver Mountain’s Silveroxx Mountain Bike and Music Festival, where they’ll open for punk-funkers Fishbone, along with locals Civilized Animal, Flyreal and Mylestone.

Who cares if it’s not a full-size van, they can always hitch a trailer on it to load the bulk of their gear. Two hundred and eighty-seven thousand miles? No big deal, it’s an old Postal Service vehicle, so it’s all highway miles. Plus, it has a brand new transmission, says B-Side owner Ben Cater.

And besides, Powell said the band will just end up selling its highly coveted prize and use the cash to fix its old van.

“It’s free, I’m not complaining,” said Powell, adding that BoV opted to turn down the custom paint job, which came with the prize, from artists at Tiger Tattoo.

Relatively young on the scene, BoV members have known each other since grade school and have been friends since fifth grade.

It started with Walter taking guitar lessons and teaching Powell and Homburg to play songs by Mudhoney and Nirvana.

Belt of Vapor members were somewhat known on the all-ages circuit as Self-Inheritance, before they lost a bass player and switched their name to Belt of Vapor.

With a much tighter sound than in the previous incarnation, Powell said BoV is readying itself to record a six-song home-job demo as well as a full-length professional studio album.

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