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No butts about it; Night Grind should rock

The Spokane Regional Health District is looking to kick butts at its fourth annual Night Grind skate demonstration and concert this weekend.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Under the Freeway Skate Park downtown, the free event features exhibitions by skateboarding daredevils Natural Koncepts, a professional skate team from Hawaii, and music by local low-key rockers The Derivitives, Lewiston metalheads Critical Mass and former Spokane trip-hop band V. Velella.

Night Grind is a tobacco-free skateboarding event designed to raise awareness about tobacco prevention among youth. The event is held in conjunction with The Great American Smoke-Out and World No Tobacco Day. To encourage a tobacco-free lifestyle, all attendees will be asked to sign a pledge to stay tobacco-free.

The concert and exhibition features the first show by V. Velella since the duo decided to relocate to Seattle. Andrew Means (former bassist for Rand Univac) moved to the West Side a couple of months ago. His cohort, Michael Burton, should be there by early June.

Since Means’ migration, he said he’s been writing mad amounts of material and has more than an hour of music ready to record. Some of that will be performed Saturday along with cuts from V. Velella’s January debut, “By the Wind Sailor,” and songs from its new promo-EP.

Means began noodling with electronic music about two years ago, when he was exposed to hip-hop producer Mad Lib’s “Yesterday’s New Quintet.” After that, his approaches to music became increasingly more experimental, just as members of Rand Univac were ready to move on.

“We had a good run, so we figured, ‘Let’s do what we want to do,’” Means said. “For me that was beat-driven hip-hop influenced jazz.”

Now means goes on about African funk and jazz from the late 1960s the way a teenage girl does about Justin Timberlake.

Means and Burton use analog synthesizers, vibes, electric piano, bells, programmed drums, guitars and bass for their sound.

Before leaving Spokane, V. Velella was fast gaining popularity in the local music scene.


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