Diverse music choices abound over the next few days in Helena -- from the return of hometown Helena band -- Wrinkles, to the annual solstice celebration at St. Paul’s, to a Christmas Eve concert at the Helena Civic Center.
Wrinkles holds 100th concert
Wrinkles, a five-member indie-rock band that started in Helena, celebrates its 100th concert with a 9 p.m. concert Saturday, Dec. 23, at the fourOsix.
In recent years, the five members -- Sanders Smith - guitar, bass; Markle Quinn - bass, guitar, keys; Brody Montgomery - drums; Thomas Elsen - vocals, keys; and Jon Cardiello - vocals, guitar, keys-- transplanted themselves to a farmhouse outside of Missoula.
Cardiello describes their sound as “drawing influences from a wide range of artists such as Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade and danceable elements from LCD Soundsystem.
They’ve also described their music as blending “synth driven rhythms with strong melodies to create a youthful, danceable, rock sound.”
You can check them out on Spotify and Bandcamp.
Expect to hear songs from Wrinkles’ inaugural disc, “Separation Anxiety,” as well as quite a few new ones headed for release in 2018 on their next CD, which is a work in progress.
KXSU, the student radio station in Seattle, described Wrinkles as “an awesomely energetic band with some quirks and interesting sounds.” Adding that “Wrinkles is described as dream pop for a reason. They have a tad bit of a folky sound sometimes but really stick to heavy keyboard and slightly funky guitar parts. The drumming is soft but substantial and very well timed. Bass-wise, this band is the DESTROYER of other bands.”
That was the station’s Wrinkles preview leading up to Seattle University’s Battle of the Bands in February 2015.
When asked to talk about a favorite original song Cardiello focused in on “They Set Me Down” from their first album.
“It’s a fun, sort of imaginative song. It’s all about the idea of being a kid and having this rich imagination being such a huge part of your life as a kid and then coming into adulthood and you’re supposed to grow out of that.
“The song’s about this character who has an imaginary friend -- that he’s being told that he needs to let go of.”
While none of the Wrinkles quintet pursued music in college, all of them are passionate about it now -- and in fact ever since 2012 in Helena when they began playing music together during summer vacation.
These days they’re busy juggling their day jobs, Cardiello said, but pursuing their music, writing new material and touring whenever they can.
A few of their big breaks have been opening for Glass Animals at the Wilma Theatre, playing at the Top Hat and regular concerts at the Zootown Arts Community Center.
Tickets are $5 for Saturday’s show. Doors open at 8 with music at 9. FourOsix is at 320 N. Last Chance Gulch.
12th annual Solstice Celebration Thursday night at St. Paul’s
Lots of timely new twists are part of this year’s Solstice Celebration 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
“The emphasis this year is inclusiveness in our community and nation,” said Wilbur Rehmann, who has been a moving force in organizing the annual event. “We think we have more in common than our differences.”
Helena’s Mayor-elect Wilmot Collins, who arrived in Helena as a Liberian refugee during Liberia’s Civil War, will speak at the celebration about his positive experience of being a refugee and an immigrant, said Rehmann.
And Harnek Singh and Ish Kaur will speak about being Sikh and what that means for them.
Janet Tatz, Helena Jewish Community representative, will talk about the Statue of Liberty and the poem engraved on it, said Rehmann.
Vocalist Sarah Elkins will join the Wilbur Rehmann Quintet for this year’s concert. She’s often seen as a lead vocalist with the very quirky Helena rock ‘n’ roll, space-punk band, Rocket to Uranus.
Members of the Wilbur Rehmann Quintet include Blackie Nelson on guitar, Ken Nelson on piano, Gerry Secher on drums and Pete Hand on bass.
Elkins will sing “Pennies from Heaven,” “On the Street Where You Live” and a Leonard Cohen favorite, “Dance Me to the End of Love.”
“Jazz is an original American art form that reflects the diversity of our culture and history,” said Rehmann, adding “I think it is appropriate for music in that tradition to provide the basis for meditation and reflection at this pivotal time of year—for people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds.”
The program will also include music by Helena musician and singer, Judy Fjell, who has written a song, “Carol of A Different Drum.” It speaks to a society of inclusiveness, said Rehmann, and is sung to the tune of “The Little Drummer Boy.”
The Solstice Celebration “is a non-denominational celebration of the longest night that includes individuals from the Christian, Jewish and other ethnic and religious communities in Helena,” he said. “It is simply a time for reflection and meditation and coming together as a community and offers a time to enjoy the music, meditations and special reflections.” It is not tied to a specific religious tradition.
The program is open to people of all cultures and faiths and is at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, at the corner of Cruse and Lawrence. A small donation is suggested.
Christmas Eve at the Civic Center with Narrate Church
Narrate Church invites the community to join them in celebrating Christmas Eve at the Civic Center.
This is their third annual Christmas Eve event at the Helena Civic Center and they are offering two free Christmas concerts at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Each is 75 minutes long.
Local singer-songwriters Kate Plummer and David Casey will be leading the Christmas music program, which is about 45 minutes, said Plummer.
The concert features seven vocalists altogether, including Anna Milburn, who has performed in several recent Grandstreet Theatre productions, and Janell Williams.
There’s also a 12-piece band playing a wide array of instruments from guitars, to mandolin, pedal steel, drums, percussion, piano, bouzouki, flugel horn and more.
The concert features Christmas favorites so the crowd can sing along.
And you can also expect a live Kids Choir performance.
Adam Huschka will spend 20 minutes exploring the first Christmas in a fresh way that provokes new thoughts about a familiar story, said Plummer.
There will also be kids activities offered in the Civic Center ballroom for children ages six weeks through fifth grade.