Timbrrr! in Review: Washington's Winter Wonderland Will Warm Your Heart

About a year ago, when I first moved to Seattle, I went to a talk at Fremont Abbey done by Kevin Sur. I’ve been to quite a few of these talks on booking and promoting in the music scene, but this one talk in particular really stood out to me. Kevin just seemed so fond of music, and everything he said resonated with how I felt music should be done and it is one of the few talks I find myself constantly referring back to in my head. The reason I bring this up is because this was also the first time I had heard of the music festival that Kevin had founded, Timbrrr! This past weekend I had the honor of going over to Leavenworth, WA for my very first Timbrrr! and I can say pretty positively that it will not be my last.

The trip began at a Greyhound bus station that reeked of bad blunts and B.O., but the bus was the cheapest option, and being from California, I am not too fond of driving in the snow. The Snoqualmie Pass was closed, but luckily our bus was going through Steven’s Pass, a route I had never taken before, so I was kind of excited that 1. I didn’t have to drive an unfamiliar path in the snow, and 2. I would get to see parts of Washington I’ve never seen before. I honestly really love the highways of Washington. The openness of vast farmlands and forests with their changing textures. It’s humbling to say the least and maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in Washington that I appreciate it so much, or maybe it’s because it feels like the combination of being inside a Bon Iver album while simatamusly being in the same vicinity as Agent Cooper.

Photo by GLD.TOP

I honestly went into this festival with little to no knowledge. I had never heard of Leavenworth, and didn’t really know what to expect. To my surprise, Leavenworth is the cutest, quaint, Bavarian styled town, that at this time in the year was dusted with snow. The bus had gotten us there pretty early, so we used this extra time to explore the town, grab some food and take some pictures. All the buildings in the downtown area where we were had Bavarian architecture, and Christmas lights hanging on both roofs and trees. There was a giant hill near the front street of downtown that kids were sledding down, and at every hour the clock tower at the Festhalle chirped out a tune. We were instantly sucked into the setting of a Lifetime movie, but in the best way possible. It is really hard not to fall in love with the charm of this place, and to me this played a huge role in my love for this music festival.

Photo by GLD.TOP

Once doors opened we headed inside to get a peek at what we were in for before the place got packed. It was like walking into a Winter Wonderland. The stage was lit light blue, there was a giant inflatable snowglobe, the signs for merch and drinks were painted on rustic wood with the names “General Store” and “Timbeer,” Canada was a sponsor and had brought a bubble hockey table. Everything seemed so meticulously thought out, and the place looked amazing. Even the drinks were festive, with multiple forms of Moscow Mules and Hot Toddies, along with Icicle Brewing Company beer (Leavenworth’s own brewery that was located conveniently across the street.) Originally I hadn’t planned on drinking, since I had just gotten a cold two days before we left, but then I remembered that whiskey is supposedly a remedy for the common cold, and I’ve never been one to turn down a Hot Toddy (side note: my cold was almost completely gone the next day so I’m going to go ahead a say that Hot Toddies are the best form of medicine.)

DJ Lovechain | Photo by GLD.TOP

Due to the conditions on the pass, a lot of artists were having difficulties getting to Leavenworth, so the set times all got pushed back, but it really wouldn’t be a festival without some sort of difficulty. The Cave Singers unfortunately cancelled, so to make up for it Leavenworth local, DJ Lovechain, got to open (he was originally supposed to play an afterparty at one of the local bars, The Loft.) You may know DJ Lovechain as FFU’s Diogenes. Sporting an actual “love” chain, he started out the night with lofi hip hop remixes, and got us excited for the weekend ahead of us.

MC Troy Nelson | Photo by GLD.TOP

Troy Nelson from KEXP was our MC for the weekend, and a good 60% of the notes I took were quotes from him, so just assume anything you see in quotes from here on out is probably a quote from Troy Nelson. The next band, hailing from Seattle, Wall of Ears, “literally just pulled up in their van,” but the wait did not disappoint. Lead singer, Chris Lott, came out in a furry lavender trench coat, which later would become a conversation with a local we met who would call it “The Musicians’ Coat,” because every band has one. Wall of Ears was theatrical to the core. Chris sings with an unforgettable, emotionally piercing, droney falsetto, and the whole show was just straight up FUN. I hate to call them “arena rock,” but they gave me that vibe in the best way. Maybe it’s just the rainbow-y psychedelic influences that made me think of Coldplay or Sufjan.

Wall of Ears | Photo by GLD.TOP

Next to the stage was The Black Tones, the three-piece blues/punk fusion made up of twins, Eva and Cedric Walker, and Robby Little. Eva gave major Ronettes-esque vibes and their overall sound was a combination of the “Seattle” sound mixed with Phil Spector. The whole set was fun, and the fun they were having on stage translated to the crowd. Overall, the thing that stuck with me the most was the descriptions Eva gave for each song, with “Welcome Mr. Pink” being about her and Cedric’s father (“Yeah it’s sweet...if you’re into bank robbery”) and “Women in Black” being about her thoughts after attending a Black Panther convention. Eva’s smile was illuminating the whole time, their message was powerful and reigned strong, and their music rocked hard.

The Black Tones | Photo by GLD.TOP

After The Black Tones, we were taken on a trip to California, with Portland natives, The Shivas. They brought a sound that wasn’t as aggressive as new su