Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band at Mt. St. Helens

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Alex Crick
Traveling with a band of indie rockers like Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band has its plusses and minuses. For starters, the friendly five piece are some of the nicest musicians in town. If you climb in a 15 passenger van with these guys on a three hour journey, you'll find they've got freshly baked chocolate muffins ready for you. Bite into one and you'll be happy that you did, until you learn that the band's14 year old drummer, Marshall Verdoes, claims he made said muffins from scratch and swears he didn't wash his hands.

But that's the joy of traveling with Marshall and crew. There's never a dull moment. Like any kid in a room full of adults, Marshall always finds a way to be at the center of attention. His band members (as much as they love him) can't stand him for it, but he doesn't care. He loves everybody and that makes a three hour car ride even more enjoyable. Why am I writing about this? Because over the weekend, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band played a great set of music at Mt. St. Helens, the volcano in which they partially named themselves after. For a full review of their performance, check out this Spin.com review, which I wrote earlier this morning. That's what I call full disclosure. Speaking of that subject, there's a well detailed account of our journey out to the Cascades over on Line-Out right now penned by Megan Seling. Why she fails to mention that she's related to three members in the band is kind of weird. Marshall Verdoes, Benjamin Verdoes, and Traci Eggleston are her in-laws. It wouldn't have hurt her blog post in the slightest to disclose that, but that's on her.

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Alex Crick
Loading in gear on the side of a mountain
Still, everybody on the journey (writer's, photographers, musicians, etc.,) had a great time venturing up to the mountain. And things only got better once the band finally started playing. It wasn't a packed house by any means but folks in the audience were dancing, laughing, and singing along during MSHVB's set. Even before they played inside of the observatory overlooking the volcano, John van Deusen of the Lonely Forest played several sad bastard, melancholia-based songs that showed how talented of a songwriter the 21-year-old truly is. There's a good reason Sound magazine put his band on their cover recently and he showed off his impressive chops while clouds swirled below us.

After all of the concert hype was over and the band played their last note, most of us stuck around and camped overnight. Watching the look on Marshall's face as he looked at the Milky Way was priceless. We saw several planets including Jupiter and four of its moons on Saturday night, and tons of shooting stars as well. It was an amazing journey in the name of rock 'n' roll.

 
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