It's Labor Day weekend, a time when local music fans leave town, en masse, and head north for Bumbershoot festival and east to catch Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge.
Still, there are plenty of promising options for those of you who don't want to brave those festival crowds or spend a fortune on gas. Here's one way you can spend your four-day weekend without leaving town.
Night Beats (Friday, The New Frontier Lounge)
This Seattle trio - singer-guitarist Danny Lee Blackwell, bassist Tarek Wegner and drummer James Traeger – has been building a hefty buzz of late with its reverb-drenched psychedelic garage. The band's sophomore album, “Sonic Bloom,” was recorded here in Tacoma and is due from Reverberation Appreciation Society on Sept. 24. But fans can get a preview at this show, which also features Bath Party. Music starts at 9 p.m., cover is $5 and you can check out http://www.thenewfrontierlounge.com for more details.
Palmer Junction (Saturday, The Spar Tavern)
This Enumclaw-based outfit is a rising star on the local blues scene, having recently made it to the finals of South Sound Blues Association's Back to Beale Street Blues competition. The band's eclectic sound – which occasionally strays into rock, funk and jazz territory – is captured on their recently released debut album, “At the Shed,” which you can preview online at http://www.palmerjct.bandcamp.com. Music starts at 8 p.m and there's no cover charge; http://www.the-spar.com.
Merrilee Rush (Sunday, The Swiss Tavern)
Rush is best known for her 1968 hit “Angel in the Morning,” a song that landed in the top 10 and earned her a Grammy nomination for female vocalist of the year. She'll team up with Gabriel, the popular Tacoma rock band that built a large regional fan base in the '70s before signing four separate deals with major labels. Music will start at 8 p.m. and admission is $10; http://www.theswisspub.com.
Rafael Tranquilino (Monday, Stonegate Pizza)
Tranquilino is a Tacoma guitar hero and last year, Tacoma Weekly readers voted his Rafael Tranquilino Band the best blues band in our annual Best of Tacoma poll. See him team up with special guests during his weekly jam night, which kicks off at 8 p.m. There's no cover charge; http://www.stonegaterocks.com.