Saturday, June 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Make a Scene: Squeak and Squawk

The most hipster-approved of Tacoma's upstart music festivals is back. Squeak and Squawk returns on Sept. 12 with two indie-rock showcases daily at the Dome District's New Frontier Lounge and Broadway Center's Studio 1 through Sept. 16.

Squeak and Squawk was founded by local scenesters Sean Alexander and Peter Lynn in 2008 and was taken over by current organizers Jena Stedtler and Adam McKinney last year. This will be the festival's fourth run.

“We don't have any heavy metal or hip-hop or anything like that,” McKinney said, when asked to differentiate Squeak and Squawk from events like Art on the Ave and Music and Art in Wright Park.

“Basically, Squeak and Squawk is a curated festival,” he said. “So I'm only booking bands that I can really stand behind and say this is something worth seeing. We try to bring in more outside talent than a lot of other festivals in Tacoma do. We do have our local acts, but we're sort of trying to broaden the musical horizons for Tacoma.”

McKinney and Stedtler raised $7,500 through Kickstarter this year - more than three times last year's budget. That allowed the duo to bring in some of their favorite acts from out of town, among them the Bay Area's Carletta Sue Kay and Twin Steps and Tender Forever, the stage name of Portland electro-pop artist, Melanie Valera.

“Carletta Sue Kay is someone that I saw at South by Southwest in 2011, and I was immediately struck by her,” McKinney said. “It's a guy named Randy Walker from San Francisco. He's just a really big dude, and he cross dresses sloppily and sings torch songs, almost like Antony and the Johnsons.”

McKinney also expected Twin Steps’ vintage brand of art-rock to be a big hit. “They incorporate elements of '50s slow dance music with soul samples and guitar freakouts, and it's all a really interesting mixture,” he said.

Squeak and Squawk will also include its share of Tacoma and Seattle buzz bands, the likes of the Fame Riot, Not From Brooklyn, Wheelies, the Hoot Hoots and La Luz. The Broadway Center shows are open to all ages, while you must be 21 or older to attend the New Frontier showcases.

The most up-to-date ticketing info available online at


Sept. 12

The Fame Riot, Xylophones and J. Martin, 6 p.m. at Broadway Center

I Like Science, Week of Wonders and People Under the Stairs, 9:30 p.m. at New Frontier Lounge

Sept. 13

Carletta Sue Kay, Hands In and the Optimistics, 6 p.m. at Broadway Center

Twin Steps, Summer Cannibals and Tangerine, 9:30 p.m. at New Frontier Lounge

Sept. 14

Tender Forever, Margy Pepper and La Luz, 6 p.m. at Broadway Center

I Will Keep Your Ghost, Man Plus and Future Bass, 9:30 p.m. New Frontier Lounge

Sept. 15

Lake, Friends & Family and the Hoot Hoots, 6 p.m. at Broadway Center

Wheelies, Fen Wik Ren and Not From Brooklyn, 9:30 p.m. at New Frontier Lounge

Sept. 16

Goat and Upchuck and the Chunks, 6 p.m. at Broadway Center (free)

Rowhouse and friends, 9:30 p.m. at New Frontier Lounge (free)