All this week, Behind the Setlist is previewing Volume, a music festival in Spokane, Washington, which features 100 DIY and indie artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond (put together by our friends at the Inlander). Our Spokane team will be on the ground during Volume on June 2 and June 3, but we wanted to dive into these artists ahead of time.

Who are they, where do they come from, and what can we expect? We turned up the Volume on each artist for a little preview palaver.

Fat Lady @ Red Room Lounge, 6/3, 11:45pm

Where are you from, how long have you been a band and how did the group come together?

Fat Lady began in January 2016 with myself (Sky Dornbirer), Drew Stern and Jace Karloff. A basement jam session at my house was turning into something a little more. I had been playing in the R&B group L.O.S. for a while, but I found that the tunes I was writing were more rock oriented.

Rather than search all around the city I found [musicians] right under my nose. I knew of a local sax/wind player who had been working with me at Hoffman Music named Patrick French. He turned me on to a lot of older ’60s British and American blues/psychedelia. We quickly got a short set together and played an open mic at the Red Room Lounge—and for a Tuesday night we did pretty good. After a few successful gigs downtown, we grabbed the attention of the Inlander for Volume [2016]. By then I found a new drummer, Brad Spracklin (also working at Hoffmans), from Flannel Math Animal. Shortly after Volume we added our great friend John Lynn on electric cello, which added a thicker bottom end and beautiful melodic colors. Since then we have been writing and finding the cool b-side covers that people still recognize.

What’s your favorite song to play live and why? 

Our favorite song to play would have to be our title song, “Fat Lady.” I wrote it to clear up that the band name is about appreciating voluptuous and curvy women. Patrick would always use the words like, “Boy, that has a fat sound to it doesn’t it?” We always relate the good things to a pretty woman, and the loud and thick sounds to the word fat. Not a derogatory term to us at all. In fact, most of us even have a beer gut to boot. And we like it that way. 

What goes into the making of a great setlist?

Honestly, for us, it depends on the gig. I will write a setlist about an hour before we play: gauge the room, look at the people, maybe check out the band’s energy before us. Half the time I change it on the spot to play to the audience. If they are dancing, I keep the energy up. If I’ve played four heavy songs in a row, I slow it down and give their ears a break. It’s all about keeping them hooked.

Who are you most excited to see at Volume fest?

KALAJ. I’ve known all those cats for a long time. And what they are putting down is sure to break new ground this year. A whole new look for the Spokane music scene. That’s what I always look for, something fresh. They’ve got it.

If a Spokanite stumbles into a Fat Lady performance during Volume, what type of show are they likely to see? 

I’m sure they will be stumbling by then around 11:45pm… I think they will see our eclectic take on vintage rock ‘n’ roll with a little swing to it. Usually we have stage antics, although I couldn’t give that away yet or it would be no fun. Let’s just say the Big Mama may make a quick visit to the Red Room.

Answers by Sky Dornbirer. Follow Fat Lady on Facebook. Get Volume tickets here


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