Entertainment

Odesza: ‘It feels like we’ve been gone forever ... and it feels like we were there just yesterday’

Two Bellingham music giants return for biggest concert in Whatcom County history

Death Cab for Cutie and Odesza are two bands that got their start while band members were students at Western Washington University. On Saturday, May 18, both groups are returning to Bellingham for a benefit concert dubbed “Double Major.”
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Death Cab for Cutie and Odesza are two bands that got their start while band members were students at Western Washington University. On Saturday, May 18, both groups are returning to Bellingham for a benefit concert dubbed “Double Major.”

For some it’s a walk through Boulevard Park at sunset with a stop at Woods Coffee — others might covet a beer from a favorite local brewery.

But Odesza’s Clayton Knight says a stop at Super Mario’s Food truck for some Salvadorian food is an absolute must.

“It’s just not a trip to Bellingham without that,” Knight told The Bellingham Herald. “It’s something you just have to do. We’ll probably also want to drive along Chuckanut Drive and pick up one of our favorite beers at Boundary Bay (Brewery), but yeah, we’ve got to stop at Super Mario’s.”

Knight and Harrison Mills will return to Bellingham — the city where they formed Odesza in 2012, when both were students at Western Washington University — as part of Saturday’s “Double Major” concert with Death Cab for Cutie — another band that got its start in the City of Subdued Excitement while attending WWU.

The concert, which is expected to attract 13,000 people to Civic Stadium for the largest musical concert Whatcom County has ever seen, is scheduled to start at 5 p.m., with gates opening at 4 p.m. All proceeds from the event will be donated to WWU’s Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment, according to the press release for the event.

And make no doubt about it, Saturday’s event is all about a return to the community and the school that helped both bands get their start.

“We’ve been a huge fan of Death Cab forever,” Knight said of how the concert began to come together three or four months ago. “We were doing an event near San Diego that they were at, and we swung by the green room, and we started talking about Bellingham, naturally reminiscing.

“So we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could go back and do something together,’ and how cool that would be. We went back and forth a few times, and then it got real serious fast. Management took it from there, but it was real organic how it grew, and we’re real happy it did.”

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A nostalgic return for Odesza

As happy as they are to return, it’s their fans who still live in Bellingham who should feel fortunate.

The electro-pop duo was ranked No. 10 by Billboard.com on its list of the top Dance 100 Artists of 2018, after Odesza released its first album in three years. “A Moment Apart” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, according to the article, had three tracks crack the top 30 in the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs category and received two Grammy Award nominations.

Knight said this won’t be the first time he and Mills have returned to their college roots — about two or three months ago they passed through on their way to Vancouver, B.C., to watch Drake.

But he said they expect to spend the entire weekend in Bellingham, even doing a DJ set Thursday night at the Wild Buffalo — the site of Odesza’s first show.

“I expect the whole weekend is going to be really nostalgic,” Knight told The Herald. “It’s odd, because it feels like we’ve been gone forever, and then we go back, and it feels like we were there just yesterday. It’s a beautiful city, and we’re glad we get to stay a little longer this time. We’re going to visit the old spots and the house we grew up and worked out of. It’s going to be really special for us.”

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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