Words, Photos & Video: The Rusty Cleavers live at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

By Ron Swarner on December 14, 2014

Mention the words "rusty cleavers" in the South Sound, and odds are responses will range more to the punk-grass spectrum than lazy chefs. The Rusty Cleavers write rowdy songs. They take their musical influences - folk, country and bluegrass - and punk them up. They add growls, and serve them with a cold Tacoma beer. Dec. 13, the Tacoma band served their music with cold weather. They delivered a Paul Bunyan-like boot heel clack before the ice skaters at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink.

It's Saturday night at the ice rink plopped atop of Tollefson Plaza and the people are packed so tight it's amazing they can get find a spot to fall. But they can, and they do, and it feels like an earthquake, like the ice might crack. The Rusty Cleavers' singer and banjo player Forest Beutel announces he's keeping track of the wipeouts and the greatest spill recipient will receive a free band CD.

Often described as the Old Crow Medicine show meets the Ramones, The Rusty Cleavers' live shows have always been fist-pumping barnburners. Audiences can't help but cut loose as they pummel their string instruments with rhythmic abandon, layering husky harmonies overtop that swell to bursting. Saturday, the audience couldn't help but flat out fall down.

A big, thank you to The Rusty Cleavers and all who came out to watch the band and ice skate.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink at Tollefson Plaza hosts public ice skating sessions across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum daily through Jan. 11.

Tacoma Americana band Dixie Highway is up next at the ice rink, performing 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. In the meantime, enjoy a few photos and a video (above) from Saturday's down home holiday hoedown with The Rusty Cleavers.


Words, photos and video from Shotgun Kitchen's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and video from SweetKiss Momma's live performance at Polar Plaza

Words, photos and a video from The Cottonwood Cutups' live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink

The backstory and band schedule for the Weekly Volcano's Rhythm & Ice music series at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink