In five minutes we’re going to miss getting our bikes on the bus. My nine-year-old son Jackson has done a lot of crazy things with me this year—including going to Iran—but I know biking up the South Hill in 25 minutes on Saturday night is going to elicit mutiny.

We make the bus, but we feel sorry for the guy who can’t put his bike on because we’ve already filled the bike rack. (Can we get some three-bike racks on STA busses?)

We get off at 37th and Bernard and ride the rest of the way to the Rocket Market on 43rd to hear the return of Saturday night music after the end of summer noise controversy. We listen to the nice Jack Johnson-esque acoustic music outdoors with many seniors and toddlers. This is what the fuss was all about?

As the sun sets we put on our bike lights on and cruise Grand Boulevard back down the hill. I warn Jackson to follow my line and give him a heads up so that his skinny tires don’t run afoul of a few nasty potholes.

We arrive downtown at blocked off Main Avenue just in time for the start of Sustainable Uprising. Jackson buys some soda, a few comics from Merlyn’s, and we take in a recycled fashion show, break dancing, a drum circle, and some cool local hip-hop. I’ve never seen open-air, downtown Spokane pulse and pound quite like tonight.

At 9:30 we head over to the Empyrean where Mr. James Pants and band are just about to take the stage. This third all-ages show of the night is raucous and hopping, with bodies tightly packed. Pants and his band deliver a great set with all the loose energy of a hometown show mixed with tight showmanship that only comes from the months of world-touring. Jackson is mesmerized by the drummer.

It’s a bit loud and late for a nine-year old so we head home, rolling down hill into the warm September evening. Jackson’s a trooper; 3 shows, 12 miles, and one organic apple later and he hasn’t complained about Dad’s brisk pace for the night. I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of our bike ride, and the fact I can take my boy to three great music events in one night. By bike. Nothing’s better than a hometown that can still surprise you.