From left, Lelah Maupin, Eric Randall, Emile Nokes, and Bree McKenna, members of the Seattle-based band Tacocat, pose for a picture. Nokes, who sings for the band, is a Butte native. The band performs during the Original Festival at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Original Stage.

A Tacocat performance is the kind of experience that sticks with you long after the show is over.

That’s according to Matt Boyle, organizer of the free Original Festival, which kicks off Friday at the Original mineyard and features Tacocat at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.

"You never forget a Tacocat show, that’s for sure," he said.

But what else would you expect from a band whose website compares the group to a fluorescent-lit snack-aisle oasis in a desolate interstate road stop, brimming with Skittles and limited-edition Sno Balls?

The Seattle-based band -- which Boyle described as an energetic, colorful mixture of pop punk and indie rock -- features the vocals of Butte native Emily Nokes along with drums by Lelah Maupin, bass by Bree McKenna, and guitar by Eric Randall.

Nokes, 32, said she didn’t grow up singing, nor did she have aspirations of being in a band that would gain a following.

"Singing definitely is not something I thought I would ever do," the Butte High School alumna told The Montana Standard in a cell phone interview from the road Thursday.

Instead, Nokes said, she moved to Seattle when she was 19 with the idea of becoming a graphic designer. There Nokes attended the Art Institute of Seattle, where she met drummer Lelah Maupin, who would later encourage Nokes to start singing casually with the Tacocat crew.

Today the band offers upbeat performances — replete with decadent, whimsical outfits and brightly colored hair — and draws from punk, pop, and feminism, covering everything in their lyrics from women’s issues to "The X-Files."

Nokes described the band’s aesthetic as "sparkly" and "fun" but said that when its members first got together, they went for a simpler sound, drawing from the music scene in Olympia, Washington, and girl bands like Vancouver-based Cub.

When asked what she enjoys about performing, Nokes responded, "I like the adrenaline rush."

However, she said what makes performing with Tacocat really worthwhile is the opportunity it affords to inspire young people.

"That’s the most special thing to me, I think," said Nokes, who noted that the band’s feminist themes are especially engaging to young women.

Nokes said she’s both nervous and excited to perform in Butte during the Original Festival’s Friday night lineup and that she’s happy to see a festival taking place in her hometown.

Boyle, meanwhile, said he’s learned a lot in the five years he’s been organizing the festival, including about himself.

"I don’t even know where to begin," he said.

Boyle said the first few years of the festival were tough, especially the first year when he didn’t get the turnout he wanted and the third year, when his brother passed away. However, he says this year it feels as though the festival is coming into its own and that he anticipates a good turnout.

"We’ve got our niche," Boyle said.

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Business Reporter

Business Reporter for The Montana Standard.

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