Nana’s Pant Suit among 14 bands playing at Gateway Rotary’s Brats, Brews and Bands

Bass player Matt Conklin of Nana’s Pant Suit. The Olympia band plays early Saturday afternoon at Brats, Brews and Bands.
Bass player Matt Conklin of Nana’s Pant Suit. The Olympia band plays early Saturday afternoon at Brats, Brews and Bands. Courtesy photo

Nana’s Pant Suit is not the biggest or the best known of the 14 bands playing Saturday at Brats, Brews and Bands, the Gateway Rotary Club’s big fundraising party. But the born-in-a-basement band stands out both for its name and for the sheer joy it inspires in its members and fans.

The Olympia-based seven-piece, which played the Gateway Rotary fundraiser six years ago, is back for the seventh annual BBB, bringing its danceable mix of ’80s, ’90s and contemporary covers, its sense of humor — and, maybe, a pink pantsuit or two.

The fundraiser, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children’s charities, has more bands this year than ever before and it is expecting more people to come out to listen, too, said Gateway Rotary spokesman Troy Kirby. Based on online ticket sales, he and fellow organizers expect a crowd of more than 2,000 to eat brats, drink beer and other adult beverages, and hear local and regional artists playing rock, country and more.

“We have a lot of different kinds of acts,” Kirby told The Olympian. “Whatever kind of music you like, we have a band for you.”

If you have fond memories of MTV’s debut, the Pant Suit — as the band members call the group for short — might be the one for you. The group plays The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” famed because it was the first song played on the music-video channel, along with tunes by Depeche Mode, Tom Petty and Matchbox 20, among others.

“It’s a good eclectic mix,” Kirby said.

“My wife and I love Nana’s Pant Suit,” said Jeff Powney of Olympia. “They play a lot of fun cover tunes that make you get up and dance.”

He tries to see the Pant Suit every chance he gets, he said.

There aren’t all that many, though. The guys — rhythm guitarist/vocalist Brent Conklin, bass guitarist Matt Conklin (Brent’s brother), trumpet player Jeff Klein, keyboard player/vocalist Matt Lane, drummer Brad Livingstone, lead guitarist Garner Miller and saxophonist Paul Rae — play a couple of times a year at most.

“We all have kids and lives and juggling that is challenging, so we play when the stars align,” Brent Conklin told The Olympian. “We have a lot of fun when we do get together.

“We never really intended to become a band,” he added. The group started in the late ’90s with a five-song set played to the beat of a Casio drum machine at a party in Miller’s basement.

It was about a decade later that the band, which by then included Livingstone, played to an audience beyond friends and family.

The guys also didn’t intend to name the band after a key part of Brent and Matt’s grandmother’s wardrobe. Rather, the name found them.

“When we were trying to come up with a band name, my cousin was out for a visit, and we were brainstorming with her,” Brent Conklin said. “Before she flew home, my mom handed her a plastic Safeway bag and said, ‘You need to take this back home. It’s Nana’s pantsuit.’

“My cousin turned to me and said, ‘There’s your band name.’ ”

Brats, Brews & Bands

  • What: The Gateway Rotary Club fundraiser’s name pretty much says it all, though the event does include cider, wine and some food options other than bratwurst.
  • When: 1-10 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: The Hub, 676 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey
  • Tickets: $10 and $15
  • More information: bratsbrewsandbands.com


The seventh annual BBB features local and regional bands on four stages. Here’s the lineup:

  • 1-1:45 p.m. Creature Hole (electronic pop)
  • 1:15-2:15 p.m. Nana’s Pant Suit (pop rock from the ’80s to today)
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. Mallori Danielle (singer songwriter)
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m. Exit 88 (classic and modern rock)
  • 2:30-3:15 p.m. Kaitie Wade (country)
  • 3:15-4 p.m. Jeff Ott (singer songwriter)
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. Slainte (Irish rock)
  • 4-6 p.m. Briana Renea (country)
  • 4:30-5:45 p.m. LOTT Troubadours (rock)
  • 5:45-7:15 p.m. Washed in Black (Pearl Jam tribute)
  • 6-7 p.m. Sam Densmore (singer songwriter)
  • 7-9 p.m. Dakota Poorman (country)
  • 7:15-8:30 p.m. Lemmings (rock)
  • 8:30-9:55 p.m. Purple Mane (Prince tribute)