By Dan Nailen
on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM
Somewhere up there Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo are rocking out.
In case anyone attending the Pat Benatar Northern Quest show Saturday was unaware of the significant role she and her songwriting partner/husband Neil Giraldo played in '80s-era rock and pop music, well, the couple proved happy to help out.
Before they even took the stage, the crowd got a lengthy biographical film about their history, both personal and professional, that included plenty of video clips from the early days of MTV when Benatar was one of the only female faces gracing the channel, and one of the most potent voices on rock radio as well.
Benatar and Giraldo also talked — a lot — throughout the show. About the songs. About each other. About their influences. Lots and lots of talking. A few songs in, as Benatar told the crowd the band's current road trip is the "We Live For Love Tour," named for her 1979 debut album In the Heat of the Night, she informed the audience — a near sell-out — that this month marks the 35th anniversary of MTV (she had the second video ever played, "You Better Run"), the 36th anniversary of her Crimes of Passion album, the 37th anniversary of the start of her musical partnership with Giraldo, and the 34th anniversary of their wedding anniversary, noting with a joke, "Of course, I was only 12" when they got hitched.
Whew. Did I mention there was a lot of talking?
Thankfully, when Benatar and Giraldo got down to business with their backing band, they offered a far more convincing case for historical significance to American rock music history than anything they said between tunes.
The 63-year-old Benatar still has rock-solid pipes, and the songs she and the guitar-man hubby she calls "Spider" wrote and performed together through the Reagan era filled arenas and airwaves then and still sound pretty great now.
The opening trio of "All Fired Up," "We Live for Love" and "Invincible" came rapid-fire before the delicate piano intro of "Promises in the Dark" opened up into the familiar riff-rock favorite.
The least-familiar tune of the night was the mellow "In These Times" from an acoustic album the pair made in 1997, Innamorata. Other than that, it was hit after hit, including "We Belong," "Heartbreaker," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and, of course, "Love is a Battlefield."
"One of the great things about being around forever is you have a plethora of stories to tell," Benatar said before talking about being holed up in a cheap Oklahoma City hotel when she saw MTV hit the air, a nice way of introducing "You Better Run."
Among the pleasant surprises were a brief foray into some of Benatar's '80s peers, including Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" and an acoustic cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry."
About the opener
Melissa Etheridge is no typical opener, and she delivered a strong hour of her straightforward rock full of her hits like "I Want to Come Over," "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One." Apparently she didn't realize she had 90 minutes to play, because after a big goodbye an hour in, Etheridge and her band came back for 30 minutes they filled mostly with an epic jam and a drum solo. Not exactly her strong suit.
Dracula capes can be cool, Ghosland Observatory shows.
FRIDAY Ghostland Observatory’s Aaron Behrens and Thomas Ross Turner create pop music, sprinkled with glorious flashes of rock and soul, that will make you dance long into the night. Their shows often employ laser lights and flashy capes, and their steadfast fans are beyond ecstatic that they’re back from a hiatus. The Austin, Texas, duo is currently out on tour, one of their first since 2012, when they stepped away from the band (Behrens pursued a side project), only playing a few select shows here and there over the years. They’re playing the Knitting Factory Friday night starting at 8 pm. Who knows when they’ll be here next? You probably should go.
Girls do rock! And the Girls Rock Lab is a local program set up specifically to help give girls the opportunity to set free their rock ’n’ roll sensibilities. Through week-long workshops, volunteers work with girls ages 8 to 16, helping them write songs, start bands, practice and perform, all in a safe and collaborative environment. On Saturday at 7 pm, participants share the Bartlett stage with talented local female bands Mama Doll, Phlegm Fatale, Windoe and Violet Catastrophe for a final showcase. While the show is free, donations to the program are encouraged.
Bringing in headliners Afroman and Bowling for Soup (who doesn't want to relive the early 2000s?) is the largest Green Fest yet, going down at Black Diamond in Spokane Valley. The event also includes more than 20 local punk and rock acts beginning at 11:30 am. Cost is $20.
Pat Benatar and her guitar-playing husband Neil Giraldo, are back in to prove that they do indeed belong together. Their Northern Quest show starts at 7:30 pm Saturday, with tickets starting at $45. Opening for the pair is super awesome rocker Melissa Etheridge.
By Dan Nailen
on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 10:45 AM
Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle at the Bing Crosby Theater Wednesday.
Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle's decision to form a folk duo and record an album under the rather obvious name Colvin & Earle proved inspired once the record arrived in June.
Given both artists' long histories as headliners, it's no surprise their show at the Bing Crosby Theater Wednesday lived up to the strength of the album, and then some. The two swapped stories and songs for the better part of two hours, playing the entire Colvin & Earle album and delving into their respective catalogs for old favorites, too.
For fans, it was a treat to hear them talk about the songwriting process for the original songs on the new album, and how they decided to cover tunes like the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" and Emmylou Harris's "Raise the Dead" — both highlights of the show. For the Stones track, Earle talked about "playing" a tennis racquet to the song in the mirror before he actually learned how to play a guitar; for the Harris song, Colvin talked about Emmylou's often-overlooked songwriting gift.
They kicked off the show all business with no chit-chat, starting with a cover not on the album, the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie" before launching into the first song the wrote together, the excellent album-opener "Come What May."
Fitz and The Tantrums put on a high-energy show on Tuesday at the Knitting Factory.
The lights dim in the Knitting Factory and a drummer, a bassist, a saxophonist and a keyboard player take the stage. They set to work adjusting their instruments as the audience's volume raises. After a few moments of anticipation, the main foci arrive. Noelle Scaggs walks in from stage right, garbed in a shiny silver jacket and a half-skirt. Michael Fitzpatrick comes from stage left in a button up, jeans and polka-dotted shoes. After a moment of smiling and waving, an acknowledgement of the audience's riotous cheers, the six-piece, the fully formed Fitz and The Tantrums, explodes into performance.
The L.A.-formed indie-pop/soul group broke onto the scene in 2010 with the release of their debut album, Pickin' Up the Pieces. This June, the band released their self-titled third album, headlined by the infectious dance inducer "HandClap." The album, despite struggling through some critical scorn, has been a commercial success, peaking at number 17 on the Billboard 200.
That success is obvious at the group's Knitting Factory show Tuesday, where a large, tightly-packed crowd on the floor interact excitedly with Scaggs and Fitzpatrick throughout the concert. Each time they're called upon to clap or sing along, they do so willingly and enthusiastically. All the while, a square-centric light show radiates behind the stage as the rest of the band jams along to back their two charismatic singers.
Good morning Spokane and welcome to the day after Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit your town to open their Camping Trip tour. And no, those massive dirt ditches surrounding the Bing Crosby Theater are not result of the mayhem that hit that block last night, but it's understandable that you'd think as much.
What I expected to be a simple hip-hop show at an intimate venue turned out to be an all-day hullabaloo in downtown Spokane, where fans were lined up by mid-morning to get a good spot in the pick-your-own-seat show. By 2 pm, T-shirt stands were set up outside the Bing and a few hours later Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appeared to sign gear.
Note, this was still a good three hours before the show was set to begin. With Fitz and the Tantrums nearly selling out the neighboring Knitting Factory, the entire block, and the surrounding bars and restaurants were jam-packed on this rare celebratory Tuesday night.
OK, so after standing in line for a thorough security pat-down, the masses who'd snagged a ticket for this gig that sold out in a matter of minutes when it was announced back in May finally got closer to answering the question: "What the hell is this Camping Trip thing?"
We knew it was a string of shows in smaller towns in Washington at mostly historic theaters and that this was notable because Macklemore and Lewis have just returned to the states after playing stadiums in Europe. But that was about it. Inside, though, we got a look at the log cabin stage motif, decked out with trees and a spartan DJ set-up.
By Dan Nailen
on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 10:48 AM
(left to right) Cindy Cashdollar, Christy McWilson, Dave Alvin, Eliza Gilkyson, Rick Shea
It's not every day that an artist ends a concert by announcing that the band — and part of the audience — has to hustle to catch a train to Montana.
That was just one of the moments that made Tuesday night's "Roots on the Rails" tour stop at Chateau Rive, headlined by roots-rock singer-songwriter Dave Alvin, something special.
Alvin led a crew of stellar folk artists including Eliza Gilkyson, Rick Shea, Cindy Cashdollar and Christy McWilson through two hours of swapping stories and songs to a packed room in the bottom of the Flour Mill building. The cast of performers rotates at each stop of the tour being done by train, and there was nothing to complain about with Spokane's lineup as each artist charmed with their own songs while jabbing and joking with each other in between tunes.
The audience sat in rapt silence for most of the night, respectful of the performers, and the group included a bunch of folks traveling the whole six-stop tour through the West that came to Spokane from Seattle and headed to Glacier National Park for its next show. Among the travelers were 10 who flew all the way from England, and a couple I chatted with were utterly delighted by show's end.
As well they should be, given what filled the show. Shea's straightforward folk kicked things off with story-songs like "Mariachi Hotel" and "Sweet Bernadine." He then introduced Gilkyson, who dotted her set with hilarious commentary. At one point, she explained that she was trying to avoid repeating any songs over the course of the train tour, "so I keep going back to earlier and earlier material, from several marriages ago."
Twin Peaks are still heading to the Bartlett this fall.
In a day and age where music festivals continue to pop up like dandelions, some festivals are now struggling to compete (this year's Sasquatch! and Paradiso festivals didn't even sell out). Today, the Bartlett owners announced they would cancel Bartfest, a two-day music festival they had scheduled to run the last weekend of September/first of October at their venue and neighboring nYne.
Although a two-day pass was listed at $30 (a far cry from the first Bartfest's $90) for a lineup consisting of up-and-coming indie acts Twin Peaks, TOPS, Tangerine, White Reaper, Soft Sleep and the Echolarks, the pre-sales were not enough to keep the 3-year-old festival afloat. Although Spokanites are notorious for not purchasing tickets until close to a performance/event date, owners Karli and Caleb Ingersoll had been burned before when their first Bartfest outing only sold a third of tickets needed to break even.
"Canceling is definitely a self-protective move," the Ingersolls wrote in a Facebook post today. "If people don't buy tickets, our venue is put at risk because festivals are based on guarantees only and not percentages of ticket sales. So, when people don't show up, we suffer."
But all is not lost. Twin Peaks is still booked to perform at the Bartlett that weekend and TOPS will play at the Observatory, both on Sat, Oct. 1. The owners plan to keep moving forward.
"Bartfest may re-emerge at some point, but for now we are going to focus on what we feel the most confident in — bringing in really great bands weekly and giving them a great space to play in," the Ingersoll's wrote.
Brett Dennen brings his folky acoustic style to Spokane come September.
Brett Dennen has known some degree of stardom ever since he released his self-titled debut album in 2004. The folk singer/songwriter was born in Oakdale, California, and spent his early homeschooled days basking in creative freedom and learning to play the guitar and write music. A social activist at heart, Dennen led anti-smoking campaigns during his time at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is still involved with The Mosaic Project, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to fostering peaceful intentions in youth of different backgrounds and ethnicities.
Following the release of his first album, Dennan has put out five subsequent records, including his most recent, Por Favor, which hit shelves in May. Over the course of his musical career, he's toured with John Mayer and Pete Murray, and collaborated with Jason Mraz on a song included on the compilation album Songs for Survival, the proceeds of which went to charities focused assisting tribal peoples in the Amazon.
At the show, the artist is likely to focus on songs from his newest record, one that he strived to imbue with raw honesty and some degree of looseness. It's an album with a generally uplifting sound despite the seemingly somber nature of some of its subject matter, which includes Dennen's grappling with feelings of loneliness and loss.
Tickets to the show go on sale Friday, Aug. 26, at 10 am on the Knitting Factory's website, and will cost $20 before fees. At the door, the base price will increase to $22.
Here's Dennen performing one of the songs on Por Favor, titled "Cassidy," live:
The Hoot Hoots headline Saturday's Steam Plant Block Party.
It's another weekend full of tough musical choices. Too bad it's impossible to be in multiple places at once.
The thing about bands that say they are breaking up is that they normally are telling the truth, or at least the truth in that moment. Back in 2013, the Fruit Bats played their "final show" as a band in Portland. Yet last year, lead singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson announced he was back at it. Absolute Loser is the act's first album in five years and you can hear much of those sweet, sorrowful tunes at tonight's Spokane show at the Bartlett. The show starts at 8 pm and is $17 at the door.
Tonight, the first-ever Rage-Apalooza (a combination of the All Age Rage and Octapalooza music festivals) continues at the Viking, and the lineup playing the two outdoor stages includes all local acts. Get a load of this list of bands: Invasive, Soblivios, Seven Cycles, Concrete Grip, Cold Blooded, Hexxus, Children Of the Sun, Thunder Knife, Project-X and Catalyst.
The show is $15 at the door for a single-day ticket. Be sure to check out the lineups for Saturday and Sunday as well as read the Inlander's full event preview right here. We're most looking forward to Portland's own metal act Red Fang closing out the festival Sunday evening.
SATURDAY Wimps are back! While the Seattle trio did play Sasquatch! this year, they haven't been in Spokane since last August. This time, the punk rockers will take on the Observatory with the help of local artists Peru Resh and S1ugs. Cost is $7 at the door and you should probably arrive around 9 pm. Check out the band's new album below.
For those on the hunt for yet another cool festival/block party, look no further than the all-ages Steam Plant Block Party. Held in the parking lot between the Steam Plant and Baby Bar, the lineup kicks off with DJs Ca$e and Pauliday at 2 pm and ends with Seattle’s own wild indie rockers the Hoot Hoots. In between? Local acts including Flying Spiders, Von the Baptist, Summer in Siberia and Lavoy. On top of the music expect a handful of vendors, food trucks, a T-shirt screen-print booth, even a dome to hang out in. The party doesn’t end there, moving inside Baby Bar after 10 pm for even more sweet tunes. See the full lineup right here. Tickets are $10.
The Spokane Symphony is busy the next few weeks, playing their annual crowd-favorite shows at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars and then Pavillion and Comstock parks. These outdoor concerts help celebrate the fading days of summer, but it's the upcoming season — performed mainly indoors at the Martin Woldson at the Fox Theater that we're most looking forward to.
Below are the performances you'll be remiss to miss. Get all your ticket information here.
Opening Night Sept. 17-18
You may recall the flying whale scene in Disney's Fantasia reboot back in 2000. That animated vignette was set to the music of Respighi's Pines of Rome, which the Spokane Symphony will perform to close out its opening weekend performance of the 2016-2017 season. You can choose to imagine whales bursting through clouds while listening to this piece, or ruminate on something else. Either way, the final minutes of this will take your breath away. The weekend also features master violinist Philippe Quint (who once left his $4 million Stradavarious in the back of a New York taxi cab) playing the U.S. premier of the "Tropoi" Violin Concerto.
The Rach 2 Oct. 8-9
It's one of the most obvious piano concertos out there, and one of the best. So when the New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Association pianist Inon Barnatan comes to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, you'll need to go hear it live. The piece is romantic to the core. Plus, any Celine Dion fans out there will recognize the interlude from her version of "All By Myself."
Beastly Mahler Oct. 22-23
Gustav Mahler is a beast of a composer, giving musicians a full body workout from start to finish. And his Symphony No. 3 is the most monstrous of them all — clocking in at nearly two hours, it is the longest piece played by most orchestras around the world today. Calling the performance A Hymn to Nature, the Spokane Symphony enlists the help of the Symphony Chorale, the women of the Whitworth University Choir, the Spokane Area Youth Choir and alto soloist MaryAnn McCormick. Your mind will certainly wander during this one, but it will be worth it in the end.
Wands (batons?) at the Ready Oct. 29
John Williams' Harry Potter film scores will soon be on full display just in time for Halloween. That's right, the Spokane Symphony is playing selections from all of the Potter films and, similar to last year's Star Wars event, people are encouraged to dress up. As part of the interactive event, concertgoers can also select a Hogwarts house to be a part of. The 2 pm matinee show is best for kids, and the 8 pm performance is more so for adult fans.
Intersect Nov. 4, Jan. 13, March 10
Ditching the name Symphony with a Splash, this year's collaborative event series is now called Intersect. The program looks to reel in folks who may not have been to a symphony show before, combining the talents of local artists, chefs, bartenders, pop musicians and of course the Spokane Symphony, who will largely play modern works here. Check out the Astor Piazzola piece being played for the tango-themed Intersect evening.
Phantom, Still Feb. 4
Even today this face is scary.
Before Andrew Lloyd Webber came around, there was the 1925 silent film version of Phantom of the Opera, among others. Continuing its Symphonic Film at the Fox series, the symphony will perform the soundtrack as the scary black and white masterpiece appears on screen. The makeup alone is enough to give you nightmares.
The Russian Soul March 25-26
At just 25, American violinist Benjamin Beilman comes to Spokane to perform one of the most technically difficult works of all time — Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. The composer only wrote one violin concerto in his lifetime, probably because he put all of the things in this one piece.
The other Requiem May 6-7
The final classical concert of the season closes out with the operatic Verdi's Requiem, which is about as full scale as possible with choir and soloists accompanying. The below clip is beyond terrifying and perfect to play loudly in the morning when no one in your house is getting out of bed. There's no way you can fall asleep listening to this one.