Friday, September 23, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Dolly Parton gets quite goofy, tacky, conversational and amazing

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:01 PM

Dolly Parton took to the Northern Quest stage last night for a sold out show. She told the audience they aren't real — her nails that is. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Dolly Parton took to the Northern Quest stage last night for a sold out show. She told the audience they aren't real — her nails that is.

She got into "Jolene" rather quickly last night. That's right, THE Dolly Parton walked out onto the outdoor Northern Quest Resort and Casino stage and treated fans to one of her best written works (possibly one of the best of all time) only a few songs into her sold-out show. It was a bit more sing/talky than her original recording, but that got us ready for the rest of the evening full of ... talking. Lots of it. 

But that's part of what made the 70-year-old's show so incredible. She talked our ears off, and it was funny and moving. It was like she invited us all over to sit in her parlor one Thursday evening to tell us her life story. The not-so-natural blonde spoke of her poor family upbringing and her faith and her prior and upcoming film/TV projects (apparently Burt Reynolds is a good kisser, for the record).

When she stood up from a bench she was singing on for part of the show, she worried her "box office" may be showing. She told us she was fine being tacky, and proceeded to explain about the town trollop she resembled her "look" after. "I'm not a natural beauty," she said. Her minister grandpa worried about her looks too, she told us, and he would ask her if she wanted to go to hell and she'd reply: "No, but do I have to look like hell when I go there?"

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baroque pop-rockers Ra Ra Riot head to Spokane in October

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Fans of the Syracuse, New York-based five-piece Ra Ra Riot best get their tickets when they go on sale this Friday morning, otherwise there might be a riot...

All puns aside, the recent announcement that the upbeat indie rock group — which counts a violinist among its members, hence their oft baroque/orchestral categorization — was planning a quick stopover in Spokane had this fan beyond excited, and I've got a Google alert set to remind me this Friday morning, Sept. 23 at 10 am, to grab my own tickets ($22 for the all-ages event) to the show on Saturday, Oct. 29. 

Currently on tour to promote their fourth full-length album released back in February, Need Your Light, the band is heading to downtown Spokane's intimate venue The Bartlett, which is known to sell out when hot acts like this come through.

When the band previously announced their new album's fall tour, Spokane was not included on the list, but we're glad they decided a trip over the mountains between gigs in Seattle and Portland was worth it. Ra Ra Riot was last here back in April 2009 for an amazing show at Gonzaga University, joining Cold War Kids and Death Cab for Cutie.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Blink-182, PorchFest and more

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 1:59 PM


You may have seen Coeur d'Alene singer-songwriter Ron Greene out and about at many restaurants and live music spaces across the region, including Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, playing a mix of covers and his own tunes. But tonight, the artist releases a new album, In Honor Of A Critic, full of his own original works at the Bartlett. Openers include Shelby McKinnon and Justin Brache. The show starts at 8 pm and is $10 at the door.

Blink-182, the band you grew up with rocking out to 
Blink-182's new lineup now includes Alkaline Trio guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba.
  • Blink-182's new lineup now includes Alkaline Trio guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba.
“All the Small Things,” “The Rock Show” and “What’s My Age Again?,” has returned to the spotlight with a new record aptly called California, which went No. 1 when it was released in July. They'll play the Spokane Arena tonight showing off their new lineup, along with other emo/punk acts A Day to Remember and All-American Rejects. The show starts at 7 pm and tickets start at $25. While the trio is sure to play the hits, their new stuff will certainly be on display as well (see below). 


Head to Spokane's West Central neighborhood Saturday afternoon to hear 20 musicians and poets perform on 17 various porches, all you have to do is walk around to hear a new sound. That's right, PorchFest is back to help promote community building in the economically diverse neighborhood. The performances are all free and run from 3-7pm. 

“We’re gonna need a big space,” thought local pop auteur Nick Swoboda after his little sister asked him to perform at her Sweet 16 celebration, reports Connor Dinnison. She’ll get her wish: the Knitting Factory will host Emma’s Birthday Bash this Saturday, featuring a headline performance by her brother along with many others. Swoboda’s intricately crafted, genre-bending productions, nimble wordplay and confidence behind the mic are the results of hard work; he writes, produces, engineers, records and runs a mixing/mastering service out of his home studio, even doing audio/visual work on commercials for clients like STCU. The show starts at 8 pm and is $10 at the door.

Also, the Spokane Symphony kicks off its season this Saturday with its first classics concert.
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Bonnie Raitt gives Spokane something to talk about

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 10:53 AM

Bonnie Raitt's voice and guitar-playing skills gave Spokane something to talk about last night.
  • Bonnie Raitt's voice and guitar-playing skills gave Spokane something to talk about last night.

The emotions ran wild last night. One woman in front of me burst into tears right before diva extraordinaire Bonnie Raitt left the INB Performing Arts Center stage for the first time. She pulled her husband in for a hug and sobbed into his chest. Another older man in the audience kept waving his arms around. He yelled at folks surrounding him when they weren't showing as much passion as he was. 

But the person who took the cake? Allen Stone. 

Yes, Chewelah's own bluesman Allen Stone, who's currently signed to Capitol Records, sat directly in the middle of the packed-in INB auditorium (all three tiers were mostly filled in) and danced his heart out to a few of Raitt's upbeat numbers, like "Something to Talk About" and the Zimbabwean hymn "Hear Me Lord." He motioned to the audience to stand with him. Many followed. 

Last night, the mostly older audience — Raitt is 66 after all — was treated to one of the most talented guitar players of all time along with her incredible band. Raitt's slide-guitar prowess was on full display, shredding up every guitar she was given, which was essentially a new one for each song. When she brought out opener Richard Thompson, the two rocked out on the acoustic guitar together for the heartfelt "Dimming of the Day," which was written by Thompson.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

They're baaaack. Portugal. The Man returns for a November gig in Spokane

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 3:30 PM


If you missed Portugal. The Man's headlining spot at Gleason Fest, or loved it so much you're dying to see them again, it's your lucky day. 

The band originally formed in Sarah Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, are back on the road and have a show scheduled for Spokane on Friday, Nov. 18. They'll be playing the Knitting Factory, and tickets are $25 and on sale on Friday, Sept. 16, at 10 am via the Knitting Factory website and  Boone Howard will open the show. 

Now based in Portland, the band are hard-touring road warriors who have had some turnover in membership outside of founders John Gourley and Zach Carothers, but they never seem to lose any steam. It's been a few years since they released an album, the 2013 release Evil Friends, but earlier this year their social media accounts said a new one called Gloomin' and Doomin' would be coming out soon. 

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Storytellers at St. John's, Fly Moon Royalty and more

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Nat Park and the Tunnels of Love are part of a stellar bill at The Observatory Saturday, headlined by Bad Motivators.
  • Nat Park and the Tunnels of Love are part of a stellar bill at The Observatory Saturday, headlined by Bad Motivators.

A bevy of live options await music lovers heading into the weekend, so heed some hot tips from the next couple days: 


Hey, look, it's another festival! Borracho Fest brings out Elton Jah, Flying Spiders, Fusbol and the Broken Thumbs to the venerable taco joint downtown. It's free. 

You'll find a distinctly different vibe up at St. John's Cathedral for a special "storytellers" show featuring Marshall McLean Band and Water Monster singing tunes in the beautiful and musically sound cathedral. For just $5, it's a pretty sweet deal for a distinctly different music experience. Doors at 7 pm, show starts at 8. 

I caught Fly Moon Royalty last week at Bumbershoot when the funky/soul/hip-hop crew nearly burned down the KEXP studio stage, so hot was their gig. They're coming to the Checkerboard Bar tonight, where they'll be joined by Flannel Math Animal, the Snakebites and Quarter Monkey. That's a whole lotta tunes! Here's a little taste of Fly Moon Royalty: 


The Observatory hosts Seattle rock crew Bad Motivators, who will be joined by Great Spiders and Nat Park and the Tunnels of Love for a fine evening out. 

Before that show, maybe head to the Hillyard Hippie Happening. Not only does the daylong festival have a great name, it's got a lot of live tunes coming at you from Kozmik Dreamzz, Stuntcoaster, 3D, Strawberry Fields, Psychedelic Scene and Feelin' Groovy. No doubt many in attendance will be feeling groovy indeed. 


A little live hip-hop to end the weekend? Why not. Catch Nappy Roots at the Red Room Lounge Sunday night. 
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Bumbershoot 2016's highlights off the beaten path

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 1:55 PM

Margo Price proved worthy of the hype that accompanied her album earlier this year.
  • Margo Price proved worthy of the hype that accompanied her album earlier this year.

Any festival with a 46-year history is going to have its share of naysayers, but Seattle's Bumbershoot remains a force in the Pacific Northwest thanks to its combination of convenience, timing and a dedication to regional music. Judging by the teaming hordes who filled Seattle Center last weekend, the fest is as popular as ever. 

I cruised westward for the Labor Day festival with little in the way of "must-see" bands on my list, allowing the whims of my friends and the vibe at any given time to steer me toward music. That proved a good idea. 

Collectively, we decided to never stand in line, which meant ignoring the array of DJs who performed in Key Arena, as well as some of the headliners playing in Seattle Center's football stadium. No Macklemore, no Fetty Wap — no problem for us, as we found plenty of treats on smaller stages. 

Here are a few highlights of this year's Bumbershoot: 

Best Cover Tune
Atlas Genius delivered a solid early set Friday as the festival was just getting rolling, and their cover of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was both reverent and quite excellent. 

Best Next Weezer
Coast Modern, a relatively new band based in Los Angeles, charmed with a set of winning pop-rock, as well as Seattle native/guitarist Luke Atlas talking about spending his high school lunch hours right at the mural amphitheater his band was playing. 

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Friday, September 2, 2016

THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Pig Out lineup breakdown, Duran Duran, Itchy Kitty album release show

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 10:50 AM

Seattle's Sir Mix-A-Lot headlines Pig Out in the Park Friday night. This show most likely won't be as wild as his performance at last year's Perry Street Shakedown.
  • Seattle's Sir Mix-A-Lot headlines Pig Out in the Park Friday night. This show most likely won't be as wild as his performance at last year's Perry Street Shakedown.
You’re already there for the delicious but not nutritious food, but don’t forget about the music coming through each day at Riverfront Park for this year’s Pig Out in the Park. Here are some of the bands you should be sure to check out by day, time and stage. Check out the whole lineup right here. Music runs Fri-Sun until 10 pm. Monday ends early at about 8:30 pm. 
5 pm - Flying Spiders, Lilac Stage
7 pm - Stepbrothers, Lilac Stage
8:45 pm - Celebrate with Peter Rivera, Clocktower Stage
9 pm - Sir Mix-A-Lot, Lilac Stage
7 pm - B-Radicals, IMAX Stage
8:45 pm - Randy Oxford's All-Star Slam
9 pm - Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad), Lilac Stage
9 pm - Angela Marie Project, IMAX Stage
9 pm - Cowboy Mouth, Lilac Stage
9 pm - Heart By Heart, Clocktower Stage
7:25 pm - Karrie O'Neill, IMAX Stage 

This fashion-forward 1980s pop magic act is headed to the Northern Quest Resort and Casino Friday night, touting all of the old favorites but also a lot of the new music off last year's critically-acclaimed Paper Gods. The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets begin at $65. Read our full preview article on the band right here. 

With this Spokane punk act, the cat reigns supreme. That's right, with Itchy Kitty you can expect more than a few meows, purrs and screams throughout their shows. They'll hit up the Observatory Sunday night at 9 pm ($3 cover) for their debut studio album release. In case you can't make it, the album is available for purchase at Garageland, but you can also listen right here. 


Carrie Underwood comes to the Spokane Arena Sunday and Dave Matthews Band comes to the Gorge Amphitheater for their annual Labor Day Weekend extravaganza. Neither are sold out. There, now you know. 
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: 5 Seconds of Summer in Spokane — evolution of the Boy Band

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 5:31 PM

5 Seconds of Summer at the Spokane Arena Tuesday night.
  • 5 Seconds of Summer at the Spokane Arena Tuesday night.

Tuesday night, I chauffered a 12-year-old to the 5 Seconds of Summer show at Spokane Arena, where she joined a few thousand of her peers, many of whom had just had their first day of school. 

I knew virtually nothing of the band beforehand, save their Australian background and claims of loving pop-punk bands like Green Day. That proved true enough — they played Green Day and Blink-182 before they hit the stage, and their 20 or so songs leaned heavily on the tropes of the genre: short tunes, singalong choruses, many exhortations for fans to sing along. 

While it's been awhile, I saw many so-called "boy bands" years ago, acts like Backstreet Boys, O-Town and 'N Sync, thanks to being in this line of work. And it was striking how some things have changed in teeny-bopper world, even as other aspects remain the same. To wit:  

CHANGE: Prices are outrageous. This isn't news to any music fan, I know, and the ticket prices weren't particularly bad for 5 Seconds of Summer. Still, they were high enough to keep the arena less than half full. A hundred bucks for a hoodie? Fifty bucks for a T-shirt? 

THE SAME: The audience for a boy band, predictably, was about 90 percent adolescent girls. The other 10 percent on hand? Probably an even split between moms and dads. 

CHANGE: As a general rule, I always think bands are dumb when they play more-established/better bands as their warmup music before hitting the stage. Think Nickelback playing Zeppelin. 5 Seconds of Summer gambled on that by playing the aforementioned pop-punk bands as well as fellow Aussies AC/DC. But they also played their own song over the loudspeaker before taking the stage! Their "Girls Talk Boys" to be specific, only to actually play the song live, like, an hour later. 

CHANGE: In the olden days of 'N Sync, 98 Degrees and the like, the audience was content to scream their collective heads off at the boys on stage. Now, every move was well documented via phone camera — moves of the 5 Seconds boys, and moves of the audience members and their friends taking selfies from every conceivable angle. #SelfieCulture is definitely a different aspect of the boy-band phenomena. 

THE SAME: The fans have favorites. Each band member took over the mic at various points and was greeted with vociferous cheers from the kids who have him as their favorite. Whether it was drummer Ashton Irwin cajoling the seated folks to storm the floor, or singer Calum Hood crooning a ballad, guitarist Luke Hemmings taking a solo or bassist Michael Clifford simply emoting — they were met with some deafening squeals, even with a sparsely populated arena. 

CHANGE: Unlike those dancing, prancing boy bands of yesteryear who relied on choreographers, songwriters and various svengalis for their fame and fortune, it's easy to imagine 5 Seconds of Summer actually lasting a while as a band. Sure, they're poppy, but they actually play instruments, and their between-song banter (complete with the occasional swearing) was pretty endearing and seemingly off-the-cuff. Those old boy bands were so meticulously crafted that nothing seemed spontaneous. 5 Seconds of Summer might be just as much a product as a band, but they could conceivably evolve into something more someday.

Their fans obviously will. 
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Monday, August 29, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Pat Benatar strolls down memory lane with a night full of hits

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM

Somewhere up there Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo are rocking out. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • 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. 
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