Monday, August 31, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Huey Lewis & the News brought a bar band vibe to town

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Huey Lewis & The News love their sunglasses.
  • Huey Lewis & The News love their sunglasses.

There are a few things about Huey Lewis & The News that makes the band better than your average oldies act touring around in 2015. 

First, of course, is a jumbo-sized catalog of hits to draw from when they hit the stage. Huey and his charges were so prevalent on the radio and MTV in the '80s that they can easily play a show of nothing by recognizable crowd-pleasers, as opposed to some legacy bands who try to stretch their three big hits into a 90-minute show. They can't resist throwing a few new tunes in the set, of course, but they don't have to pad the set with junk. 

The band also has a great sense of humor about being an oldies band, with the affable frontman making several good-spirited jokes about his own age, and that of his audience, as well as the tendency of classic rock crowds to hate hearing new music from their favorite old bands. To wit: At one point, after asking how many in the crowd had seen the band before, Lewis said, "I know some people have seen us before. And I know how they feel. 'I'm tired of the old stuff. I want to hear the new stuff!'" That was a pretty funny way to introduce one of the few new songs delivered at the sold-out show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino Sunday night, a so-so tuned called "Her Love is Killing Me." 

The biggest advantage Huey Lewis & the News take to the stage in 2015, though, is that the band is fully capable of sounding exactly as they did during their heyday three decades ago. Back when they were megastars, they were pretty much a bar band with a really good-looking frontman, playing straightforward rock 'n' roll tunes that nodded to soul and R&B here and there. In 2015, Huey is still a pretty good-looking dude, the hooks remain the same, and band (abetted by a horn section) sounds great playing a set of monster hits, well-chosen covers and those few new songs. 

With stars visible for the first time in recent memory, and a chilly bite in the air that definitely felt like fall, Lewis and Co. took the stage to the heartbeat of "The Heart of Rock and Roll," a song that is not only one of the band's biggest hits, but gives them the opportunity to shout "Spokane!" in the spot typically held for "Detroit!" 

"If This Is It" and "I Want a New Drug" came in rapid succession, and the band had the crowd on its feet from the get-go, where they stayed through a show that included an excellent a cappella mini-set mid-show, a staple of Lewis and the band through the years. The band's take on "Little Bitty Pretty One" was excellent, and a primo example of how the band reaches backwards to rock's early years to forge their own pop-rock style. 

Longtime members of the News, guitarist/saxophonist Johnny Colla and drummer Bill Gibson got some big love from the crowd when Lewis introduced the band, as did lead guitarist Stef Burns, who spent the night stepping forward for surprisingly raucous guitar solos song after song; there were moments I thought the show was turning into a tribute to Carlos Santana thanks to the repeated focus on Burns' guitar. 

Among the highlights of the show were "Jacob's Ladder," "Heart and Soul" and "It's Alright," and the reggae-tinged "While We're Young" was the best among the yet-to-be-released songs that the band delivered. 

Opening the show was a surprisingly spry Eddie Money, who laced a set full of hits like "Baby Hold On to Me," "Shakin'" and "Two Tickets to Paradise" with some true enthusiasm for the casino's outdoor venue: "I'm up 150 bucks!" 

There are still a couple of shows left in Northern Quest's "summer" season, but be forewarned, it was pretty damn cold by the end of this trip back in time with Huey and Eddie. Dress accordingly if you hit "Weird Al" Yankovic or the Yes/Toto show.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Wimps, Hip-hop 4 Hope and Huey Lewis and the News

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 11:19 AM


It’s one of those nights when the Baby Bar/Neato Burrito is sure to be packed to the gills. Tonight’s super Washington punk lineup features Seattle-based Pony Time (listen to their new single “Really Nice Guys” right here) and Wimps (read our preview story on them here) along with some of Spokane’s favorites, 66beat and Phlegm Fatale. It’s going to get crazy. Show up at 9 pm for the free 21+ show.

Celebrate hip-hop’s uplifting side over at the Hip-Hop 4 Hope event at nYne, featuring Seattle’s Yodi Mac along with King Kuzey, Purpose and Kosh. The show is a fundraiser for inner city youth and begins at 8 pm. $5 cover at the door but donations are accepted.

Folk music isn’t going anywhere and Saturday’s lineup at Jones Radiator proves that with Southern singer-songwriter Daniel Amedee taking the stage. Local folksters Feral Anthem also perform, as do the Seattle-based ska group Bad Koala. Start time is 9 pm, supposedly. 

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A first look at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' new Spokane-shot video "Downtown"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM

That Macklemore and Ryan Lewis music video shot by North by Northwest in downtown Spokane last month premiered Thursday morning. The song is called "Downtown," and it features mopeds, 1970s looks, Ken Griffey Jr. and — best of all — Spokane.

Watch for yourself, but here's all the Spokane locations we caught:
  1. The first shot of white-bricked building is the side of The Globe on Division and Pine (here's what it looked like as they shot it). 
  2. That well-featured moped store is Northtown Auto Liquidators at Division and Garland.
  3. Macklemore tagged (think street art, not popping tags, a la "Thrift Shop") in the graffiti alley behind the Crescent Warehouse between Lincoln and Monroe. 
  4. The Fox Theater, looking like it's straight out of 1973. 
  5. The video cuts back and forth between the Parkade and atrium behind the downtown Rite Aid store — that's where we caught them dropping it low in July (and by dropping it low, I mean his dancers drop it low and Macklemore looks a little awkward). 
  6. Cruising down East Sprague, just like a Spokanite should. 
  7. The bus is outside the now-defunct Mayfair Cafe at Washington and Second. 
  8. IS THAT KEN GRIFFEY JR. in fake Pike Place Market?! (Yes.) 
  9. Roman-turned-American moto-chariot man comes out from under a train overpass in west downtown on Cedar, just south of the Rocket Bakery. 
  10. Boots and Zola on West Main are pretty clearly shown — also lookin' a little more '70s than 2015. 
  11. Main and Howard. 
  12. The crooner of the chorus dances outside the boarded-up Otis Hotel, and the crowds begin to gather outside the Montvale Hotel.
  13. Finally, the epic scene of Spokanites celebrating Downtown with Macklemore is on First Avenue, headed West toward Browne's Addition. 
Did we miss any of your favorite featured spots? Let us know! 

Macklemore is performing live on the MTV VMAs Sunday at 9 pm, presumably including the live premiere of "Downtown." 

Spokanites are happy to see their city looking so good (albeit a little rough around the edges) — perhaps this is the best tourism video Spokane hasn't made, until now?
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Friday, August 21, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Garageland record store opens, Octapalooza and Naomi Punk

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:12 AM


Olympia punk comes to the Bartlett tonight in the form of riotous three-piece Naomi Punk. The group plays along with Broken Water tonight at 8 pm. Cost is $10 at the door. Read our preview story on the band here.

Note that tonight's Silver Treason and Pine League show at nYne has been canceled. DJ C-Mad will still be there. 

Think of Octapalooza as a continuation of what once was essentially a huge house party at Levi Steverding’s octagon-shaped house in the Hillyard neighborhood. Now, with 18 bands and two stages, Octapalooza is hitting the big time with a new location in Airway Heights. Featuring national touring acts (like headliners 12 Stones from Louisiana) as well as local talent, the goal is to bring in as many types of rock bands as possible. This year is the first time the festival is open to all ages, a perfect innovation, as last year’s event saw kids outside the fences trying to get a view of Norma Jean. Tickets are $20 if you get them now and the show starts at 3 pm. See the full lineup here.

Does Spokane need another independent record store? Garageland owner JJ Wandler, a Spokane native who recently moved back to town, argues that we do, especially one that’s downtown (230 W. Riverside) and includes a bar, vintage store and a sometimes live music space.
“Spokane is currently underserved as far as music and recorded music goes,” Wandler says. “I would even say there’s room for more than just us.”
This weekend, Garageland celebrates its grand opening, with giveaways, snacks, discounts and free live music from local rock acts Whiskey Dick Mountain, at 3 pm Saturday, and Loomer at 4 pm Sunday. Wandler plans to have the store open every day, 10 am-6 pm.

Sunday night at shows are sometimes dead because people would prefer to be in bed or just be boring. Sunday, Baby Bar/Neato Burrito opens its doors to the awesome Australian hard rock band DEAD. Openers for this free show include Drunk on Self Enlightenment and Lazarus Long and some comedy from Matt Slater.
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Neil Young and the Promise of the Real hit the Arena Oct. 2

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 4:02 PM

Hopefully, Neil Young is happier than this to perform in  Spokane this fall.
  • Hopefully, Neil Young is happier than this to perform in Spokane this fall.

Canadian music legend Neil Young continues to rock in the free world, coming to Spokane Arena Oct. 2. Accompanying Young, as part of the Rebel Content Tour, is Lukas Nelson (son of Willie) and his band the Promise of the Real, who played last year’s Gleason Fest.

Young has had a lot of fun this year. He duetted with Jimmy Fallon (who does a damn near perfect impression of him) and taught acting genius Meryl Streep how to play guitar for her role in Ricki and the Flash. But he’s still his old, hippie self. His current album, The Monsanto Years, made with Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real after meeting at a concert last year, is about exactly what you think it is — his lyrics are critical of American companies like Monsanto, Starbucks, Walmart and Chevron.

Fear not, the whole concert won’t be all new material. Young plans to dip into his decades-long catalogue for a show full of acoustic and hard rock tunes. Favorites like "Heart of Gold" and "Unknown Legend" are certain to be there. Tickets go on sale Aug. 21 and are $60 to $125. 

Young was last in Spokane in 2007, playing at the INB Performing Arts Center. His sometimes bandmate Graham Nash was just in town last month. 

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Gentlemen of the Road thrills Walla Walla

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 11:31 AM

  • Matthew Salzano
At some point, the English folk-rock band Mumford and Sons decided it was boring to just do the average Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum artist thing: sell out arenas or headline a few of the world’s biggest festivals. They would much rather do their own thing.

They would be Gentlemen of the Road. They would tour around the world, from the U.K. to North America to Australia, and visit small towns with no arenas. They’d access the entire community to celebrate its history, culture and especially, its beer. Plus, they’d bring some of their most talented friends. They've done that 15 times (to great success) since 2012.

Over the weekend (August 14-15), it was Walla Walla’s turn to host Gentlemen of the Road. The 2015 stopovers were already going to be special, featuring nine other great musicians including tUnE-yArDs, the Flaming Lips, Dawes and the Vaccines, but Walla Walla was uniquely visited by another set of Washingtonian gentlemen: Foo Fighters.

On the windy, dusty and hot weekend in Walla Walla, we slept in a tent, laughed as out-of-staters giggled at the slogan “A town so nice, they named it twice!” and enjoyed a truly excellent festival.

Here’s what we saw, heard and thought through two days of live music in the heart of Washington’s wine country.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Blackwater Prophet album release, Fest at Sandpoint & Gentlemen of the Road

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 1:08 PM


Throw whatever you thought you knew about Blackwater Prophet out the window. The local rockers, buzzing for a couple of years now, started to take their three-piece gig seriously before they were named a 2014 Inlander Band to Watch. With a new album titled Ghost, the crew has left their dirty, sludgy quality behind in favor of clear-as-night, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. “Dig My Hole in the Ground,” the last track on the eight-song disc, pulls even further away from their usual image — mostly acoustic guitars pair perfectly with Garrett Zanol’s heart-wrenching vocals. Check them and the new record out tonight at the Bartlett starting at 8 pm with openers Spirit Animals and Bullets & Balloons. $10 at the door.

Since releasing their stormy and spaced-out album Something Supernatural last October, Pennsylvania hard rockers Crobot have been in constant motion. There are plans to set sail on Motörhead’s Motörboat cruise next month and they’re about to launch a brand-new beer, Something SupernaturAle from North Carolina’s Double Barley Brewery, which pairs well with their recent Drunk as Shit tour. This weekend, the wild four-piece plays the free, 29th-ever GA’s Too Broke to Rock series at the Knitting Factory, which starts at 7 pm. Expect Brandon Yeagley’s high-powered vocals to hit your chest cavity hard with songs like “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer,” along with new material.

The Festival at Sandpoint continues tonight with the double folk bill of Devil Makes Three and Trampled By Turtles. The show is sure to be a stompin’ good time and prove that folk music can still be cool.The show starts at 7:30 pm. 

Also starting tonight — The Gentlemen of the Road stopover tour stops in Walla Walla with amazing headliners Foo Fighters, a plugged-in Mumford and Sons, Dawes, Jenny Lewis, the Flaming Lewis and more. Look out for our review of the event come Monday and highlights throughout the weekend. It truly is a once in a lifetime event.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lake Street Dive kicks off second Festival at Sandpoint weekend

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 3:09 PM


It's the second weekend of the Festival at Sandpoint (Thursday can be considered part of the weekend if you work it right) and first up is Lake Street Dive, originally out of Boston.

When you first experience this act, it's easy to get distracted by Rachael Price's intoxicating vocals. She has this smoky, bluesy, Motown quality — check out the group's Jackson 5 cover below — that is such a breath of fresh air in today's  vocal soundscape. But the rest of the four-piece is just as superb, with  trumpet/guitar Mike Olson playing swoon-worthy licks, bassist Bridget Kearney slapping' hard on the upright and drummer Mike Calabrese keeping the party going with his beats. 

Nine years in the making, the up and coming band has performed on late-night TV, high-end music festivals, toured Europe and even made the Inlander's best album lists last year. Their show starts at 7:30 pm tonight at War Memorial Field in Sandpoint. The Ballroom Thieves open. 

The rest of the glorious festival weekend includes performance by Devil Makes Three, Trampled By Turtles, Wilco and the Spokane Symphony.Check out our Festival at Sandpoint preview here. 

Here are three awesome reasons why you'll want to catch them: 

1. "Bad Self Portraits"

2. "I Want Your Back"

3. "Rich Girl" 

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Friday, August 7, 2015

WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Cathedral Pearls, Sweeplings and Lions Beside Us albums, Fest at Sandpoint and Gleason Fest

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Once again, we have a packed-with-live-music weekend. There may be some hard choices along the way, but we’re laying out all the options for you here. Best of luck.

The Festival at Sandpoint kicked off last night with Arlo Guthrie, and tonight, Ziggy Marley (one of the many sons of sweet Bob) is up next. This is a dance show, meaning the area directly in front of the stage is blocked off for those wanting to stand and get their groove on. The show starts at 7:30 pm. Check out our preview for the rest of the lineup over the next week. Also, for those in the mood to continue the party in Sandpoint after the shows, the Hive offers its Aftival celebration kicking off tonight with Funky Meters.

It seems that with Cami Bradley — Spokane’s angelic hometown singer-songwriter who took sixth place on America’s Got Talent in 2013 — there’s always something new to talk about. Her band the Sweeplings, featuring Alabama native Whitney Dean, has been together a little more than a year; already, the duo has released an EP and multiple music videos, lent a song to an ABC Family commercial and played shows all over the country. Now the cinematic folk act releases its first full-length album Rise and Fall this month, with a few select record release shows, including one at the Bartlett this Friday. The hauntingly forlorn lead single “Carry Me Home” was recently featured on NPR’s First Listen series. No doubt there’ll be much to talk about regarding this two-piece in the months to come. Tickets, if they’re not already sold out, are $18 at the door.

Other shows of note: Devon Allman (Gregg's son) plays a free show at Red Lion Hotel at the Park and Jus Wright (hometown guy) & the River City Roots play the Red Room Lounge

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Michael Franti's five steps to rock a crowd on display at the Knit

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 10:59 AM

Michael Franti on one of his excursions into the audience Monday night. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Michael Franti on one of his excursions into the audience Monday night.

Michael Franti's relentless positivity is an almost supernatural force, powerful enough to turn even the most cynical heart a little softer. And attending one of his shows with his band Spearhead, as nearly 1,500 folks did Monday night at the Knitting Factory, is the best way to encounter that positivity in its natural environs. 

Anger and aggression are well-tested fuels for excellent rock 'n' roll, but Franti's blend of reggae, pop, rock and hip-hop is utterly devoid of those emotions. That can make the man's lyrics a bit one-note, but only the most ill-tempered, downtrodden soul can attend a Franti show and feel anything but good vibes. The man exudes them, and his fans absorb them and throw them right back at the lanky, dreadlocked frontman. You might not walk away from the show swearing off shoes in homage to the perpetually barefoot Franti, but you'll walk away having taken part in a communal experience that is pretty unique in live music. 

For people who have seen Franti multiple times, that experience remains powerful, even if some of what Franti and Co. delivers is a bit familiar after so many years on the road. The excellent musicianship of Franti's band — bassist Carl Young, drummer Manas Itiene, guitarist J Bowman and keyboardist Mike Blankenship — provides the singer/guitarist with a bedrock base from which to go off in myriad directions, both musically and physically. While the band is locking it down on stage, Franti and his wireless microphone travel to all points of a given venue, reaching out to the crowd literally and figuratively several times over the course of the show. 

That wandering spirit is just one of the go-to concert moves from Franti. Let's break down the man's tried and true live concert style, as reflected in Monday's show: 

1. Michael Franti wants you to jump!
The guy is an athletic yoga advocate with the ability to bounce while he plays guitar and sings, and he's not going to let the audience get away with standing around and staring as if they're at some sullen indie-rock show. During his first song Monday, "Hey Hey Hey," Franti was quickly exhorting the masses, "I want to see you jump!" For the most part, the crowd happily complied. 

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