Thursday, July 30, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Whitey Morgan converts the Bartlett into a honky-tonk

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM

  • Dan Nailen

Even before Whitey Morgan and the 78's took the stage Wednesday night, you could tell it was going to be an atypical night at the Bartlett just by scanning the crowd. Mohawked fans mingled with unironic cowboy hats, and some country-loving fans brought their pre-adolescent kids along for the show at a place more known for indie-rock and modern folk than honky-tonk tunes.

Then again, almost everything about Whitey Morgan's sound in 2015 is atypical, too. While arenas across the U.S. are selling out shows by atrocious "bro-country" clowns and pop stars in country clothing, Morgan is delivering real-deal twang with edge that harkens back to '70s outlaws like Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Johnny Paycheck. With a band that included three guitars (including Morgan), as well as pedal-steel, bass and drums, his songs veer from drinking song to drinking song, with occasional tangents into heartbreak ballads. And then more drinking songs. 

It all makes for a highly entertaining show for the people there to hear some authentic country as well as those yearning to do a little two-steppin'. Last night, Morgan and his charges filled the set with songs from his excellent new album, Sonic Ranch, a record that captures the stellar interplay between the leader and his band. Three-part harmonies between Morgan, acoustic guitarist Tony Martinez (who opened the show as well) and lead guitarist Joey Spina were genuinely thrilling to hear fill the room, and those three locked into numerous guitar rave-ups throughout the night, joined by pedal-steel master Brett Robinson, whose crying instrument is as responsible for giving Morgan's songs their authentic-country vibe as the man's lyrics full of woman-done-me-wrong tales.

"Ain't Gonna Take It Anymore," with its sing-along refrain of "If I'm going down tonight / I'm going down drinkin'!" was one boisterous highlight among the new songs, as was "Me and the Whiskey" about halfway through the set. Among the new ballads, "Drunken Nights in the City" stood out as a song Morgan will surely include in his shows for years to come. 

Well-chosen covers that introduce young fans to the legends who inspired him are a big part of Morgan's shows and albums, and Wednesday night was no different. The band's stellar take on Johnny Paycheck's "Cocaine Train" offered the first round of those stunning harmonies. Another cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" featured Morgan and Co. taking the slight pop ditty and turning it into a sprawling instrumental workout that showcased all six men on stage. A cover of Waylon Jennings' "Waymore's Blues" toward set's end was excellent, particularly teased with the Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road," which Morgan abruptly cut off to shift the band into arguably his most prominent influence's tune. 

Elsewhere, old favorites likes "Bad News," "Another Round" and "Sinner" thrilled the folks filling about two-thirds of the Bartlett. And "Turn Up The Bottle," dedicated to George Jones, had the crowd hoisting beer cans and bottles skyward. The size of the crowd didn't disappoint Morgan, who noted that he and the band have traveled through Spokane "thousands of times" before this, their first gig in the Lilac City. 

"Spokane, this is our first date," Morgan mused five songs into the show. "I feel like it's going pretty good. I'm feeling like I might get lucky." 

On this night, it was the Spokane outlaw country fans who were the lucky ones. Hopefully Morgan and the 78's enjoyed it enough to call again. 
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Slipknot to tear up Spokane Arena Oct. 20

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 1:17 PM


Just in time for Halloween, the Iowa metal band Slipknot — famous for wearing costumes all year round — comes to take over the Spokane Arena, October 20. The raging show leads up to the act’s Knotfest festival (sporting the tagline: "A happening that will awaken your darkest senses") in California just days later.

The band rose to fame in the late ’90s, around the same time as other nu-metal acts like Korn and Limp Bizkit, which Slipknot tries to distance itself from. The group, through many a lineup change and much time off, has gone on to pull in 11 platinum and 39 gold record certifications worldwide, and most recently many accolades for its 2014 effort, .5: The Gray Chapter.

Enjoying this heart-stopping, often terrifyingly dark music is more about the feeling the nine-piece evokes rather than the melodies, as it’s often difficult to distinguish between songs. But for avid local followers of the crew (and they were ranked No. 17 on this year’s Arena Bucket List, proving there are quite a few fans here), this band is sure to put on one of the most intense shows in recent Arena history. Suicidal Tendencies and Beartooth will open for the metal act, helping everyone let loose. 

Tickets are $35 and $45 and go on sale Friday.

Check out the act's most recent single “Killpop” below:

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Friday, July 24, 2015

WEEKEND IN MUSIC: South Perry Street Fest, Land of Plenty and rockin' weekend roadies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Marshall McLean Band is just one act playing the South Perry Street Festival on Saturday.
  • Marshall McLean Band is just one act playing the South Perry Street Festival on Saturday.

A bevy of music awaits throughout the region this weekend. Go get ya some! 


Tonight, the Big Dipper plays host to Acoustic Fest, featuring Tyler Lang, Gary Cook, Aleisha Simpson and a cast of seemingly thousands more. 

Land of Plenty continues tonight The Bartlett, a creative convergence of visual art and music that tonight features Cami Bradley, Lemolo, Anna Tivel and Abby Gundersen.

And this weekend seems a great opportunity to scope out the Red Lion Hotel at the Park concert series, which is featuring Soul Proprietor Friday and Bakin' Phat on Saturday. Read about the series and see the full lineup right here


The South Perry Street Festival has a slew of the best local Spokane bands all in one spot Saturday playing all day long starting at 1:30 pm. Real Life Rockaz, Silver Treason, Dead Serious Lovers, Mama Doll, Water Monster and Marshall McLean (one of our Bands to Watch 2015) are all the bill, so take a stroll, ride your bike—do whatever you need to do to get over there. 

If you're in the mood for a little roadie, head south to the Palouse Music Festival. The small town rolls out the welcome mat for a party in the park featuring local and regional talent of all styles. Go a little further south to Clarkston and you can be Rockin' on the River with Collective Soul. 

Over Sandpoint way, the Sandpoint Summer Sounds has a "special crazy days" edition in store, featuring Backstreet Dixie and more. 

Hogfish in Coeur d'Alene is hosting Blackwater Prophet, Northern Stakes and AAI


If you need a little raucous rock come Sunday evening, the Knitting Factory will take care of you with the Theory of a Deadman show. Here's a new vid from the band: 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

VIDEO: Macklemore shooting new video in downtown Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 4:05 PM

Seattle-based duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – whose second half comes by way of Spokane – are in town this week shooting a new video with local production company North by Northwest. 

The shoot will close off several blocks of downtown Spokane until Saturday, July 25, according to The Spokesman-Review

Neither Macklemore's publicist or North by Northwest have made any comment to local media regarding what exactly is being recorded this week.

Video from Tuesday morning (above, and shot by someone who'd like to remain anonymous) clearly shows choreography, so a music video is quite likely. What song this video could be for is extremely hard to say – the duo's most recent single was "White Walls," in October 2013, which already has a music video. While Macklemore has said on his Twitter that a new album will be released in 2015, no new information has come out since.  

Perhaps a new single and a video – featuring Spokane! – will be the debut single for the upcoming album? It would not be unlike Macklemore to release a new song and the video to accompany it. The track "Thrift Shop," his chart-topping, tag-popping hit, came out Aug. 27, 2012, and the video followed two days after, on August 29. 

Photos and social media chatter below: 

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CONCERT REVIEW: Melissa, Debbie and Joan pulled off one of the hottest rock shows of summer

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Debbie Harry still has got the moves, even at 70. - LAURA JOHNSON
  • Laura Johnson
  • Debbie Harry still has got the moves, even at 70.

Last night at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Melissa Etheridge, Blondie and Joan Jett played one of the hottest shows of the Inland Northwest summer – not just because it was 90 degrees out, but because it moved and entertained and brought a whole bunch of different folks (punks, housewives, lesbians, grandparents, teens) to the packed-out outdoor concert space.
This was the only time the trio of acts was booked to play the same stage this year — Blondie and Etheridge have toured a bit together, but Jett is opening for the Who. Somehow, Airway Heights lucked out getting the legendary rock ‘n’ roll artists in one spot.

Etheridge was the perfect choice to kick off
Melissa Etheridge's selfie from Monday night's Northern Quest concert. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • Melissa Etheridge's selfie from Monday night's Northern Quest concert.
 the show. She has this voice capable of taking over whole planets and guitar skills to match (her guitar-playing ability is seriously underrated). As people filed into their folding-chair seats for the spot-on 7 pm set, Etheridge played songs to get the crowd movin’ and shaking, to forget that they were sweating hard.
“I can’t seem to get enough water,” she admitted from the stage, as she drank out of a purple water bottle. This, of course, moved her perfectly into the hit “Bring Me Some Water.” And even when her vocals did get dry and raspy, she still hit every note.
Throughout the hour-long set, she stomped around the stage while playing all the hits, took on her bass and guitar players, played harmonica, flipped her hair and even took a selfie of the crowd. She never got super-political, just told people to “choose only love.”
The closer, “Like the Way I Do” went on for 10 minutes of pure aggression complete with an interlude where Etheridge nearly killed her acoustic guitar.

Debbie Harry can still move. At 70, she was up there last night doing kicks, spins, foot shuffles and air punches. Her voice is still there, too, as much as it ever was. Harry’s life partner, Chris Stein, whom she started Blondie with in 1974, is five years younger and barely moves on his guitar, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t feeling it.
Starting off with the big one “One Way or Another,” the crowd went nuts. At first it seemed like she was saving her voice a bit, but she came back strong, strutting around the stage in a bobbed blonde wig, a pink dress complete with pink goggles around her neck and black platform sandals — basically, everything I wish I was wearing.
There was a point partway into the 45-minute set when some fans chose to sit down; energy seemed to wane. But then Harry started rapping (“Rapture”), moved into a cover of “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)”, rolled into “The Tide is High” and finished with “Heart of Glass.”
By the end of the set, the audience was all hers.

At a certain point it was obvious Jett was fighting off some sort of sickness. There was a big bottle full of brownish liquid next to a bottle of water and box of tissues behind her on stage. Intermittently she’d go back and wipe her nose. But there was never any complaints or excuses from her on the microphone and her snarling vocals were strong. She and her band powered through her set, full of the hits (“Bad Reputation,” “Cherry Bomb”) and some of the newer tunes she’s penned with rockers like Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Dave Grohl.
A recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jett was like a little firecracker on stage, mentioning that “Love between three people can be a good thing, especially if one of them is me!” before heading into “The French Song.”
Her huge rendition of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” brought everyone to their feet, while “Crimson and Clover” caused at least one nearby couple to bump and grind with a passion.
Jett was rocking the same haircut as the early '80s, and why change if you’re still one of the coolest punk artists out there? Joan Jett, please never change. 

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Friday, July 17, 2015

WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah that everything is happening at the same time

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 3:03 PM

Today through next Wednesday are completely booked with live shows. Was there no way for us to spread all of these out people!? This of course makes for some tough live music decisions this weekend. Best of luck.

We’re used to Cami Bradley being in the national spotlight. But rather than catching media attention for a stint on a reality talent program, this time she’s getting press for her indie-folk duo, the Sweeplings. NPR recently premiered their single “Carry Me Home” on its All Songs Considered blog. See the group for free at the new-this-summer Red Lion at the Park concert series tonight at 6 pm. The Sweeplings plan to drop their debut album Aug. 4, and will have an album release party at the Bartlett next month.

The annual All Age Rage is back in action with two days of packed lineups over two stages at the Viking. A bevy of rock and metal acts will play long and hard. Here’s a taste of the local/regional lineup: The Nixon Rodeo, Soblivios, Seven Cycles, Concrete Grip, Thunderhound, Lions Beside Us, the Failsafe Project, December In Red, Project Kings, Helldorado, Elephant Gun Riot, Thirion X, the Broken Thumbs and so many more. A single day pass is $15 and two days is $20. Tonight’s festivities begin at 5 pm, while tomorrow starts at noon.

Meanwhile, over at the Checkerboard Bar, Spokane’s two most riotous punk acts, Phlegm Fatale and Itchy Kitty open for Olympia punk rockers Captain Algebra. The free show, that more than promises to get loud, starts at 9 pm.

It’s local surf-rock act BBBBandits’ final show ever!!!! And while that’s a sad loss for the music community, you can at least party with them one more time Saturday night at Mootsy’s, when they open for the Oakland band Shannon and the Clams. Fun Ladies also play the 9:30 pm show. Cover is $10. Read our freelancer Gawain Fadeley’s thoughts on being in the band these last four years here.

Ten years, people. It’s been 10 years since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s seminal, self-titled debut album burst onto the indie rock scene. Back then, that off-kilter guitar and fuzzy keyboard sound, paired with Alec Ounsworth's warbly voice, fit right in with the other hot indie acts of the moment — especially the track “The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.” The band has made plenty of music since, but nothing quite as influential as that first release. For this summer tour, which includes a stop at the Bartlett on Sunday, the band is playing their debut in its entirety. Check out the recently released anniversary edition of the record, including 12 bonus tracks. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $15.


No less than three big shows happen Monday in the Spokane area: Rock out with Melissa Etheridge, Blondie and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at Northern Quest Resort and Casino. Read our interview with Etheridge here. Swoon over Harry Connick Jr. at the INB Performing Arts Center, or feel the piano/Grateful Dead vibes with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World takes on the Bartlett and Alice in Chains plays the Knitting Factory, but note the latter, 21+ show sold out long ago.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Past acid trips, past loves and past experiences with Graham Nash at the Bing

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 9:31 AM

Graham Nash doesn't look like this anymore.
  • Graham Nash doesn't look like this anymore.

When Graham Nash has a show at the Bing Crosby Theater scheduled for 7:30 pm, he’s going to show up on stage at 7:30 pm. No opener, no 30-minute time buffer like many artists employ for shows. So naturally, I arrived a few songs into the set Wednesday night, grappling in the darkness for my seat. He was in the middle of the Hollies’ “King Midas in Reverse,” just wailing on an acoustic guitar accompanied by Shane Fontayne, also tangled up in an acoustic guitar and singing harmonies.

And then, sticking with the king theme, the two Brits moved into “I Used to Be a King” – the first selection from Nash’s debut solo album Songs For Beginners.

As Nash’s still-strong vocals launched into the freeing chorus — “Someone is gonna take my heart / No one is gonna break my heart again” — there were tears falling down my face. Sometimes, as a person who goes to a lot of shows, you tire of live music; you forget why it’s everything. And it is everything when you hear a song that changed you, sung by the person who wrote it.

Nash, for his part, was emotional with the music, too. 

“It’s hard to put yourself back in the place you were when you wrote a particular song,” he admitted from the stage. “Especially, when you have 20 more songs to sing.”

And for most of the middle-age-plus audience members, these songs meant a lot. Many of them were around when Nash and his homeboys Crosby, Stills and Young were first together.

The hits continued with “Marrakesh Express,” and “Immigration Man,” as the pair found their groove. Fontayne, who has played guitar for CSN, Sting and Bruce Springsteen, played brilliant yet short wailing electric guitar solos throughout many of the songs, while Nash strummed out rhythm. Then Nash got into some of the new stuff he and Fontayne recorded last year (that album has an expected spring 2016 release). And the songs weren’t bad, a little hippie-dippy, but heart-felt.

“I’m of the opinion that the job of a good songwriter is to be honest,” said Nash, of the recently written material.

Continue reading »

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Perry Street Shakedown’s big headliner

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 1:23 PM


For its second year, the promoters of Perry Street Shakedown decided to reach for the stars, asking Washington’s own master of hip-hop Sir Mix-A-Lot to headline their South Perry District party. Surprisingly, the MC accepted, and is headling the event running from Sept. 11 -13

Yes, you read that right, the “Baby Got Back” artist is headlining a free, all-ages show in the not-super-large South Perry Pizza parking lot. The rapper was last in the area for a Halloween show up in Sandpoint.

“Sir Mix-A-Lot seemed really interested in the event itself,” says John Siok, South Perry Pizza owner. “He was willing to do it because he’s a Seattle boy, so it’s not too far away. He liked the community aspect of what we were doing.”

Last year’s Perry Street Shakedown included mostly local indie rock, hip-hop and funk acts, along with bands from Portland and Vancouver, B.C. 

A full list of bands should be announced this week. We'll keep you updated. 

UPDATE: While the show is technically free and all-ages, this year's beer garden will take up most of the South Perry Pizza parking lot. The beer garden is 21+ and will have a $3 cover. 

DJ Breezy Brown
6 pm Dem Empire
8:30 pm Five Alarm Funk

DJ Teej
2 pm Bandit Train
4 pm B Radicals
6 pm Milonga
8:30 pm Sir Mix-A-Lot

DJ Poncho P
2 pm Left Over Soul
4 pm Mama Doll
6:30 pm The Lil' Smokies 

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Friday, July 10, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Saranac rooftop concert, the Smokes EP release and Ky-Mani Marley

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 2:31 PM


Ky-Mani Marley (son of Bob Marley) brings his breezy reggae music to Swaxx tonight. Local feel-good but also socially conscious acts Real Life Rockaz and Flying Spiders open for the Jamaican artist. Doors open at 8 pm and cost is $25 day of. This show is sure to feel like summer and is a precursor to the Ziggy Marley show happening in Sandpoint next month.

For those looking to get out of town, the first ever Beach Fest is here to help you let go. Happening on private property at Lake Roosevelt, the two-day event features camping, boating, food and acts like Jaeda, Abstract Rude, K. Clifton and many other EDM and DJ types. Tickets are $20 for 21+ participants and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are available at Downtown and Northside Puffin Glass Locations, or by calling 690-6371.

KYRS’s Marmot Fest is no more, but Saturday the public radio station hosts a smaller version of the music event on the beautiful Saranac Public House Rooftop. The rockin’ local bands playing the show include Phlegm Fatale, Fun Ladies, Twin Towers and Outercourse. Show up early to guarantee a spot, as space is limited. Black Label Brewing is bringing the beer.

Starting smartly at 10 pm is the Smokes EP release show. Once the rooftop show finishes up, head over to Mootsy’s for a free after-party of sorts. Read our recent profile on the fierce two-piece here.

You were probably in high school when you thought emo music was cool, because that’s when you’re most likely to feel all the emotions. Back in 2004, Hawthorne Heights taught us that Ohio is for lovers, and this weekend the band is in town to tell us a little bit more of that. The group plays at Pinnacle Northwest along with Sleepwave, Rot Monger, Deaf To and the Bight. The all-ages show starts at 7 pm and is $15 at the door. High school kids, and high schoolers at heart, enjoy! 

THE Graham Nash heads to the Bing Crosby Theater next Wednesday for an intimate set. His recent memoir Wild Tales is worth the read before you head that way. Check out our recent interview with him here. 

For those interested in classical music (and that should be you) Mozart on a Summer’s Eve runs Tuesday and Wednesday at Manito Park. It’s just $10 for blanket seating, and yes, you can bring your own picnic basket for the event. Find out more info here. 
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Underground 15 closes its doors

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 4:10 PM


The downtown bar at the corner of First and Howard is up for sale once more. With barely a year under its belt, Underground 15 bar and music venue has closed, letting patrons know with a sign on its front door (the business's Facebook page is also shut down).

“We're in the process of trying to sell it,” said co-owner and local musician Zach Wirchak in an email. “I like to call it ‘partners disagreement.’ It was best just to try and sell so we can all go our own ways. Frustrating for me, but such is life!”

A little bit out of the way from the downtown nightlife hotspots on Sprague and also North Division and East Main, Underground 15 still managed to draw people for various DJ and trivia nights. The space often hosted local bands that other music venues weren’t featuring. In a town of seemingly rotating music venues, this is yet another loss. 

The location was once home to the local favorite the Blue Spark, which closed in 2013 after 14 years in business. With the next door Ridpath Hotel's opening approaching, the business location may soon be a hot commodity. 
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