Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Jimmy Eat World, Beach Slang put the guitars out front at The Knit

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 3:28 PM

Beach Slang nearly stole the show from headliners Jimmy Eat World. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Beach Slang nearly stole the show from headliners Jimmy Eat World.

Tuesday night at the Knitting Factory offered a study in contrasts between headliner Jimmy Eat World and opener Beach Slang.

Both the long-running Jimmy Eat World and four-year-old Beach Slang trade in big guitar rawk, backing vocals that tug at the heartstrings as well as the minds of discerning rock fans, and they largely do it through straightforward tunes that eschew much in the way of modern bells and whistles.

That said, witnessing both bands' sets, it was clear that one had experience, professionalism and a deep catalog on its side, while the other had more youthful exuberance, almost off-the-rails energy and less material to draw from, dropping a couple of winning and somewhat unexpected covers into their set.

While Jimmy Eat World delivered a rock-solid set of two dozen songs spanning their nine albums and nearly quarter-century together as a band, I walked away thinking more about Beach Slang and the genuine sense of danger they brought to their hour on stage.

Led by James Alex (looking resplendent in a velvet jacket, ruffled tuxedo shirt and bow tie), the Philadelphia quartet barreled through songs from their two albums (The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us and A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings), pausing mostly for James to swill more vodka and juice and crack jokes at the expense of various '90s-era bands like Matchbox Twenty and Lit.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Announcing the Volume 2017 lineup; tickets on sale now!

Built to Spill, Chastity Belt, Ras Kass, Windoe, Belt of Vapor, Folkinception among featured bands

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM

Northwest indie-rock favorites Built to Spill and Chastity Belt will play a new outdoor stage at the Steam Plant at Volume 2017 this June 2-3, part of a sprawling lineup of nearly 100 artists ranging from hip-hop to punk, folk to synth-pop, metal to electro-rock.
Chastity Belt
  • Chastity Belt

The Inland Northwest's best bands provide the backbone for Volume, as they have every year in its six-year history. Cathedral Pearls, The Dancing Plague of 1518, Itchy Kitty, Belt of Vapor, Empty Eyes, Summer in Siberia and Jan Francisco are among the locals who will play alongside visitors like rapper Nacho Picasso (Seattle), electro-pop crew J GRGRY (Seattle), grease-slathered Southern rockers Shawn James and the Shapeshifters (Fayetteville, Arkansas), art-rockers Lithics (Portland) and California-based Ras Kass, who Pitchfork once called "one of the best rappers of all time."

That's just the start of what is the best lineup yet for the largest, most diverse music festival in the Inland Northwest. You can see the entire lineup here, or scroll down for a complete list.

Ras Kass
  • Ras Kass
The venues for Volume 2017 include The Baby Bar (all-ages), The Bartlett (all-ages), The Big Dipper (all-ages), Boots Bakery, Mootsy's, The Observatory, The Pin! (all-ages), The Red Room Lounge, nYne Bar and the Washington Cracker Co. Building (Terrain stage; all-ages), plus the new Steam Plant Outdoor Stage on Saturday (all-ages).

Tickets are just $25 in advance for two days of amazing music ($35 if you wait until the festival), and you can get those right here.

Here's a sample of Boise-based Built to Spill:

Chastity Belt formed in Walla Walla:

Ras Kass gets topical on his latest:

Myke Bogan's "Take the Night Off" featuring Blossom:

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Elkfest announces this year's lineup of artists, and it's as eclectic as ever

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 3:32 PM

  • Afrolicious

Elkfest, the three-day music festival that takes over the Browne's Addition neighborhood every year in late spring, just announced its upcoming lineup. From June 9-11, you can get an earful of soul, reggae, folk, rock and blues tunes, and it's all free.

This year's Elkfest roster is as eclectic as ever, featuring the San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious, the San Diego dream-pop band the Donkeys and self-described "traveling singer-songwriter" Dustin Thomas. Local artists include Marshall McLean, Folkinception, Griffey and Fat Lady, who's performing at the Inlander's 420 Party later this week.

Although standing around and listening to tunes won't cost you a penny, hanging out in the adjacent beer gardens (if you're 21 and older, that is) will run you just $2.

A detailed schedule has yet to be announced, but until then, here's a list of participating artists.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Spokane's Outercourse, Dancing Plague of 1518 kick off mini-tour

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:08 PM


For those who were willing to come out on Thursday for a free local show at the Baby Bar, Outercourse and the Dancing Plague of 1518 kicked off their upcoming four-show tour last night, and it was a blaring launch.

Connor Knowles' solo project, Dancing Plague, opened the night with an equally haunting and thumping set of darkwave electronic music, using a beats machine, guitar riffs, synth layers, processed vocals and found sounds to pair with his projected visuals.

The Dancing Plague of 1518 will be damned if you don't find yourself at least nodding along to the whirling basslines or shifting your feet with his syncopated synthetic drums. Knowles' act is a refreshing addition to a local music scene that often gets labeled as being too genre-specific. Knowles has come out with two EPs over the short year or so he's recorded as this project.

Heavy Seventeen linked the two touring acts with a middle set that offered up plenty of lo-fi alt-rock vibes. There was plenty of bobbing and shuffling from the crowd as the band enjoyed playing slacker rock that feels timeless. It was a treat to listen to some good buzzing alt-rock and to see the fun that frontman Matt Lakin and company have.

Outercourse closed out the night with a set that seemed to only get better the further they got into it. Fresh off the release of their Spring '17 tape, the band, led by vocalist and guitarist Ben Jennings, showed the acumen it takes to be a solid lo-fi project.

Jennings and fellow guitarist Alex Smith adeptly slice through the mix of bassist Adam Smith and drummer Norman Robbins. Jennings' vocals rest atop the lo-fi buzzing and pinging guitars and will quickly swerve from yelps and singing into gravelly shouts whenever he and Smith rip into their next bouncing riff.

This is most likely the final lineup for Jennings' project, which has seen its current members swap instruments over the last three years. And it's the final roster for good reason, as their closing number, "Mel's Hole," played to the individual fortes of each member. It was a pleasure to see the band play off of each other in the closing break, with Robbins blasting through the solos on his battered drum kit.

Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 will play Eugene (Old Nick's Pub), Tacoma (Bob's Java Jive) and Bellingham (The Swillery) over the holiday weekend, April 14-16.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Fox announces summer concerts from big names: Lightfoot, Lovett, Alpert, Etheridge

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Melissa Etheridge will perform at the Fox Theater on Aug. 4.
  • Melissa Etheridge will perform at the Fox Theater on Aug. 4.

And the summer concert announcements keep rolling in. The Fox Theater has just announced four big shows in June, July and August, all featuring artists who have played the Inland Northwest before.

Unless otherwise noted, tickets for these events go on sale at midnight through TicketsWest.

June 11, Gordon Lightfoot: The Canadian singer-songwriter was a staple of '70s soft rock radio, racking up Top 10 hits with easygoing tunes like "Sundown," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and "If You Could Read My Mind." Lightfoot last performed in Spokane in 2013 (he was also a performer at Expo '74), and he returns following the debut of a new single titled "Plans of My Own," his first original release since 2004. Tickets run from $36 to $101, and they go on sale at 10 am on Fri, April 13.

July 14, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band: The last time Lovett was in town, he was performing with just an acoustic guitar and fellow Texan Robert Earl Keen. This time, he'll have his so-called Large Band in tow, which should make for a rollicking, high-energy evening of old-school country, swing and Americana songs. Tickets range from $40 to $85.

July 27, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall: One of the most famous and bestselling trumpeters in history, Alpert is perhaps best known for founding the Tijuana Brass, whose 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights is a landmark of instrumental jazz. Alpert frequently performs with his wife Lani Hall, a renowned vocalist and an original member of Sérgio Mendes' bossa nova group Brasil '66, and the set list for their upcoming Spokane concert will feature classics from both of their esteemed careers. Tickets are $38 and $48.

Aug. 4, Melissa Etheridge: Dabbling in blues-rock, folk and country sounds, Etheridge, with her commanding voice and virtuosic guitar skills, was one of the defining voices of the mid-'90s singer-songwriter boom. She'll hit the Fox in August — she last played here in 2015 on a co-headlining tour with Joan Jett and Blondie — bringing along hits like "I'm the Only One," "Come to My Window" and "Like the Way I Do." Tickets will run you $48 to $85.
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Monday, April 10, 2017

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Keith Urban, Explosions in the Sky schedule summer shows

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 11:10 AM

Keith Urban headlines Northern Quest Resort & Casino on Friday, Aug. 18.
  • Keith Urban headlines Northern Quest Resort & Casino on Friday, Aug. 18.

Two more concert announcements arrived Monday morning, and fans of mainstream country and explosive instrumental rock will be thrilled.

Keith Urban was added to Northern Quest's Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concert series for a show on Friday, Aug. 18. The Aussie star's latest album, Ripcord, arrived in 2016, and he's a four-time Grammy winner. We won't dwell on his stint as an American Idol judge, but having seen him perform more than once, I can vouch for his ability to pull off bombastic, entertaining concerts, and seriously shred on guitar.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Seattle's Fleet Foxes have reunited, and they're coming to Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 3:34 PM


It sure seems like we've been dropping an awful lot of local concert announcements lately, and here's another: Fleet Foxes, the critically adored alt-folk outfit from Seattle, are scheduled to play one of their first shows in six years at the Knitting Factory on May 16, and tickets go on sale tomorrow.

The band first rose to prominence with its 2008 self-titled debut, which was named best album of the year by Pitchfork, Mojo and Billboard. After touring with their Grammy-nominated sophomore LP Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes went on hiatus in 2013, and frontman and songwriter Robin Pecknold went back to college at Columbia.

(And for those who are curious, former Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, better known as the pop provocateur Father John Misty, will not be returning to the lineup.)

Now the band's back together, and they've announced a new album titled Crack-Up, which is set for release in June. The first single, the complex, nine-minute-long "Third of May," picks up where the last record left off, continuing the band's penchant for strummy, intricately-harmonized Americana.

The Foxes' upcoming tour kicks off in Missoula on May 15 and continues with a handful of concerts in mid-size Pacific Northwest theaters. Prices for their Spokane show have yet to be announced, but you can snatch up a ticket tomorrow morning at 10 am.
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Willie, Flo Rida, Sammy Hagar and Alice Cooper among Northern Quest's 2017 summer concert lineup — see it here

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 1:51 PM

Alice Cooper kicks off this summer's shows at Northern Quest.
  • Alice Cooper kicks off this summer's shows at Northern Quest.

From classic rock to country legends to hip-hop heavyweights, there's a little something for all tastes at this year's summer concert series at Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

Here's a breakdown of all the summer has to offer (although the resort could always add some shows at a later date):

ALICE COOPER, June 18, $45/$55/$65, on sale April 1. The shock-rock legend puts on a great live show, and you might be able to catch him golfing somewhere earlier in the day if you can recognize him without his makeup.

SAMMY HAGAR AND THE CIRCLE, June 30, $65/$75/$85, on sale April 1. The longtime lead singer for Van Halen and solo artist brings a band that includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason (son of John) Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson to delve into all eras of Hagar's career, plus a few Zeppelin covers.

SUBLIME WITH ROME AND THE OFFSPRING, July 6, $44/$65/$85, on sale April 1. Two of the biggest bands of the '90s on tour together and delivering hits like "What I Got" and "Keep 'Em Separated."

DONNY AND MARIE, July 16, $55/$65/$85, on sale April 1. They've performed together on Las Vegas and toured separately for years, but this show is the rare treat when the two '70s icons hit the road together for a show.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Spokane Arena adds Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, Piano Guys to upcoming schedule

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 11:59 AM

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows (left) and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20
  • Adam Duritz of Counting Crows (left) and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20

The Spokane Arena continues to bulk up its upcoming concert schedule with an impressive roster of names.

The big announcement of the week is that '90s hitmakers Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows will kick off a co-headlining tour in Spokane on July 12. The tour coincides with the 20th anniversary of Matchbox 20's breakthrough album Yourself or Someone Like You (doesn't that make you feel old?), a blockbuster LP that spawned the Top 40 singles "3 A.M.," "Push," "Back to Good" and "Real World." Counting Crows have been around even longer, best known for the alt-rock radio staples "Mr. Jones" and "A Long December."

Tickets for the show range from $35 to $85, and they go on sale Fri, March 31, at noon through TicketsWest.
The Piano Guys
  • The Piano Guys

And on Oct. 12, the Piano Guys will return to the Arena after playing there last May. Best known for imaginative YouTube videos featuring instrumental renditions of everything from Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" to "Let It Go" from Frozen, the Utah-based quartet recently released its sixth studio album, Uncharted.

Tickets start at $29.50 and run all the way up to $179.50; they're available at 10 am this Friday through TicketsWest.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Social Distortion's reliable rock fills the Knit

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 10:36 AM

Social Distortion got the packed Knitting Factory into a sweaty mess within a couple songs. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Social Distortion got the packed Knitting Factory into a sweaty mess within a couple songs.

Social Distortion is one of those bands whose fans can genuinely count on to deliver what they know and love every time the group records new songs or hits a concert stage. And what they deliver is a winning blend of punk attitude and retro-rock riffage.

The audience? Predominantly hot-rodders and bikers, old punks and Bettie Page fashionistas, although Social D had enough time in the major-label spotlight and on rock radio that plenty of decidedly un-punk souls join the mob to hear leader Mike Ness's raspy roll through hits like "Ball and Chain" and "Story of My Life."

"Mob" is a bit of an understatement for the crowd at the jam-packed Knitting Factory show on Saturday night. It was tough to find any room to move around, whether on the main floor, in the bar area or upstairs; it was wall-to-wall and instantly sweaty when Social Distortion took the stage and lit into the barreling "So Far Away" and "Bad Luck," a worthy one-two punch of a show opener that got the mob to at least move forward and break into a pit in front of the stage.

A few songs in, after watching the, um, aggressive reaction to the band's tunes in that pit, Ness implored the crowd to mellow out a little. "Let's all get out of here alive, okay?" he asked, grinning.

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