Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spokane Arena’s GM addresses complaints about long lines before Elton John concert

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 2:42 PM

click image BRE CLARK, KREM
  • Bre Clark, KREM

If you were among the 11,200 people who attended Sunday’s Elton John show at the Arena (here’s our review) and you arrived anytime after the doors opened at 7 pm, the odds are good that you waited in a seemingly never-ending line.

At the time I queued up at 7:15 pm on Sunday night, there were two visible lines for ticket holders: one leading into the Arena’s southeast entry, which was spilling out onto Howard St., and another that started on the sidewalk and snaked up to the Arena’s main entrance by the box office.

I was in line for an hour (and eventually jumped into another line that, thankfully, moved way faster) before finally reaching the Arena’s metal detectors, a relatively new security system that, understandably, slows down the getting-into-the-building process a bit. A lot of concertgoers missed Sir Elton’s opening songs, and some took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about the wait.

Matt Gibson, the general manager of the Spokane Arena, says he has heard from several concerned concertgoers, some angrier than others, since the Elton John concert. The Arena increased its security measures in October of last year, and the metal detectors were in place for two major 2016 shows — Carrie Underwood in September and Florida Georgia Line in November. Neither event, Gibson says, saw as much confusion as Sunday night.

“Up until now we’ve not had issues with people getting in more than ahead of time,” Gibson tells the Inlander. “The fact that we had lines going all over the place surprises me a little. I know it’s not been perfect, but it’s never been to the point where we can’t get everyone in. It’s concerning to me, and my staff and I have talked about trying to figure everything out.”

The Arena has two big shows coming up next week — Journey and Asia perform there on Thu, March 16, and country star Eric Church plays the next night — and Gibson says there will be more Arena employees on hand to control crowds and direct attendees where they need to go.

“Clearly we’ve got to police it better at the main doors up top, because that’s where 90 percent of the people come in,” he says. “The last thing we want is to irritate the heck out of people before they get into the building. We are taking it very seriously.”
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Monday, March 6, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Elton John dazzles the Arena with a collection of pop classics

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM

  • Nathan Weinbender

About three songs into his 2 ½ hour set at the Spokane Arena on Sunday night, Elton John turned to the packed house and said, “We hope you like what we’re gonna play tonight.” Sir Elton needn’t have worried, however, because it was plain that the adoring crowd was eating out of his hand from the get-go.

That’s because John, in his third Spokane stop since 2011, is still a magnetic stage presence at 69, and Sunday night's 23-song set was well-paced and loaded with classics: “Your Song,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer.” (The latter got a regional lyric tweak — “Blue jean baby / Spokane lady” — much to the crowd’s elation.)

John played only two songs from his most recent album, Wonderful Crazy Night — “Looking Up,” a reasonably catchy, up-tempo number, and “A Good Heart,” a pretty standard ballad that John called his favorite from the record. He wisely positioned them at the front end of the set list, which was otherwise dominated by his biggest pop hits.

He also threw in a couple out-of-left-field choices: “Have Mercy on the Criminal,” from the album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, which has popped up on a few tours since the ’70s, and “Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock and Roll),” a flimsy novelty song that prefaces “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It was good to hear “Burn Down the Mission,” a track from the oft-overlooked Tumbleweed Connection album that John has turned into a live show staple.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Modest Mouse playing Spokane in May

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Modest Mouse is heading to Spokane in May.
  • Modest Mouse is heading to Spokane in May.

Hard to believe Modest Mouse has been kicking around since the early '90s, when they formed as a trio in Issaquah specializing in surprisingly expansive indie-rock, given their diminutive lineup.

Both the band (led by Isaac Brock) and its sound have only grown larger in the years since. Recent iterations of Modest Mouse have featured up to eight members on stage, giving the group the ability to experiment and stretch out beyond anything fans from the early days could possibly imagine. That expansion has been met with much success; the band's album from 2007, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank reached No. 1 on Billboard's album-sales chart.

Modest Mouse is heading to Spokane to headline the Knitting Factory on Tuesday, May 23. Tickets are $37.50 in advance, $40 day of show, and go on sale Friday, March 3, at 10 am through the Knitting Factory website and There will be a select number of tickets available via presale on Wednesday, March 1, as well.

The band's most recent album, Strangers to Ourselves, came out in 2015, and they've also re-released some remastered older gems like The Lonesome Crowded West and This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About in recent years.

The Spokane show is the first date on a spring tour that will take Modest Mouse throughout the that lonesome crowded West and toward the middle of America.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

John Mayer schedules summer performance at the Gorge

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 11:35 AM

John Mayer is set to perform at the Gorge Amphitheatre on July 21.
  • John Mayer is set to perform at the Gorge Amphitheatre on July 21.

It's cool to hate on John Mayer.

He's churned out a lot of safe blues rock over the years. He's said some dumb stuff in interviews. He probably takes himself a bit too seriously. But it's impossible to deny that the guy's a solid guitarist, and he's generated a huge fan base since releasing his first album in 2001.

Mayer has made a habit of playing the Gorge Amphitheatre every few years, and his upcoming summer tour has him returning to George, Washington, on July 21. Earlier today, Mayer released an EP titled The Search for Everything: Wave Two, a sequel of sorts to a four-song collection he dropped last month.

July's concert marks the first time Mayer has played a solo gig at the Gorge since 2013. He was there last summer with Dead and Company, a jam band he formed with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead.

Tickets go on sale next Saturday, March 4, at 10 am on and through Ticketmaster outlets.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hey '90s rock lovers: Everclear, Vertical Horizon & Fastball headed to Northern Quest

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.
  • Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.

In the late '90s, few bands had the kind of hot streak enjoyed by Portland-based Everclear, the pop-rock crew led by Art Alexakis that had just enough edge to appeal to the so-called Alternative Nation, and enough hooks to land songs like "Santa Monica," "Everything to Everyone" and "Father of Mine" in heavy rotation on the radio and MTV.

Alexakis is still going, with a new Everclear lineup and a relatively new album, Black is the New Black, and they'll be headlining a show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino on May 13. They'll be joined by fellow '90s success stories Vertical Horizon and Fastball on the bill. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 6 am through a special presale (use the code NQSOCIAL when you go to buy), through the Northern Quest Resort & Casino website. Otherwise, they go on sale Saturday at 8:30 am; tickets are $45/$55/$65 for the show.

Everclear delivered three straight platinum-selling albums in their heyday, including Sparkle and Fade (1995), So Much for the Afterglow (1997) and the ridiculously titled Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile (2000).

Vertical Horizon is best know for their 1999 hit "Everything You Want," while Fastball is a real bonus in this show as far as I'm concerned. The Texas band had a couple of hits in "The Way" and "Fire Escape" and continues to make really catchy, straightforward rock a couple decades later.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

THIS WEEKEND: Mike Stern Band, Reel Big Fish and a bevy of Baby Bar shenanigans

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 10:15 AM

Mike Stern plays at SFCC with his band Friday night.
  • Mike Stern plays at SFCC with his band Friday night.

Maybe you're planning a romantic Valentine's Day dinner this weekend, or enjoying the single life with friends. Something all of us can get behind — solo acts and duos — is the fun of a great night out for some live music. Thankfully, there's plenty happening across the Inland Northwest this weekend.


Here’s the thing about a horn section — it almost always makes a song better. Whether you’re talking about soul or funk, rock or reggae, a well-appointed horn section can take already great songs to a whole new level, and make middling songs seem a lot better than they really are. In the mid-’90s wave of ska-influenced acts like No Doubt, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less Than Jake, having a killer horn section is one of the things that made Reel Big Fish stand out. It certainly helped make a hit out of the SoCal band’s 1997 breakthrough “Sell Out.” They’re still on the road plying their energetic wares, including a tour that includes fellow ’90s refugees Anti-Flag as well as reggae-fied Ballyhoo! and Toronto punks Pkew Pkew Pkew that stops at the Knitting Factory on Friday. Here's a little sample:

Iron Goat Brewing is hosting an EP release party for Buffalo Jones, and Andy Rumsey will be on hand as well for this free gig.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watershed 2017 to feature Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton among its headliners

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Traditional country hero Chris Stapleton is among this year's headliners for Watershed.
  • Traditional country hero Chris Stapleton is among this year's headliners for Watershed.

The Watershed Music and Camping Festival announced a batch of its artists for the upcoming sixth edition of the country-flavored hoedown taking place at The Gorge amphitheater July 28-30 this year.

Among the headliners announced Wednesday are Luke Bryan (who recently did the National Anthem before the Super Bowl), critical darling Chris Stapleton and Darius Rucker. Also among the first wave of artists announced are Lauren Alaina, Lee Brice, Josh Abbott Band, Randy Houser and Chase Rice. More artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Last year Watershed expanded to two weekends for its fifth anniversary, but the festival returns to one weekend in 2017 — the recipe for success that made it one of the hottest tickets in the Northwest since kicking off in 2012.

Besides the entertainment on stage, Watershed is known for its fans fully embracing three days of country chaos, including giant slip-and-slides in the parking lot, beer pong competitions and massive, themed campsites.

Tickets for Watershed 2017 go on sale one week from today, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 10 am. Three-day passes are $199, and do not include camping. A basic camping pass, good for one vehicle full of as many folks can fit, will run you $150. There are a variety of VIP options available as well.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Jimmy Eat World, Beach Slang schedule Spokane spring show

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 10:39 AM

Jimmy Eat World headlines The Knitting Factory on April 25.
  • Jimmy Eat World headlines The Knitting Factory on April 25.

Emo survivors Jimmy Eat World put the finishing touches on their ninth studio album, Integrity Blues, in 2016 after a couple years off, and they're launching a tour that will bring the Arizona crew to Spokane this spring.

Jimmy Eat World will headline The Knitting Factory on Tuesday, April 25, with Beach Slang opening the show. Tickets are $26 in advance for the all-ages gig, and available starting Friday at 10 am at The Knit's website and There will also be a special presale on Wednesday starting at 10 am.

The band's latest comes on the heels of a mini-hiatus that saw lead singer Jim Adkins go on a solo tour, including a stop at The Bartlett, while other members toured with side projects, opened distilleries and took up boxing.

When they got back together, Jimmy Eat World decided to focus on songs, Adkins says, that are "about trying to overcome the personal struggle instead of getting upset with what life could be that it isn't." The resulting tunes are still full of the kind of killer hooks that made older songs like "The Middle" and "Futures" have serious staying power.

Here's a sample of one of the new tunes, "Sure and Certain:"

Joining Jimmy Eat World is Philadelphia-based buzz band Beach Slang, and that has me super-pumped. The band specializes in raucous rock ala The Replacements or The Hold Steady, and released their excellent second album A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings a few months ago. Here's a sample:

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Friday, February 3, 2017

THIS WEEKEND: Belt of Vapor is back, Ayron Jones brings it, and more

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 11:10 AM

Ayron Jones and his band The Way headline The Big Dipper on Saturday.
  • Ayron Jones and his band The Way headline The Big Dipper on Saturday.

There's a whole lotta great music going on this weekend in the Inland Northwest, so make a point of perusing our music listings to find some close to you — just in case the snow makes travel a big sketchy.

We have a few options below, but first a little public service announcement:, a favored online music sampling and buying site among all your favorite bands, is having a benefit sale all day today. All the site's proceeds for music bought today will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Pretty cool. How go shopping.

Here are some music highlights of the weekend


For many, Las Vegas means glitzy casinos and garish poolside parties, and concerts by either faceless DJs at sweaty nightclubs or oldies acts like Wayne Newton and Celine Dion. But every city has a seedy underbelly, and it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate soundtrack for Sin City’s dark side than Meade Ave, a metal crew named after a street dedicated primarily to adult shops and dirty warehouses. The band has seen a few lineup changes since forming in 2013 — hey, the metal life is rough — but a newly solidified four-man lineup is preparing a new album, Stitching The Torn, for release this spring. The sound? Classic metal crunch that recalls the likes of Judas Priest or the thrashier moments of Iron Maiden on tunes like “The Hangman’s Toll.” They're playing at The Pin! and the cover is $10.

Over at The Observatory, Seattle indie punks Ramona play a show with Boat Race Weekend, Lucky Chase and Wake Up Flora.


Ayron Jones and the Way played Volume last spring, and the Seattle blues-rock crew has officially achieved "next big thing" status in their hometown. That typically means good things ahead. Read our interview with Jones and check out the show Saturday at The Big Dipper. Cover is $10.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Confessions of an Inlander art director: "Nickelback was my first concert"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 2:43 PM

Nickelback is ... back
  • Nickelback is ... back

Dressed in my Payless skate shoes, blue husky-sized jeans and a graphic tee, my mom and I were driving across the state line. I was 12 and on my way to my first real rock show. The song “Lightning Crashes” was stuck in my head.

Nickelback and Live — a band that never quite achieved the same fame — were performing at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls.

When I retold my recollection of this event during my teen years, I would fib and say my mom dragged me with her. But man, I was excited to be there.

It was a night of firsts. First concert, first Rockstar energy drink, first piece of band merch (a black Nickelback zip-up hoodie), and I even saw my first real-life pair of boobs when a woman climbed on a man’s shoulders and dropped her top.

Now the much-maligned Canadian rockers are back at it with a tour and ninth studio album set for release on June 9. Catch Nickelback August 29 at the Spokane Arena with Daughtry — another 2000s great. Tickets go on sale February 11 at 10 am through TicketsWest and range from $30-$125.

Here's the first single off the upcoming album (it's got some heavy riffs, enjoy!):

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