Sunday, September 20, 2015

Etiquette lesson: What should you never do at a concert?

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 12:02 PM


Apparently someone at Business Insider is a big music fan, because this week they published a list of 10 Things You Should Never Do at a Concert. He covers all the expected bases — taking too many pictures, ignoring the band, getting too drunk — but there are definitely some holes.  
Here are a few things that could make all of our concert experiences better if we abide by them: 

Keep your shirt on. Some dude-bros insist on taking off their shirt when they build up a sweat, particularly at metal and punk shows. No one likes going home covered in someone else's sweat. No one. Cover it up. 

Don't order mixed drinks at a packed club show. You're seeing a great band. You're thirsty and try to make a quick trip to the bar for a beer without missing too much of the show. The person in front of you decides it's time to play "stump the bartender" with some idiotic order. "Can I get six Lonely Grizzlies on a Beach? What do you mean you don't know what that is?" Keep it simple, people. Shots and beers will do you right. 

Mind your manners while you navigate the crowd. Barreling through a crowd, causing multiple people to lose significant parts of their beer to spillage, is no way to go through life. Be conscious of your fellow show-goers' beverages. 

Dancers take precedent. If you want to sit, move. This is controversial; battles between ticket-holding sitters and standers have raged forever. I'm firmly in the corner of the standers/dancers. If someone pays good money for a concert ticket and wants to dance at the show, they should be able to do just that. Yes, the sitters paid for tickets, too, but they can sit at home and watch videos of the band on their computer or TV. A concert is an interactive, hopefully transcendent experience, and sometimes that requires standing. Ideally, a venue would have areas for the dancers to get their groove on, but until that becomes common, I stand with standers. 

And, finally...

Never yell "Freebird." It's over, man. Been done. Move on. 

What other things should fans never do at a show? Hit us with some ideas. 
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Friday, September 18, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Cheap Trick delivers classic rock with some edge at county fair

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM

  • Dan Nailen

What makes Cheap Trick truly "classic" among the still-touring classic-rock bands is their ability to make a show seem utterly fresh, even as the band members approach 70 and their most popular hits near 40. 

Take their show Thursday at the Spokane County Interstate Fair as a prime example. It was a loud, boisterous explosion of power-pop and hard rock songs that blended the obvious, monster hits from Cheap Trick's catalog with some deep cuts, surprising covers and unreleased new songs. Put it all together, and it was as satisfying a rock show as any you're likely to see this year. 
Robin Zander, looking pretty damn good for 62. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Robin Zander, looking pretty damn good for 62.

For the hardcore Cheap Trick fans standing from start to end and crowding the front of the stage, the show had everything they could desire. Lead singer/guitarist Robin Zander strutted around in an all-white suit and fedora (complete with feather) over a white T-shirt with an important message: "Music has value." His voice was in stellar form, whether delivering poppy tunes like "If You Want My Love" or "The Flame," or rockers like "California Man" or "Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School."  Given the range of rock styles Cheap Trick tackles in its tunes, they're lucky his voice remains as strong as it is, even if some of the high notes were a stretch after more than four decades on the road. 

Guitarist Rick Nielsen threw guitar picks into the crowd by the dozen, had a checkerboard-pattern pedestal to step up on for select solos, and wore a T-shirt with a picture of himself on it, because why not? He delivered most of the between-song banter for the night, cracking jokes about songs like "Borderline" — "It never got played on the radio. It never got played in anyone's homes, either" — doing his patented spoken-word interlude during "Dream Police" and breaking out his five-neck guitar during the show-closing "Surrender." He even spent some time chatting up the sign-language interpreters working on the side of the stage in the middle of some songs. 

Bassist Tom Petersson was more low-key than his long-time partners, lurking in back and occasionally hitting the front of the stage to harmonize with Zander. He did shine, though, during a bass solo that segued into an utterly unexpected and total awesome version of Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man" that included a mid-song side trip into VU's "Heroin" with Petersson on lead vocals.  

With Nielsen's son Daxx ably sitting in on drums in place of long-timer Bun E. Carlos, the band played with an energy that belied their years, and did far more than simply recreate their biggest hits for a fair audience. Songs like "Come On, Come On," "On Top of the World," "Need Your Love" and the new, unreleased "Bang Zoom Crazy Hello" all added some nice flavors to a set peppered with the most popular songs from the Cheap Trick canon, but those were there, too in "Ain't That A Shame," "I Want You To Want Me" and "Surrender." 

At show's end 19 songs and a bit more than 90 minutes after its start, Zander bowed to the audience and said Cheap Trick "will see you down the road." Given the energy and excitement the band still brings to a stage more than 40 years after its formation, there's no reason to think the road trip will end any time soon. 

Here is the complete setlist from Thursday's show: 

Hello There 
Come On Come On
Big Eyes 
California Man 
If You Want My Love
On Top of the World 
Ain’t That a Shame 
Need Your Love
Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School
In Crowd 
Waitin’ for the Man 
The Flame 
I Want You to Want Me 
Dream Police 
Bang Zoom Crazy Hello 

Here's a little taste of "Ain't That A Shame" from the show: 

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tambourine Man is leaving Spokane!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 12:20 PM

Michael "Tambourine Man" Ransford is leaving Spokane and the local music scene may never be the same again.
  • Michael "Tambourine Man" Ransford is leaving Spokane and the local music scene may never be the same again.

From late-night dive bar shows to huge community festivals, the Spokane music scene will soon be missing one of its biggest characters. Michael Ransford, commonly referred to as Tambourine Man as he’s often wielding the clanging instrument, is leaving Spokane.

He’s not going too far away, just far enough to make it tough to shake his buns at local shows nearly every night of the week. Ransford is moving back to Moses Lake, his hometown. He’s moving back to rest his aching body and clear his mind. Pushing 60, he wants to be comfortable as he ages, he says. He should be all moved by the end of the week.

“If I put the tamb down for a while, it’s whatever,” says Ransford, mid-move from the road earlier this week. “The dance floor is beating me up. People don’t understand that it’s getting to be harder out there for me.”

Since this year’s Volume, Ransford’s already notable 6-foot-3 frame was made more noticeable with a new bleached blonde hair look. This summer, he attended all the important shows around town, large and small — his strutting rooster-like moves and incredibly tight clothing on full display. Wherever he goes, excited whispers of “there’s Tambourine Man” follow. He is a curiosity as well as a scene mascot of sorts. He knows this.

“People want to touch me, they want to talk to me and take pictures with me. I know I’m kind of out there.” Ransford says. “Just today a band wanted to collaborate with me. I’ve collaborated with so many bands.”

Ransford says he should still be around for some of the bigger Spokane events in the future, but for now, he’s taking a much-needed breather.

In the meantime, does Ransford believe someone else should take up his tambourine torch?

“Whoever wants to do it, they can do whatever they want,” Ransford says. “I never cornered the market on what I do and I never will and if someone wants to go out there and match what I’ve done… like I’ve said, you need skills and talent."

But Ransford’s reticent to say someone could truly be the next him. “I don’t know anyone who can play the tambourine as well as me. I have that metronome, that inner tick-tock.”

Just for a little nostalgia, check out this 2014 “Hey Mr. Spokane Tambourine Man!” song made by a Gonzaga University student filmmaker.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Terrain 8's music lineup is here!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:39 AM


It seems too early in the year for Terrain 8 to already be here. That’s a fall event, after all. But it is nearly autumn and in just two weeks, on Oct. 2, thousands of people will descend on the old Washington Cracker Co. Building to view more than 240 pieces of art (the event's most ever!) created by more than 140 artists.

And as always, the Terrain promoters currated a lineup packed with Northwest indie/rock/punk/electronic acts to put us all in the right mindset for imbibing in awesome Pacific Northwest-created art, poetry, film and more. While many of these acts are tried and true in our local scene, Terrain always does an excellent job of introducing new talent to our region. No doubt, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by everything you hear.

A full time schedule will be updated soon. 


Wampire - Portland

Cathedral Pearls - Spokane

Sleepwalk City – Seattle

Phlegm Fatale - Spokane

Tone Collaborative – Spokane

Haunted Tubes - Spokane 

Paisley Devil – Seattle

The Backups – Spokane

Twin Towers - Spokane

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Monday, September 14, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has fun in Airway Heights

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Yankovic goes full octopus for "Perform This Way" at Sunday's Northern Quest Resort & Casino show. - LAURA JOHNSON
  • Laura Johnson
  • Yankovic goes full octopus for "Perform This Way" at Sunday's Northern Quest Resort & Casino show.

“Weird Al” Yankovic
didn’t begin his Sunday night Northern Quest Resort & Casino show onstage, that would have been far too ordinary. Instead the comedic singer began “Tacky,” a parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” in the venue’s loading area, walking and singing to a camera that was piped onto a large stage screen. Once he made into the performance space — of course clad in his obligatory Hawaiian shirt — the audience went nuts, especially when he climbed onto the stage, finally joining the rest of his band.

It was soon clear that Yankovic is one of the best dancers ever seen on stage. There was the squirming arm-tentacles move and also the move where he shook his entire body as if electrocuted. His Rockette-level high kicks were divine and his dizzying airplane spins couldn’t have been executed as well by a dervish. And when he came out in the Michael Jackson-inspired fat suit for his 1980s hit “Eat It,” Yankovic had the pelvis thrusts, hand action and jumps down to a tee.

This was a packed-to-the-gills two-hour show with no opener; of course Yankovic has enough material to last several days, so that was fine. The laughter was non-stop. When not on stage (swiftly changing into his next octopus/Devo/Amish/rapper outfit) there were short video vignettes — often just clips of previous Yankovic TV/film appearances or references, but also funny fake interviews with celebrities like Celine Dion and Eminem.

“Who’s ready to polka?!” Yankovic asked from the stage.

And with that, the accordion player blasted through a mash-up of recent pop hits, like Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” played all the better with a polka beat and bubbles coming from the stage.

Even through all of the fun and hilarity, as the sun set on Airway Heights some fans realized they should have worn a lot more layers. Some even chose to leave early. Too bad for them, as they missed out on amazing classics like “Smells Like Nirvana” and “eBay.”

While Yankovic’s 2014 album Mandatory Fun, went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the new songs like “Foil” (parodying Lorde’s “Royals”) and “Handy” (a take on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”) didn’t get as much of a response from the audience as his older work. When Yankovic came out in Amish garb for “Amish Paradise,” the crowd’s smart phones recorded everything and fans of all-ages sang nearly every word to “White and Nerdy.”

The encore was a tribute to Star Wars and the audience who had stuck around, including those who had their light sabers out and ready, stood up and were treated to the favorites“Yoda” and “The Saga Begins.”

Last night, Yankiovic transported his fans to a galaxy far, far away — far away from the troubles of our little lives. It was a satisfyingly funny and creative show, the likes of which was family-friendly but still smart as hell. Not many other shows touring out there today could say the same thing. 
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Shania Twain impresses much at Spokane Arena

Posted By on Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 8:24 PM

A rock 'n' roll-inspired Shania Twain at the Spokane Arena. - LAURA JOHNSON
  • Laura Johnson
  • A rock 'n' roll-inspired Shania Twain at the Spokane Arena.

Shania Twain loves rock ‘n’ roll. And the audience was tipped off to this early at Saturday night’s packed out Spokane Arena show, which was part of her Rock This Country tour. The bumper music prior to her arrival on stage was Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” When the Canadian singer finally came out from the depths of the stage singing her song “Rock This Country,” she wore a glitzy Rolling Stones shirt dress. At the end of the song she even turned around and pumped her pelvis at the exact moment pyrotechnics went off  — a true rock star move if there ever was one.

BUT for all of the rock inspiration, rest assured that this was a country show. Although the crowd, wasn’t as decked out in proper country attire as expected.

Through the better part of an hour the singer, back on tour after an 11-year hiatus, took her adoring fans through a multitude of older, country-tinged hits — the ones not on her smash hit Still the One album — such as “Any Man Of Mine,” and “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under.” There was one point when there were even three fiddle players on stage and some steel pedal guitar infusion.

It’s not always right and proper to talk about how sexy a female is. But in the case of Twain, at 50, the woman was the best looking person in Spokane last night. She strutted and stomped around the stage in thigh-high platform boots, flipped her amazing mane of hair around, sparkled and smiled, and looked like she was having a blast, even going into the audience at one point. She was a goddess in the spotlight, helped majorly by a rowdy backing band and a state-of-the-art stage set-up worthy of the Super Bowl.
Twain "Up" in the saddle.
  • Twain "Up" in the saddle.

Sure, her vocals aren’t exactly the same. But there was a point in the 2000s when the artist thought she’d never sing again. She had to relearn to sing. Every show Twain does now, she warms up for an hour beforehand. And certainly, there were some songs that seemed like she was saving it, holding back. But when “From This Moment” finally came, she hit every challenging note beautifully, her voice soaring the same as when she blasted onto the pop charts in the 1990s.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been up here and I really missed it,” Twain said from the stage. “When you don’t do something for a long time you lose your confidence. But I’m back.” She then literally got in a saddle that was connected to a crane that came out of the stage and she delivered her 2002 single “Up.”

This is supposedly Twain’s final tour. She wants to go home and finish her new record, some of which the audience got an acoustic taste of at last night’s show. These songs were all lovely, but the big hits, the ones we were all waiting for, came at the end. “You’re Still the One” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much” were out of control. But it was the encore, the one we had to wait what felt like an hour for, that brought down the house.

Once more, coming from a trap door in the stage, Twain said the words “Let’s go girls” and the screams were deafening. We all knew what was coming. For her final song, Twain thankfully wore a Xena Warrior-inspired swimsuit that highlighted most of her butt, and sang with much panache, fireballs and falling confetti, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”

Sunday night, Twain said she had come to throw the biggest party possible. She didn’t disappoint. 
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Friday, September 11, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Weird Al, Shania, Noah Gundersen, Foo Fighters & more

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Who schedules all of these amazing musical acts for the same weekend? Sigh. Such is the life of a music fan in Spokane. Sometimes weekends are so packed you can’t possibly attend everything, and other times there’s nothing. This weekend is especially a doozy, start your planning now.

Perry Street Shakedown kicks off tonight, with the highly entertaining Five Alarm Funk headlining the event. Read our preview and get the full schedule for the last block party of the summer right here. The 21+ beer garden is $3, but otherwise, the event is free. Cathedral Pearls plays at Lantern Tap House across the street from the Shakedown stage starting at 10 pm.

From the moment she burst onto the scene back in the early ’90s, Iris DeMent’s voice has resonated with lovers of folk and country music. Tonight, she brings that voice to the Bing Crosby Theater touting her newest album The Trackless Wood. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and tickets are $30.

Taylor Swift wasn’t the first female singer to ditch her country boots and make a statement at the top of the pop charts. Back in 1997, it was Shania Twain rocketing into the Top 40 with hits about feeling like a woman, and Brad Pitt not impressing her all that much. It’s been 11 years since the Canadian artist toured North America, and Saturday the songstress hits the Spokane Arena for what’s being touted as her final tour ever — the Rolling Stones said that, too. Except explosions of all kinds, from the pyrotechnics to Twain’s still-on-point vocals. Tickets range from $46 to $136 and the show begins at 7:30pm. 

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2015 Perry Street Shakedown Preview with Five Alarm Funk

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Back for just its second year, the expanded three-day Perry Street Shakedown is going big by bringing Northwest hip-hop legend Sir Mix-A-Lot to its outdoor stage. Yes, the “Baby Got Back” MC, who was recently in the area last Halloween, closes down Saturday night’s festivities at the all-ages free event — although the entire South Perry Pizza parking lot serves as a 21+ beer garden; admission is $3.

Headlining the block party tonight is Vancouver, B.C.’s Five Alarm Funk, who threw one of the biggest Spokane dance parties of the year at the previous Shakedown. The group may be rooted in funk, but their music is a passionate mix of gypsy steampunk madness and rock ‘n’ roll. We asked Five Alarm Funk’s drummer Tayo Branston how his nine-piece band felt about coming back to Spokane.

“Last year we were blown away by the [Shakedown] crowd,” Branston says. “It was a first-year festival, and it’s scary when it’s first year, but the response for the crowd … they were so into it. And then when it came along to play here again, we were more than excited.”

Expect the same wildness from the band tonight, with a couple brand new songs. Mostly, just expect to get your groove on.

Here’s the full Perry Street Shakedown schedule:

Breezy Brown, 5 pm and spinning breaks
Real Life Rockaz, 6 pm-7:30 pm
Five Alarm Funk, 8:30 pm-10 pm

DJ Teej, 1:30 pm and spinning breaks
Bandit Train, 2 pm-3:30 pm
B Radicals, 4 pm-5:30 pm
Milonga, 6 pm-7:30 pm
Veda Lux Boutique 5th Anniversary Fashion Show, 7:45 pm-8 pm
Sir Mix-A-Lot, 9 pm-10 pm

Poncho P, 1:30 pm and spinning breaks
L.O.S. (Left Over Soul), 2 pm-3:30 pm
Mama Doll, 4 pm-5:30 pm
The Lil' Smokies, 6 pm-8 pm.

Note that nearby Lantern Tap House also hosts a sour beer tasting and offers live music starting at 10 pm (following the outdoor shows): Cathedral Pearls on Friday and the Hoot Hoots on Saturday.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Behind the scenes of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Spokane video shoot

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 12:20 PM

  • Zoe Rain photo
Remember when downtown Spokane was sporadically shut down for more than a week and people were kinda pissed about that, but then they learned that the closures were because Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were shooting a music video and weren't so pissed anymore?

Well, then the video came out a couple weeks ago and it was a goofy, '70s throwback mishmash of delightful nonsense that made downtown Spokane look pretty sweet.

Now you can take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos by Seattle photographer Zoe Rain around Spokane that just appeared in Vanity Fair. Oh, and be warned, the shots of Macklemore with his new baby daughter are pretty damn adorable.

Here's the link to the slideshow.
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Friday, September 4, 2015

LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Great Pig Out lineups, Fire Fest benefit

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 12:19 PM

The weather is threatening to turn into fall at any moment. But before it does, get out there for one last weekend of celebrating summer during Labor Day weekend. Below is a currated lineup for Pig Out in the Park live music and much more. Click here for the full Pig Out schedule.

At Pig Out: Try and get off work a little early today and head over to the City Hall Stage to catch the Hollers at 4 pm. The Seattle indie band is a perfect segue into the next Seattle rock band Duke Evers (which includes local Josh Starkel; read our story here). At 7:15 pm local folk act Folkinception takes to the City Hall stage. For those who like blues, Bakin’ Phat is a don’t miss at the River Stage at 9 pm. Meanwhile country crooner Junior Brown takes to the Clocktower Stage at the same time.

In case you miss Folkinception at Pig Out, head over to nYne to see them and awesome local rock act Pine League starting at 8 pm. All proceeds from this show will go to Patty Groenen and her family.

At Pig Out: Eating everything at Riverside Park is serious business this weekend, but make sure to listen to live music, too. Saturday at 3:15 pm don’t miss Soul Proprietor, whose jazzy/soulful tunes and huge sound kill every time, on the City Hall Stage. Later, on the same stage, the kids out there will get excited for local scream-rock act Nixon Rodeo at 7:30 pm. Kenny James Miller Band show what Kalispell, Montana, blues/power rock is all about at 9pm on the River Stage.

The Big Dipper hosts Coeur d’Alene-based Children of Atom’s demo release party. Expect the groovy stoner rock three-piece’s show to blow your mind, especially with the help of their openers Amnija, North Fork, 37 Street Signs and Project X. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 pm.

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