Today, Danish metal band Volbeat announced a spring tour through the western U.S. and Canada that includes a stop in Spokane April 27. Volbeat sold out a show at the Knitting Factory in the spring, so clearly the move to a bigger room for their next visit makes sense. Volbeat is touring in support of their Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies album.
The presence of thrash-metal pioneers Anthrax on the bill is a good explanation of why the tour needs a room as large as Spokane Arena. One of the so-called "Big Four" of thrash along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, Anthrax is still touring in support of their Worship Music release, featuring the return of original singer Joey Belladonna.
Anthrax's Scott Ian
The two bands share more than the ability to stir up a mean pit. Longtime Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano left the New York-based band in January 2013 — and is now a full-time member of Volbeat. Jonathan Donais of Shadows Fall replaced him in Anthrax.
A note on all those folks who wore earplugs at the show: they were not wrong. My ears still are ringing slightly the morning after.
The dark space is sufficiently packed at the sold-out show; the linebacker-shaped guy in front of me is sweating buckets. We’ve waited all night for Seattle punk legends Mudhoney to grace the Bartlett stage, and finally they seem to appear out of the ether. It’s straight into the rocking “In 'N' Out of Grace” followed up by the amazing “I Like It Small” and people just lose it — brains rattling from all of the head banging.
For a while, all we get out of frontman Mark Arm is a “thank you” while tuning between songs. The songs ebb and flow between balls-to-the-wall punk and slower, sluggish songs. Every time a high-energy song comes up, the audience gets crazier; some of the younger people up front try to mosh. When the grungy and distorted “Touch Me I’m Sick” finally comes in half-way through the set, it is madness — as is to be expected of their well-known song.
It’s better when Arm isn't playing guitar. Not because he’s not a master guitar player, because he is, his effects are extraordinary, but when the instrument is no longer there as a security blanket of sorts and it’s just him and the microphone, he absolutely can't be contained. Part way through the set he ditches the guitar and starts singing “What to Do With the Neutral” off the 2013 album Vanishing Point and he’s intoxicating to watch. At points he’s doing his best Iggy Pop impression strutting around stage, other times he’s able to stand still and move in slow motion. His transfer between screaming and singing actually well is made more impressive when you realize he’s 52. All of the band members still have it; this isn't three-chord punk.
The sweet Mudhoney concert poster.
“Chardonnay” also off Vanishing Point, was a high note. “This song comes from the heart,” Arm explains before getting into the song that expresses his disdain for the white wine. When they finish up the pummeling “The Only Son of the Widow From Nain” they abruptly leave the stage. After only playing an hour, that was a shock to the system. The crowd wants more, we would not be denied.
I half expected this show to be full of dudes who still had their long hair from the ’90s. Instead, there were a lot of bald heads. But in true Northwest fashion, the flannel was everywhere, even though Mudhoney never really wore it back in the day – according to Arm, they preferred velour.
Eventually, they pile back on stage, rolling into the sludgy “Mudride.” Thirty seconds in, drummer Dan Peters stops it. “We haven't played that one in a while,” Arm says. But the encore is by no means ruined. They quickly regroup ending with the all-important “The Money Will Roll Right In” and riotous “Hate the Police” (the best song to put on in your car after you've had a bad day).
Last night, these guys played the hell out of their songs, proving after 26 years together, they're not going anywhere.
On the opener Barton Carroll:
Mudhoney brought along a folk singer to open their punked-out show, and it worked surprisingly well. I’d never heard of Barton Carroll, a singer-songwriter who lives in Seattle, but his intricate guitar work and insightful lyrics had me entranced from the get-go. You often don’t know what you’re going to get with openers, but in this case, what a breath of fresh air. You’ll want to listen to this and this. Stunning.
It’s always the worst when you’re forced to chose between two great shows. This evening, Chewelah native and soulful crooner Allen Stone and Seattle grunge/punk pioneers Mudhoney come through downtown Spokane. Who scheduled these shows for the same night? Ack! BUT if you don’t already have Mudhoney tickets, the decision is made for you as that Bartlett show is completely sold out. Allen Stone tickets are still available at the Knitting Factory’s website. Click on the following links to read our preview stories on Stone and Mudhoney.
Local singer-songwriter Sarah Cameron possesses the kind of youthful innocence of Taylor Swift, before T-Swift graduated to songs like this. Cameron, 22, releases her new CD, Daydream, at the Big Dipper Saturday night. The EP features many a song about relationships with boys, even Jesus. The show starts at 7 pm and is $5.
Back for another frightening year is the Halloween Cover Show, which takes local bands who normally play original music and turns them into really famous bands for one night only. Saturday, Losing Skin become Misfits, Cold Blooded pulls off the Ramones, Reason For Existence plays Sublime, Xingaia does video game covers, Deaf To is Breaking Benjamin and Saxeus is Alice In Chains. This all-ages show goes down at the Hop! starting at 6:30 pm and is $7. (Note: There is no Halloween Cover Show at Mootsy's Friday night)
Sunday nights are often a time of rest and relaxation getting ready for the work day ahead. OR you could go to a punk show and start your week off right. The Viking brings in Oh Snap!, Poke Da Squid and Lust for Glory for just that. Headliners Oh Snap! recently released an EP Drunk Pop Punk! that is absolutely ridiculous. Enjoy. The 21+ show is free and starts at 7 pm.
This is a continuation of interviews with Allen Stone and Myles Kennedy two successful musicians originally from the Spokane area who play back-to-back Knitting Factory shows beginning tonight. Read the story from this week’s issue here.
When I finally get a hold of Stone late Monday night, he's getting over a sickness, trying to preserve his voice. Still, rolling somewhere through the middle of Nebraska on his tour bus, he answers my questions.
INLANDER: How are you feeling?
ALLEN STONE: I still have that snotty, boogery shit but I’m getting better. I think it was the change of the temperature that caused this.
When isRadius coming out?! The album has been slated for the end of 2014, how much longer must we wait?
It’s looking like it’s going to be February or March. That’s all depending on if I can write better songs, because I’m anal about my art and I’m trying to make it perfect. Capitol Records has been amazing thus far. They’ve steered me in certain directions for this record, but I told them I wanted to do it my way and they were OK with that. They were trusting.
And you’ve been working with Swedish soul singer/multi-instrumentalist Magnus Tingsek?
He’s like the master, he’s the Great Oz of white soul music, the one and only undiscovered of the world. I did most of the record with him in Sweden, and about 15 percent in Chewelah in my home studio.
Getting into your music, how did you find this old man-sounding singing voice? Why R&B/soul?
I think technology has taken a grip of our culture; it’s taken away the humanity. I don’t like that. I fall back to that earlier music in the ’60s and ’70s, the music that isn’t computer-based. As far as the soul side of things, I grew up in the church singing with my parents. Hearing Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, I knew that was me.
Growing up in Chewelah (about 45 minutes north of Spokane), how much time did you actually spend in Spokane?
Anytime I was going to buy basketball shoes or snowboarding gear I’d go there. In high school, you’d go to a movie there and we went to Red Robin, because you can’t beat those steak fries. I lived with my aunt and uncle for about a year after graduation in Spokane and then got a job in Seattle in 2007. I moved over and lived on my buddy’s couch for a couple years or so. It was either do what everyone else does, or try something extraordinary.
What can Spokane expect? Is there a special connection playing here?
It’s a true soul show. It’s all live instruments, no fucking tracks or laptops on stage this is all happening in real time. I love Spokane, it’s where my heart is. I consider this my home.
Having so much buzz about you, especially with this new record coming out, do you feel a lot of pressure? Or are you just taking the ride?
There’s pressure, but it’s from me. Our culture is docile; we don’t do anything. I don’t care about what’s popular, I really want to make music that stimulates change and thought, and so there’s that.
A couple of weeks ago, Kennedy is on break from touring with his musical projects Alter Bridge and Slash. He calls from his South Hill home...
INLANDER: Where are you right now? MYLES KENNEDY: I’m home about six or eight weeks a year. When I’m home like this week, I kind of savor every minute of it.
Did you start out with instruments? How did you find your voice? I was in this band called Citizen Swing. I couldn’t find a vocalist so I had to do it myself. It took a long time to find my own voice, about 10 years. I can listen in to old Mayfield Four, and can tell when I was listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley because I can hear his influences.
How did you first meet the Creed guys? Were you surprised when they wanted you to front their new band Alter Bridge? I was really surprised because we didn’t spend a lot of time together when the Mayfield Four opened for them on tour in the late-’90s. When they called five years later I didn’t think that I would be on their radar. There was a never an “I’m in the band” discussion, but now fast-forward 10 years and we’re putting out a box set.
And Slash? Well, he called in 2009 and asked if I would be interested in working on his solo record. He sent me some music, I liked it and we met in L.A. and recorded the track. That was the genesis, I had no idea it was going to evolve into a band — that we would be touring together. It was kind of … it just felt good when we made music together. It was a very natural fit.
How do you balance touring/recording albums with both groups? It’s kind of a challenge sometimes; it’s harder than you think because they’re very different. There’s a certain shift each time I have to get on the stage.
What’s it like performing at home? It’s exciting because we haven’t been here since 2011, which kind of bums me out. I’m proud to be from here. I was very touched at the Gorge [where he performed with Slash in August]. You could just feel the support, I could see people from high school, it was a beautiful night.
You’ve been on the roller coaster that is the music business, how do you stay levelheaded? Because I didn’t have a quick ascent it took a really long time to cultivate levelheadedness and I’m really grateful for that. I think I would have become a rock ‘n’ roll casualty if it happened too fast. Through a lot of time, heartbreak and chances, I learned to be extremely grateful. I don’t take a minute of it for granted.
Did you ever expect that this would be how it would end up? There were high hopes for me with Mayfield Four and as time went on and I discovered the realities of the music business I became very aware of how rare that it is to make it. And I also learned I like having songwriting partners. A lot of it fell on me with Mayfield but with Slash and Alter Bridge it’s awesome to work with them. That’s taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. But in the beginning I never thought I would like collaborating with others.
By Dan Nailen
on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Each Tuesday, we’re going to make sure you don’t miss out by highlighting a few new music and video releases to help you figure out how to spend your hard-earned home-entertainment dollar.
Here is what’s new and worth your attention, released Tuesday, Oct. 21:
Mark Lanegan Band, Phantom Radio. The former Screaming Trees singer continues to have one of the most interesting and musically ambitious post-grunge careers of all the acts that came out of Seattle way back when. You can stream Ellensburg native Lanegan's latest right here. Or just give it a sample with this vid:
Sleater-Kinney, Start Together. This box set includes vinyl versions of the pioneering lady-punk trio's seven albums, plus a hardcover book tracking their history. It's a perfect way for the vinyl junkies to get ready for the band's 2015 reunion, including a tour starting right here in Spokane.
Jessie Ware, Tough Love. Ware is a British electro-soul singer that everyone waiting for the next Adele album should be listening to. Her music is smooth, sexy and worthy of comparisons to Sade.
If you're looking to turn your brain off, there are certainly some options for you among today's DVD and Blu-ray releases, chief among them the Cameron Diaz/Jason Segal disaster Sex Tape or horror-thriller The Purge: Anarchy. But there is some legitimately brilliant stuff that should go to the top of your rental/purchasing list:
Snowpiercer is one of the coolest films of the year, thanks to the inventive vision by Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host), and the story adapted from French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. It's a sci-fi tale set in the not-too-distant future when a new Ice Age has descended on the planet, and the only human survivors are on a perpetually moving train strictly divided by class. It sounds hard to believe, but it's full of outstanding action sequences, and great performances by the likes of Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer.
Los Angles Plays Itself might seem like a slog if you just look at the 169-minute running time, but this brilliant documentary is a must-see for movie geeks. It looks at the myriad ways Los Angeles has been portrayed in film through the years, and is constructed from clips of more than 300 movies to tell its story, all of it narrated by director and film historian Thom Anderson. Complications of usage rights kept the 2004 movie from ever getting a wide release, but now those issues have been sorted out and it's finally available on video.
Pee Wee's Playhouse is the perfect '80s-era TV show to warrant special treatment, and the release today of the entire series on Blu-ray is cause for celebration in my house. If your only memory of Pee Wee Herman is the scandal that nearly killed the career of Pee Wee creator Paul Reubens, or the excellent Tim Burton-helmed Pee Wee feature film, you need to revisit this multiple-Emmy-winning children's show. Equal parts hilarious and trippy, it's something parents looking for some nostalgia can feel good about watching with their kids. And older Pee Wee fans (ahem), can just wallow and watch Captain Carl (Phil Hartman) and Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne) along with Chairy, Conky and Pterri the Pterodactyl.
By Dan Nailen
on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM
When I was a kid, Kenny Rogers was in the midst of a monster run of hit songs that transcended labels like "country music" or "pop." He was basically an omnipresent musical force thanks to a parade of best-selling albums in the late '70s and early '80s like The Gambler and their affiliated feature films, TV specials, Kenny Rogers Halloween masks and the like.
Rogers still tours quite a bit, and his visit to Spokane Sunday night offered me the chance to see how his oldies act measures up to some others I've seen — both good (Tony Bennett) and bad (Wayne Newton). Not only would it be my first time seeing the Gambler in person, but it was my first visit to the Northern Quest Resort & Casino since moving to Spokane last month.
It being a Sunday, the dealers around the casino were all wearing football jerseys. It was a nice touch, although dropping a few bucks at a blackjack table was made all the worse by losing to someone dressed as Tom Brady.
Entering the Pavilion for the show, an usher told me to "head toward the Jack of Spades" to find my seat. I half-expected people dressed as playing cards a la Alice in Wonderland, but alas, it was just signage once I hit the ballroom-turned venue.
Taking my seat next to a couple of excited Kenny fans downing hot dogs and talking excitedly about their high hopes for the new Dumb and Dumber sequel, I settled in and watched the old videos playing in lieu of an opening act. There was no sound, and most were taken from his early-'80s heyday. There was Kenny singing with Dolly Parton. With Sheena Easton, with Dottie West, with Kim Carnes. Other than Dolly, it was a cavalcade of "where are they now?"
Rogers hit the stage to a rather muted response from the full room of the mostly Social Security-eligible fans, and the video images we had just seen made the reality all the more striking. He moved gingerly toward center stage as his band lit into "Love or Something Like It" followed by "It's a Beautiful Life." He couldn't seem to move well at all, and even turning to face different parts of the audience seemed difficult. I started to sense the night might be a long one of me wondering if Rogers would tumble off the stage.
Then a funny thing happened — Rogers turned his age and physical state totally to his advantage. He cracked jokes about the age of the audience — "You'll all be happy to know those are the two loudest songs I know," he announced after his first two tunes. He remarked that his limp was due to getting a knee replaced a few months back, "and they replaced the wrong knee!" He cracked wise about the men dragged to the show by their wives, and even gave one guy up front $10 for every song he could name, continually throwing bills at him throughout the show.
He had two giant video screens on either side of the stage, so clearly he wasn't concerned with folks seeing the age on his face. This was my view of the proceedings:
And Rogers' voice? It's actually in pretty good form. He was always a raspy guy, so the ravages of age haven't really changed it that much. Songs like "She Believes in Me," "Ruby," "Coward of the County," "Lucille" and "Daytime Friends" all sounded just fine, although he mashed some together in abbreviated form in an effort to fit as many hits into the show as possible. There were even some pleasant surprises. He covered John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me." The band added accordion for a song he recorded with Buckwheat Zydeco for his 2013 album, You Can't Make Old Friends. And he did "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)," his pre-solo hit with his old band First Edition. You might remember it from The Big Lebowski:
All told, a good show, ending with his solo take on Dolly duet "Islands in the Stream." It wouldn't be shocking to see Rogers make his way to town again. As long as that knee holds up.
By Dan Nailen
on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM
Sleater-Kinney: (left to right) Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker
UPDATE: The Sleater-Kinney show has sold out of tickets, so if you want to see them, you'll have to hit the web and hope someone's selling, encourage the band to book a second date in Spokane, or travel to some exotic locale outside Spokane. A little more than eight years ago I drove 14 hours from my then-home to meet a stranger who had contacted me via email with an offer of free tickets to the "final" Sleater-Kinney show at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. Thankfully, she was just a rabid fellow fan doing me a solid after reading my online wailing about not getting tickets, and not a serial killer. It was an amazing show, and a satisfying conclusion for me as a total S-K geek. If my favorite band of roughly 10 years had to call it quits, at least I got to see it, and they threw down a gloriously punky, emotional gig on their way out the door.
Happily, it turns out that wasn't a conclusion at all, just the start of a lengthy hiatus that allowed Carrie Brownstein to co-create Portlandia and awesome, now-defunct band Wild Flag, Corin Tucker to make two albums under her own name, and Janet Weiss to play in Wild Flag, Quasi and Stephen Malkmus' Jicks. And that Sleater-Kinney hiatus is coming to a dramatic end with the abrupt announcement of a new album, No Cities to Love, arriving on January 20, 2015. A tour in support of the album will start at the Knitting Factory in Spokane on Feb. 8. Tickets will be on sale through the band's website, and are on sale Oct. 24 through the Knitting Factory's site.
There's been a feeling that something was going down, reunion-wise, when a new song, "Bury Our Friends," was delivered via 7" vinyl in the band's new box set of remastered old albums, Start Together. And now there's a video (of sorts) of that new song:
Here’s a handful of music videos recently released by local musicians — proving the art of a great music video still isn’t dead, even if MTV is. Check ‘em out and support local music. See what’s happening musically in the Inland Northwest here.
TONIGHT The Sweeplings, Cami Bradley’s new cinematic folk-pop duo, play two shows tonight at the Bartlett. The first show starts at 7 pm and has Patchy Anders opening, while the second show at 9 pm has Betty and the Boy. Cost is $18. Read our preview article here.
When a band has a recent album out called Songs in the Key of Whiskey, it should be obvious what kind of show that group will put on — boozy Americana. Seattle rockers Guns of Nevada come to Underground 15 Saturday. Sweet Rebel D opens for the show that starts at 8 pm and is $7.
Together Pangea was just at the Bartlett in August but Saturday they’re back as part of the Burger Records Caravan of Stars tour. Also on the docket are the Memories, AJ Dabila & Terror Amor and Mozes & the firstborn. The party starts at 8 pm and is $15 the day of.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers hits up Northern Quest Resort & Casino Sunday. Yes, the 76-year-old “Gambler” probably will do some gambling this weekend. The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $55 to $65. Look for our review of the show Monday morning.
Country music seems to be a big deal around here. From downtown Spokane city dwellers to rural Northern Idaho farmers, most everyone gets a kick out of country-pop anthems celebrating the real American party scene — the one with cheap beer, boots, ripped jeans and lakeside campfires.
Eric Church successfully covers this ground in a bro-country way, yet simultaneously attempts to embrace the grit of the down-home good guy and the misunderstanding of the bad boy.
Church is to the country music scene what Kanye is for everyone else - the attention-grabber who gains fame by self-proclaiming his alternative status, making public statements dissing other stars and doing whatever the hell he wants in the name of "not caring." A couple years ago, Church called out fellow country stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton for their involvement in reality TV (though he appeared on CMT Cribs two years earlier talking up his "mancave").
In line with the outlaw image he's going for, Church's tour and latest album bear the name of The Outsiders. This world tour makes its way to the Spokane Arena, continuing the venue's pattern of booking country bands, on Thurs. Jan 29, 2015; more information on ticket sales to come soon.