Friday, November 4, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Steel Panther is a walking, rocking #ThrowbackThursday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Singer Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel of Steel Panther. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Singer Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel of Steel Panther.

If you dropped an unsuspecting music fan into Steel Panther's show at the Knitting Factory Thursday, it's hard to imagine what they'd think of the proceedings if they weren't in on the joke.

Taken at face value, the Los Angeles-based hair-metal jokesters come across as probably the most over-the-top, anti-PC glam-happy rock band in recent memory. They turn '80s rock excess and turn it up to 11, resulting in a show full of silly and familiar stage moves, genuinely rocking riffs and between-song banter that is hilarious at times, and completely asinine at others.

That, of course, is the big joke. Steel Panther appeals to fans of '80s glam-metal because the band amplifies how goofy that era was. Whether it's bass player "Lexxi Foxx" literally pulling out a hand mirror and applying makeup and hairspray on stage, or guitarist "Satchel" constantly talking about ever-more-outlandish sexual escapades, it's easy to watch Steel Panther and recall the likes of Poison or Dokken or Ratt at their excessive best/worst.

At their best, the Steel Panther shtick can come off as utterly charming and self-aware, such as repeated jokes about increasing the smoke on stage or the makeup to hide the advancing ages of the band members. Not as funny — a young female fan who accepted the opportunity to jump on stage and show the audience nearly filling the Knitting Factory her bared breasts. All I could think of as it happened was: "Why?"

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

A whole slew of holiday albums just hit, but it's not Christmas yet!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

While there aren't any Thanksgiving songs to speak of, wouldn't it be best to hold off on Christmas music until the end of November?
  • While there aren't any Thanksgiving songs to speak of, wouldn't it be best to hold off on Christmas music until the end of November?

It's beginning to look like Christmas ... and it's not even Thanksgiving. That's right, even before we were dressing up as heroes and monsters on Halloween Monday, new Christmas albums had already been launched to the masses. Along with that, many local stores have their Christmas decorations out and holiday ads are attempting to make our seasons bright.

Now I am not a Grinch, my heart is not two sizes too small, I just don't understand why Christmas can't be celebrated after Thanksgiving is over. Just like there are some who believe that their birthday is worthy of a month-long ordeal, Christmas has slowly but surely become a two-month-plus celebration — and it's out of control.

Christmas music itself is not an evil thing. As we wrote in an article last year, new Christmas music can bring joy to many and we shouldn't always have to stick to the classic canon of songs. But of all the below artists working to cash in on the Christmas music craze, will any offer a bonafide hit?

Here's a look at the albums already available for purchase:
Yes, the cover for Buffett's latest Christmas album.
  • Yes, the cover for Buffett's latest Christmas album.

A Very Kacey Christmas, Kacey Musgraves
'Tis the SeaSon, Jimmy Buffett
Glow, Brett Eldredge
Christmas Party, She & Him
Tennessee Christmas, Amy Grant
A Penatonix Christmas, Penatonix
It Must Be Christmas, Chris Young
Wonderland, Sarah McLachlan
Acoustic Christmas, Neil Diamond
The Greatest Gift of All, Rascal Flatts
To Celebrate Christmas, Jennifer Nettles
Now That's What I Call Merry Christmas, various artists
Merry Christmas from Andra Day, Andra Day
12 Nights of Christmas, R. Kelly
Tis the Seasons, Frankie Valli

Also coming within the next few weeks:
Christmas Bonus, David Bazan
Kylie Christmas, Kylie Minogue
A Swingin' Little Christmas, Jane Lynch

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Friday, October 28, 2016

THIS HALLOWEEN WEEKEND IN MUSIC: The costumes, the tunes and more

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 10:44 AM

Trying to dress up like a no-longer-with-us music idol? Make sure to keep it classy. (RIP Prince and Bowie and Merle and so many more.)
  • Trying to dress up like a no-longer-with-us music idol? Make sure to keep it classy. (RIP Prince and Bowie and Merle and so many more.)

If you're like me, you're throwing together your Halloween costume sometime tonight (Minnie Mouse for the 10th time? Who knows?), but for those who've poured countless hours and dollars into their outfits, I salute you. Here are some of the music shows going down this Halloween weekend — because yes, Halloween is an entire weekend — that you are more than encouraged to dress up for. Many of the shows also feature costume contests for those with creativity to actually cash in on. 


Spokane’s own community radio station finally becomes a teenager this year. To celebrate, KYRS hosts its own Halloween bash at the Big Dipper Friday night at 7:30 pm. Along with a costume contest and raffle prizes, musical guests include Everett rockers the Moondoggies, Seattle rockers the Hoot Hoots and Seattle Americana band Evening Bell. Cover is $10

The Monumental Halloween Cover Show is back this year at the Pin! with a whole new slew of local rock and hip-hop groups like Foxtrot Epidemic, Still No Pickles, Raskl, Rot Monger, Morlok VonGrimorog, Heart Of An Awl, CXMagik and Shoelaces covering acts including Michael Jackson, Logic, A Day to Remember, Nick Jonas and Cage the Elephant. Pretty frightening. The show starts at 6:30 pm and is $7 with costume and $10 without.

This Friday, you’ll need to head north to get funked up. That’s right, the Palomino brings in Spokane’s own funkified act Soul Proprietor to help get your groove on. The band’s three spooky sets will include a fine mix of funk, soul, blues, Motown, R&B and classic rock (just don’t expect any Elton John covers here). The 21+ show starts at 8 pm and is $10 at the door.

It's been seven years since Ra Ra Riot was last in the Lilac City, but Saturday the indie-pop five-piece takes over the Bartlett. As the band told the Inlander in this week's preview story, they plan on playing a lot of their new songs off of February's Need Your Light: "The best feeling about [this tour] is that we have a couple songs we close the show with — for the longest time we were closing with old songs, but now we have songs that are so much more powerful and fun for us to play, too. And I think people can really tell." The show starts at 8 pm and is $22. Local favorites Mama Doll open. 

Piano players are a dime a dozen, but Ben Folds makes the instrument seem not so stodgy. Saturday, the indie singer-songwriter shows up at the Knitting Factory to play all by his lonesome. Expect the hits but also tunes off his most recent album So There. The show starts at 8 pm and is $32.50. Read our interview with Folds right here. 

Check out a whole host of other Halloween music listings in our calendar right here. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

HEAR THIS: Brand new tunes from Runaway Symphony, Scott Ryan, Stevie Lynne and more

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 5:14 PM

Runaway Symphony has some big announcements.
  • Runaway Symphony has some big announcements.

As always, the Inland Northwest music scene continues to churn out new and impressive tunes. All of which you should be listening to right now. 

Recently, there's been some huge changes for the dudes of symphonic folk act Runaway Symphony. Within the last year, all four of the guys have gotten married and dispersed to Seattle, Minnesota and Spokane, with only one staying in Moscow. Yet drummer Jason Oliveira says the band has no intention of stopping. Earlier this month they released their first single off their new album and also announced they'd allegedly have one of their songs in the upcoming Owen Wilson film Bastards. The new album is full of that organic rock sound that garnered them attention when their first album came out, before they went more electronic on their last EP. 

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The Game brings his rap game to Spokane next month

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 12:23 PM

Hate it or love it, the Game will bring his talents to Spokane.
  • Hate it or love it, the Game will bring his talents to Spokane.

The contracts are freshly signed: the Game is officially coming to Spokane next month to headline the brand new Northwest Fall Fest. While the original Facebook event announcement said the Game was performing the first weekend of November, event coordinator Anthony Kistenmacher, aka Demon Assassin, who's also performing, has now confirmed the concert for Friday, Nov. 18.

Held at Riverside Place (the former Masonic Temple), the festival will also feature Baby Eazy-E — yes, Eazy-E's (RIP) son — along with a ton of regional and local rappers like SOK, OTD, King Skellee, Ill Mafia, CTS Savage Nation, Young West, Kenda Locc and C-Dubb. Performances will run over two stages and begin at 6 pm, running late into the night. 

You'll remember West Coast rapper The Game from his early days as one of Dr. Dre's protégés, when he hung out with 50 Cent — adding vocals to "This is How We Do" — and then fell out with 50 Cent in the mid-aughts (although the two allegedly reconciled just last month), but he's still making music. Last year's "100" featured Drake and garnered more than 52 million plays on Spotify. This month, the rapper released the brand new 1992, which commemorates the L.A. riots and has some critics touting it as his best work since his debut album, The Documentary

Tickets for the event begin at $37. Get those here. 

We at the Inlander hope this is the start of many more music events at the underutilized Riverside Place. 

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: The 1975 sparks energetic frenzy at sold out Spokane stop

Posted By on Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 3:29 PM

  • Chey Scott
Near the end of The 1975's 90-minute set, a bra was ceremoniously thrown onto the stage from somewhere in the audience. Which wasn't terribly surprising as the mostly female crowd of teens and 20-somethings seemed to hang on every word that heartthrob/frontman Matthew Healy — who occasionally paused to sip from a glass of red wine and steal drags from a cigarette — was singing.

Spokane's reaction to seeing the ultra-popular British pop-rockers the 1975 this past Saturday night was something reminiscent of millennial Beatlemania. As simply a casual fan of the band's upbeat yet broodingly lyrical music, I confess that I felt a little bit like a fraud while observing the crowd's frenetic reaction to the band's first-ever Spokane show, which sold out soon after being announced months ago. I didn't know the names of, nor the words to, most of the songs minus a few favorites. But standing on the side of the crowd — along with some bored chaperone moms on their iPhones while waiting for their teen daughters — I could easily affirm that back when I was a teen or even during my college years, I definitely would have been one of those young women screaming and jumping up and down with my friends in reaction to the opening chords of this or that song.

Despite feeling a little disconnected from the crowd's hype, this show was unmistakably worthwhile. The sound production and the band's stage setup, with bright light-projection pillars that backlit them in epic fashion and washed the crowd in blue, pink and red, were some of the best I've ever seen from groups playing the Knitting Factory. Also, considering the viral popularity of the 1975, and how quickly this show sold out, it seems obvious the concert could have easily moved to a larger venue, like the Spokane Arena's Star Theater. Just sayin': more tickets (even at $44 a pop) would have been sold.
  • Chey Scott
While most of the concertgoers seemed more than content just to see and hear the Brit rockers live, I couldn't help but feel that their interactions with us — Healy spoke little between songs — was less than genuine. Spokane was yet another stop on another long U.S. tour, at another venue again filled with a starstruck, mostly female audience. (To the bros in the bar emphatically jumping up and down and singing to the opening numbers of the night, I salute you.)

Yes, Healy did say something to the effect of they'd never been to Spokane (I think he pronounced it Spo-cane, but you know, there was lots of screaming...) and they appreciated such a warm welcome. After slowing things down halfway through for a bit of an interlude, however, he did get on the celebrity soapbox to deliver the following proclamation, which I did my best to frantically make note of:
"I know we're here as a distraction... but the thing is, this year in England we completely fucked it up and in a nutshell, what it was is that a younger generation expected an older generation to be responsible…. We expected them to make the right decision and they didn't…. The situation in America is that we're all very, very close to a very fucked up situation. It's easy for me to say fuck Donald Trump. Every night we see thousands of intelligent liberal people... What I mean is, you have to vote or you're fucking dumb. Don't vote for Donald Trump." 
And of course, the crowd (many in attendance may be voting in their first presidential election) went wild.

After breezing through hit after hit from both of their chart-topping records, the quartet took a brief break before heading back out on stage for a three-song encore to end the night. As the crowd slowly filed out of the venue (why does the Knitting Factory not offer more than one exit from the venue to expedite this?!), a line for the merch booth grew, winding down the long hallway leading to the entrance. The energized vibe of the crowd was palpable. These Brits left Spokane swooning.
  • Chey Scott

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Friday, October 21, 2016

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: The 1975, Isamu Jordan Benefit, Paul Nelson Band

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:03 AM

The 1975's first Spokane show ever already sold out weeks ago.
  • The 1975's first Spokane show ever already sold out weeks ago.

Even without their fearless leader Isamu “Som” Jordan, Spokane’s own hip-hop orchestra, Flying Spiders, have persevered in the past three years since Jordan’s death. But the multi-piece crew will never forget the rapper/writer/teacher. Friday, the annual Isamu Jordan Benefit heads to the Observatory with the help of local acts Bandit Train and the Smokes. The night will raise money for Jordan's family while celebrating the life and times of one of Spokane's biggest fans. As author Jess Walter wrote in the Inlander following Jordan’s death: “Som showed that, as an artist, you could burst with pride over being from Spokane and still push it to be better.” That rings true today as much as ever. The 8 pm show includes a $10 suggested donation.

Also, catch Karrie O'Neill free solo at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars tonight starting at 5:30 pm. We wrote about the local singer-songwriter's brand new album and upcoming national tour in this week's music section. 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pearl Jam among 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees; see the complete list here

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Pearl Jam is pretty much guaranteed to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • Pearl Jam is pretty much guaranteed to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Bank on Pearl Jam. Bet on Joan Baez and Tupac. And argue among yourselves about the relative merits of ELO vs. The Cars vs. Chic. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its list of candidates for induction in 2017, and as always, there is plenty for music geeks to debate beyond simply the existence of any sort of "hall of fame" dedicated to music that's historically been all about rebelling against the authorities and mainstream acceptance. Obviously the Rock Hall includes everything from folk to hip-hop as well as traditional guitar rock, so let the arguments commence on the merits of the nominees. 

To be eligible this year, artists had to release their first single or album in 1991 or before, so this year's first-time nominees include Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction and Depeche Mode. There are also several artists making a return appearance to voters' ballots, including Yes, Janet Jackson and The Cars. Each year, only five artists are selected; last year's inductees included Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Chicago, N.W.A. and Steve Miller. 

Besides the 800 industry folks who vote, you can cast a vote as well; the top five selections of us regular folks' will make up a "fans ballot" that will help ultimately decide this year's inductees. You can go vote right here

Below, you'll find the complete list of nominees that you can vote for, along with my analysis of how likely the artist is to be inducted in 2017. Please, no wagering (unless I get a cut): 

Pearl Jam — Probably the only sure thing among the newly eligible artists, thanks to the band's longevity, myriad good works for charity and fans' rights (ie. fighting Ticketmaster) and their continued relevance on the tour circuit. Chance of induction: 100%

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Indigo Girls and Spokane Symphony meld seamlessly

Posted By on Sun, Oct 16, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Indigo Girls' Amy Ray (left) and Emily Saliers melded well with the Spokane Symphony during their 17-song set. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Indigo Girls' Amy Ray (left) and Emily Saliers melded well with the Spokane Symphony during their 17-song set.

The pairing of pop musicians with a symphony orchestra can be a dicey thing, potentially leaving fans of the guest artist and the symphony both unsatisfied with the results. 

It's doubtful that will be the case for anyone who saw the Indigo Girls join forces with the Spokane Symphony Saturday night for a memorable couple hours at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. 

For Indigo Girls fans — and there were plenty, judging by the non-stop shouted requests and impromptu dancing dotting both sets — hearing 17 songs evolve from their folk-pop roots into lushly orchestrated epics was a treat. For symphony regulars, hearing the local musicians conducted by Jorge Luis Uzcátegui tackle something beyond classical music must have made for a distinctly different night at the symphony. And judging by the looks on the faces of many the symphony musicians themselves, they were having as much fun as the audience and featured headliners. 

The Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are total pros, capable of delivering an excellent show in virtually any environment, so it's no surprise the orchestrated versions of their catalog worked well. Possibly surprising to them, judging by their ecstatic response to the Spokane Symphony's efforts behind them on stage, was how well the songs would come across on this visit to Eastern Washington, the only symphony performance of their fall tour. 

The duo repeatedly gave the musicians love in their between-song banter, and Saliers called it the "best symphony show" she could remember. The audience was just as engaged, giving the Girls a standing ovation before they played a single song, and several more after. 

In many ways, the show resembled a typical Indigo Girls set, in terms of the mix of old favorites and newer songs, and tunes punctuated with Ray or Saliers exclaiming "Thanks, y'all!" Every song came with the Girls' swapping out acoustic guitars for electrics or mandolins or more acoustic guitars. All familiar activities for folks who have seen the duo over their three-plus decades on the road. 

But the orchestra definitely brought a welcome new feel to several songs. Ray's "Compromise" was brilliant and dramatic in its new iteration. The xylophone (maybe marimba?) that opened "Galileo" was a nice touch, as was the solo violin at the beginning of Saliers' "The Wood Song." Old favorite "Chickenman" was a treat, as the symphony members rocked out to keep up with Ray's stomping tune, and Saliers' "Ghost" was truly transporting for the audience, as she said it was for her when we chatted last week

All in all, it was both an excellent Indigo Girls performance and fun night at the symphony, and an altogether different type of show for both. As Saliers' said in introducing "Power of Two" and welcoming people to sing along, "I was going to say 'don't be afraid because it's a symphony show,' but I can tell you're not." 

Nope, the audience embraced this special combination just fine. 

1. Love Of Our Lives
2. Damo
3. Come a Long Way Emily
5. Virginia Woolf 
6. Happy in the Sorrow Key
7. Power of Two
8. Kid Fears
9. Galileo
10. Fugitive
11. The Wood Song
12. Yoke
13. Mystery
14. Chickenman
15. Ghost
16. Go
17. Closer to Fine
People on their feet and dancing—not a typical scene at the Spokane Symphony. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • People on their feet and dancing—not a typical scene at the Spokane Symphony.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Indigo Girls, Ringo Starr, Anthrax and more

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 4:24 PM


Tonight, Spokane's folk-forward group Folkinception hosts its own album-recording fundraiser at Iron Goat Brewing Co. The forthcoming CD will be the crowd-pleasing band's second, and their first album was funded by crowdsourcing as well (read about that right here). The show, which starts at 7 pm, is free to attend but donations are greatly appreciated.

With their new EP, Throw Your Head to the World!, local act Boat Race Weekend is still taking their emotional style of pop-punk quite seriously. The busy group — childhood best friends who formed a band in 2013 while attending Gonzaga University — will share the four-track EP in its entirety at Saturday’s release show at the Big Dipper, which starts at 7:30 pm and is $8 at the door. The EP was produced and recorded by Dawson Scholz of the Idaho-based the Ongoing Concept.

Over the decade's Erika Wennerstrom's songwriting has evolved, but she's still a bluesy belter at heart. To better give you a taste of her style, the singer-songwriter leaves her band, the Heartless Bastards, behind for her solo show at the Bartlett this Saturday. The show starts at 8 pm and is $15 the day of. 
This weekend, they're just two girls and an orchestra.
  • This weekend, they're just two girls and an orchestra.

Indigo Girls
hook up with the Spokane Symphony Saturday to deliver one of the most thrilling mash-ups of the season. Expect this totally live set to make you rethink the band's entire catalogue. The show starts at 8 pm and starts at $40. Read our fresh interview with the band right here. 

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Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally & Unity March

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally & Unity March @ Spokane Convention Center

Mon., Jan. 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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