Saturday, February 21, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Riff Raff flexes and perplexes at Knitting Factory

Posted By on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 3:40 PM


“I don’t even know who Riff Raff is,” says the woman nearby in head-to-toe denim. “I’m here for the beer but I really only listen to, like, Johnny Cash.”

Glowsticks are tossed from the balcony around us and from every direction, some landing in people's drinks below. But, let’s face it, if unadulterated (mindless?) fun is serious business, then Riff Raff has made quite the case for being one of its most frustratingly foremost CEOs. In fact, glowsticks landing in your $6 beer seems fitting. This is no place to sip and ponder. Any attempts to nitpick the much-debated Riff Raff persona, particularly in the wake of the Spring Breakers fallout involving James Franco, have mostly dissolved.

It was with rave-like ceremony that Riff Raff finally took the stage at the Knitting Factory last night — after overcooking the hype with a too-long series of gracious but underwhelming opening acts. Donning neon shorts, a loose tank top, and a hilarious fur hat, Riff Raff moves across the stage like that guy you knew in college who loved the Lonely Island but never laughed at them.

This is essentially Panama City Beach, YOLO reincarnate, pre-pre-molly music and, on that level, it occasionally manages to work. There is a bizarre anti-charm to someone who uses Miley Cyrus’s face as a backdrop without using her Mike WiLL Made-It collaboration “23” as a lead-in to his own ode to Jordans (“Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwdinz”), then does a brief cover of iLoveMakonnen’s ”Tuesday” on a Friday and doesn't capitalize on the easy joke.


Ultimately, it’s difficult to dismiss Riff Raff. As soon as you’re positive he’s lampooning, he lets loose a vicious sneer that implies he’s absolutely for real. Though there isn't much to speak of musically, aside from anthems “Dolce & Gabanna” and “Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwdinz," which both elicit huge responses, there still seems to be plenty to speak of with regards to the elusive identity of Horst Christian Simco, aka Jody Highroller, aka Riff Raff.

Riff Raff is still most interesting on that perceived divide between the two — between Franco and Neon Icon, between performer and art conceived.

And thankfully, he still walks the line.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: We’ve got hip-hop with Riff Raff, Grieves and Corina Corina

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Tonight, the Red Room Lounge pulls in Corina Corina (a name that will easily cause you to sing this song), a San Francisco-based vocalist who fuses hip-hop and R&B melodies with lyrics about gender equality and loving yourself. The Muzes, a Spokane two-piece featuring Kelley Mak and Jaeda, open the show. The acts stop here as part of a Pacific Northwest Tour. The 21+ show starts at 9 pm.

It’s another round of the Round at the Bartlett. This time musicians Tyler Aker, Cold Mountain Yeti and Ruth Henrickson, poet Devin Devine and visual artist Jesse Pierpoint get together to celebrate local art. The all-ages show is $10 and starts at 8 pm.

John’s Alley in Moscow hosts Simba and the Exceptional Africans at 9:30 pm tonight. The show is $5 and has the potential to last all night long. The band’s story is pretty exceptional. Read that here.

Riff Raff is the dude James Franco’s cornrowed and grilled-out Spring Breakers rapper character was inspired by. He comes to the Knitting Factory tonight for an event that’s sure to be unforgettable. The all-ages show starts at 7 pm and is $22.50. Look for our concert review Saturday. These days, he's gaining weight to feeling great. Check him out below. 

Spokane's Crystalline and Seattle's Vox Mod turn the Baby Bar into an electronic haven Saturday night. As always, the show is free at this venue. 

The Hive brings in yet another group Saturday sure to make you want to dance hard. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe plays delicious funk tinged with soul. Denson not only sings, he plays saxophone and jazz flute. Brownout opens for the group. The show starts at 9 pm. It's $30 at the door. 

We’ve got Seattle-based hip-hopper Grieves back in town. Last year he sold out the Bartlett, so you’ll need to get down there early for a good spot. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $20 the day of.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hey record enthusiasts: Recordings and Video sale!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 1:00 AM


Are you the sort of dude who’s looking to collect every VHS tape of the Sandra Bullock classic Speed? Or do you like the look, feel and sound of vinyl records best? The KPBX Recordings and Video sale is here this weekend at the Lincoln Center to make things better for you.

Finally, a flea market/swap meet containing all of the cool stuff that you wish you could find every weekend in one convenient place (although you should probably check out Junk Church happening Sundays at Stella's, too). Here’s your opportunity to sort through the dust and the crowds to potentially find that one gem, donated by people in the community.

All single items are under $5 and it’s free to get in. The event is a fundraiser for the radio station. Saturday hours are from 9 am-5 pm and Sunday it goes from 11 am-5 pm.

If only we had this sort of thing every weekend. Sigh. See you all in line Saturday morning. 
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: Ebert's Life, amazing animation and a multitude of new music

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Every week the entertainment biz does its best to separate you from your money, and at Tuesday Taste we help you decide how best to spend your hard-earned cash, sifting through the week's new releases. 

Among the mainstream releases this week, Imagine Dragons will probably dominate the sales chart with their bombastic brand of rock. Reggae fans will want to check out a new Bob Marley live set recorded in Boston in 1978. Here are a few releases worth a listen if those don't do it for you: 

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS, Transfixation. The New York noise-rockers try to capture the blend of shoegaze, psychedelia and hardcore that makes their live shows some of the most thrilling in modern rock on their fourth full-length. Here's a taste: 

JULIANA HATFIELD THREE, Whatever, My Love. A criminally underappreciated part of the '90s alt-rock explosion, the Juliana Hatfield Three released one album in 1993 and finally are releasing a follow-up 22 years later. Poppy, punky and highly entertaining is the rule with these guys. Here's a new tune, "Wood":   

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Monday, February 16, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Lucinda Williams' sweet Valentine's Day at the Bing

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 11:01 AM


Lucinda Williams was perhaps just being gracious when she said early in her sold-out show Saturday that the cheers greeting her after show opener “Steal Your Love” were “the best Valentine’s Day present I could get.”

Even if that’s the case, there’s no questioning the sincerity with which she delivered her searing songs of love, failure and redemption to a rabidly receptive crowd filling the Bing Crosby Theater. Backed by only three stellar musicians, Williams touched on all eras of her decades-long career, pulling her setlist from no less than nine different albums for a performance that included blues (of both the slow-burn and roadhouse-stomping varieties), country, folk and rock. And all of it was led by a performer who seemed as happy as the audience to be there, and equally awed by the prowess of her backing players as she shimmied and swayed to their sounds when she wasn’t playing along on guitar herself.

The 62-year-old hit the stage all in black, from her leather jacket and boots to her jeans, focusing on her nearby music stand for lyric reminders as the show built momentum from a strong start that continued from “Steal Your Love” into an excellent take of “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad,” a song Williams noted was recently recorded by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.

A couple of songs from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, arguably Williams’ masterpiece from 1998, followed in “Right on Time” and “Drunken Angel” before she introduced the audience to several songs from her newest work, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. “West Memphis,” inspired by the story of the West Memphis Three, had Williams singing from the perspective of one of the falsely accused child murderers. “Cold Day in Hell” was a relatively straightforward blues number, leading to the band departing the stage for Williams’ brilliant solo acoustic version of “Compassion,” a song she adapted from one of her recently deceased father’s poems. A call to offer compassion to even those “who don’t want it,” the song hit hard with lines like “You don’t know what wars are going on, down where the spirit meets the bone.”

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Friday, February 13, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Valentine’s Day weekend shows for you

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 12:14 PM

Hopefully, you took initiative this year and already planned out your Valentine’s Day because a lot of these shows are already sold out. But we’re going to tell you about everything anyway because there’s cool ish happening.

Tonight and Saturday, the Portland Cello Project is scheduled at the Bartlett. Both shows are now sold out, BUT for those with tickets just know you made a great decision. You’ll hear covers of Kanye West and Taylor Swift and whole hell of a lot more. The cello by itself is magical. When a group of them play together, it’s even better. Both shows begin at 8 pm.

In other news: Pinnacle Northwest (aka the Pin) will not open this weekend, according to owner Thomas Chavez. Instead the show scheduled for Friday night, featuring guitarist extraordinaire Felix Martin, will show at the Hop! The all-ages show starts at 9:30 pm. Chavez plans to open the Pin by next weekend. We’ll keep you updated.

For those down in the Moscow/Pullman area tonight, Runaway Symphony will take over Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub. The band’s languid folk rock just continues to improve and excite. As always at that location, the show is all-ages and free.

Another sold-old show this weekend is Lucinda Williams Bing Crosby Theater appearance. As culture writer Dan Nailen explains, Williams’ live shows are meteoric affairs, alternating between soaring heights and occasional emotional stumbles, but hearing Williams perform classics like “Joy,” “Essence” and “Pineola” is hard to beat. That show starts at 8 pm.

Underground 15 brings in Seattle-based rock act Divides and local screamo act Death By Pirates Saturday night. The show is free and starts at 10 pm.

There are a whole bunch of Valentine’s Day dances for you and your honey muffin to attend — or just to show up to alone. Check out places like the Baby Bar (1970/'80s dance party, watch out) and the Hop! and the Lariat and more!

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CONCERT REVIEW: A crazy ODESZA show at the Knitting Factory

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 11:13 AM

Harrison Mills - COURTNEY BREWER
  • Courtney Brewer
  • Harrison Mills

The moment I arrived downtown, I watched as sequin-covered young people made their way toward Sprague like moths to a flame. Entering the Knitting Factory behind a group of bro-tank-wearing co-eds, the bouncer asked, "Which high school are you guys from?" Proudly, one guy yelled, "WSU!!! Wooo!" It was abundantly clear that ODESZA's fame had drawn in a lot more "woo-ers" since their more intimate show at the Bartlett last spring. They went from attracting a small group of 20-somethings to a much broader — and louder — demographic. Now selling out venues like the Knitting Factory on a regular basis, the Seattle natives Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight have grown to be one of the leading electronic groups in the area.

On the way in, there was a locker rental on the left. I didn't give it much thought other than that it could be useful for those who did not want to hold their coats while they drank and danced. Upon entering the auditorium, however, it became clear what the lockers truly held... clothes. Everything was a sea of G-strings, animal ears and light-flashing gloves. 
The crowd roared like a storm chanting "ODESZA! ODESZA!" in hopes they might get them on stage sooner. The moment the two hit the stage and the psychedelic light show started, the masses began to swell and rock like the ocean. Who knew that two dudes with computers could get a Beatles-like reaction?
  • Courtney Brewer
  • Clayton Knight of ODESZA
  • Courtney Brewer
  • Harrison Mills of ODESZA

Though they attracted rave-goers, ODESZA's music is by no means dubstep. Rather than ominous trance followed by eternally repetitive beats and bass lines, their set list was a fluid evolution of melodies strung together like a story. Their transition between songs were nearly indistinguishable to the untrained ear, and ensured that no dancing would be disturbed by silence. 

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rock of ages/aged: Def Leppard rocks Spokane in September

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 11:21 AM


Yes, we like to announce our big shows early in this town. Seven months from now, on Sept. 30, Def Leppard will take to the Spokane Arena stage as part of the venue’s 20th Anniversary season. Styx and Tesla open for the British hard rock band, both of which have toured with the group in the past.

This tour comes after a year of opening for KISS (who they have aged far better than, by the way). While their biggest years are behind them (early 1980s and ‘90s) the band is still one of the best-selling rock bands in the world and that says something. Those huge arena hits like “Photograph,” “Love Bites” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” should still be heard.

Like last year’s Mötley Crüe show, a Def Leppard performance is sure to bring folks of all sorts out of the woodwork.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 27. Tickets will run between $35 - $75. 

Just for fun, let's take a look at some of the best Def Leppard looks from year's past. 
So young!
  • So young!

Such beautiful hair.
  • Such beautiful hair.

What they're doing now. - MARYANNE BILHAM-KNIGHT PHOTO
  • Maryanne Bilham-Knight photo
  • What they're doing now.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TUESDAY TASTE: Gyllenhaal creeps out, Father John Misty exposes himself in week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 11:01 AM

If it's Tuesday, it's time for us to sift through the week's new music and DVD releases to help you spend your hard-earned dollars on the best entertainment possible. Let's do it. 

You know what's really weird? Both Ricky Martin and Sisqo have new albums coming out today. Would any of us considered it a remote possibility that the voices behind "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Thong Song" would be putting out new music in 2015? But I digress. There's actually some good music out there for your perusal: 

Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear. One of the more eagerly awaited new releases of the spring arrives from the former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman (aka J. Tillman, aka Father John Misty), and all indications are it's a winning follow-up to his revelatory Fear Fun album. A sample of him playing the title track live, right here: 
JD McPherson, Let the Good Times Roll. The Oklahoma-based singer/songwriter is a new force to be reckoned with in roots-music circles, delivering some potent retro-rock and rockabilly. Here's a nice feature NPR did on him, and here's a taste of him playing live: 
Fat Mike, Home Steet Home: Original Songs from the Shit Musical. You'll be forgiven for finding it hard to believe that the man behind NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes penned a full-blown piece of musical theater, but that's the case with Fat Mike's Home Street Home, a story of some homeless gutter punks that is opening on stage in San Francisco later this month. The soundtrack is out this week and features folks from Alkaline Trio, No Use for a Name, Lagwagon and others; here's a taste:  

Clearly, all of us living in the Inland Northwest will be running to the store or firing up our favorite online outlet to buy the first season of Z Nation, Spokane's claim to fame in the zombie game. Some of us Inlander staffers might even see what happened after the arrival and quick dismissal of the zombie baby in the pilot. 

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Monday, February 9, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Sleater-Kinney's reunion tour kickoff in Spokane

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 9:45 AM

  • Dan Nailen

The only real signs that Sunday night's show at Spokane's Knitting Factory was Sleater-Kinney's first together in nearly a decade were a misfired start on their first encore song, and Carrie Brownstein's admission that she was having a hard time trying to not smile.

She wasn't alone. Bandmates Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss had wide grins across their faces at various points, too, and the crowd at the sold-out venue was downright ecstatic at seeing the trio on stage again. The band delivered a joyfully raucous set that leaned heavily on their new album, No Cities to Love, while including plenty of material for long-time fans. 

Still in place were all the thrilling aspects that made Sleater-Kinney a beloved indie/punk band two decades ago. Brownstein and Tucker traded intricate vocal and guitar lines all night; Brownstein is the more demonstrative player on stage, striking the classic Guitar God poses, while Tucker stays on her side and tears into churning riffs when they lock into a particularly intense groove. Weiss remains a powerhouse on the drum kit, and her ability to play and deliver harmony vocals were vital to the show's success. 

  • Dan Nailen

Some things have changed, though. Tucker's vocals remain powerful, but the paint-peeling wails of early songs are largely absent on No Cities to Love and in concert. Brownstein, never a wilting flower in the spotlight before, has perhaps become even more comfortable on stage since becoming a familiar face to many through her TV show Portlandia. It was certainly a joy to see her back at her "real job" as a rock star. The band also has a fourth musician in tow on this tour in Katie Larkin, who fleshed out various songs with keyboards, drums and a third guitar. Still no bass player needed in Sleater-Kinney, thank you very much.  

After fun warm-up set by Minnesota hip-hop force Lizzo, Sleater-Kinney launched directly into two new songs in "Price Tag" and "Fangless," both excellent additions to the band's catalog. "Start Together" and "Oh!" followed, nods to older fans through songs from 1999's The Hot Rock and 2002's One Beat

From there, the band swung back and forth between material old and new. The No Cities to Love cuts fit right in, the short bursts of hook-filled punk sitting nicely alongside fan favorites. Highlights from the new album included powerful takes on the anthemic "Bury Our Friends" and the attitude-filled "A New Wave." 

The diehards on hand naturally reacted most strongly to familiar songs like the spoken-word exploration "Get Up," the muscular "Ironclad," a swaggering "One Beat" and emphatic "Words and Guitar." The main set ended with a couple of songs from Sleater-Kinney's last release before the hiatus, 2005's The Woods, and both "Entertain" and "Jumpers" were on point. 

The encore started with the fumbled intro to "Little Babies" before the band locked in for that song, "Turn It On," the beautifully delivered "Modern Girl," complete with Weiss blowing on a harmonica, and the fiery finale, "Dig Me Out." All told, the show was long on excellent modern rock, short on any first-tour-gig jitters for the most part, and marked a welcome return from a band still worth listening to 20 years into their career. 

The setlist for Sunday's Sleater-Kinney show at Spokane's Knitting Factory: 

1. Price Tag
2. Fangless
3. Start Together
4. Oh!
5. No Anthems
6.  Get Up
7. Ironclad
8. One Beat
9. Bury Your Friends
10. What's Mine Is Yours
11. One More Hour
12. No Cities to Love
13. Surface Envy
14. Words and Guitar
15. Sympathy
16. A New Wave
17. Entertain
18. Jumpers
19. Little Babies
20. Turn It On
21. Modern Girl
22. Dig Me Out
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