Tuesday, March 21, 2017

REVIEW: The Meat Puppets' sold-out show Monday was a mighty, messy joy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 2:58 PM

Brothers Cris (left) and Curt Kirkwood are still leading the Meat Puppets nearly 40 years after forming. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Brothers Cris (left) and Curt Kirkwood are still leading the Meat Puppets nearly 40 years after forming.

The Meat Puppets are pros when it comes to touring.

I don't mean "pro" in the sense of slick or methodical — indeed, the band revels in turning once-brief songs into some epic jams, as well as performing oddball cover tunes. I mean "pro" in the sense that they deliver every time they hit the stage. They certainly did at their sold-out show at the Bartlett Monday night.

The set list leaned heavily toward the older stuff, but brothers Curt (guitar) and Cris Kirkwood (bass), along with drummer Shandon Sahm and extra guitarist (and Curt's son) Elmo Kirkwood, touched on all aspects of a four-decade career that's seen them tackle styles ranging from rapid-fire punk to loping country tunes and everything in between.

That dexterity was on display Monday from the get-go as the Kirkwoods blazed through the set-opening "Sam" in half-rapping unison before segueing straight into a twangy tune with gospel overtones, "Comin' Down."

Curt Kirkwood was one of the first old punks to forge his way into monster guitar solos back in the '80s, and he's still a player with some jaw-dropping skills. Trading riffs with his son, the guitarist and singer was clearly pleased with the sounds, smiling at his bandmates when songs would take an intricate turn.

A slew of older songs familiar to fans of the band's SST Records heyday popped up throughout, from "Oh Me" and "Lost" to "Lake of Fire," "Plateau" and "Attacked By Monsters." And the band's lone sort-of hit from the early '90s, "Backwater," still garners a loud reaction from audiences who might be less familiar with the band's first few albums.

The unexpected treats turned out to be some of the night's best performances, as is often the case. "The Monkey and the Snake" from 2009's Sewn Together album was a highlight early on (complete with whistling!), as was the cover of traditional Irish folk tune "Whiskey in the Jar," coming a few days after St. Paddy's. Another surprise was the rock-solid cover of "Mockin' Bird Hill," a song popularized by Patti Page in 1951.

There's a certain joy in watching grizzled old punks smiling at each other as they play to a packed club. There was a lot of that at the Bartlett Monday as the Meat Puppets closed it down with "Touchdown King" and a version of "Up on the Sun" that they stretched into a monstrous instrumental workout between the song's undeniable pop hooks.

The somewhat sloppy, sort of improvised dismantling of a song that's beautifully catchy at heart — that finale was a pretty good summation of everything the Meat Puppets do well.
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Holyk family speaks for the first time about $1 million settlement, disputes Sheriff's narrative

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:40 AM

Ryan Holyk's family
  • Ryan Holyk's family

When Carrie Thomson agreed to settle the wrongful-death lawsuit following her 15-year-old son's tragic death, she thought she would finally hear an apology — that the Spokane County Sheriff's Office would take some responsibility. Ryan Holyk died from a severe head injury in 2014 after a sheriff's deputy hit him with a patrol vehicle, evidence shows.

Instead, what she says she heard from Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich were denials that Deputy Joe Bodman had any culpability in the accident that caused her son's death; skepticism that the deputy actually collided with the teen; and misguided praise of the police investigations.

"I just feel like [Knezovich] turns stuff around," Thomson says, speaking publicly for the first time since the settlement earlier this month. "During his press conference the other day, he said they determined that Bodman had no part in it, when just last summer they released a statement saying they found Ryan's hat band imprint and DNA on the bumper. So how can you turn around and say now that Bodman had nothing to do with it?"
Ryan Holyk
  • Ryan Holyk

Thomson explains that the lawsuit was never about money, but about getting to the truth of what happened the evening of May 23, 2014.

"You hear about corruption and watching out for each other, and the one effect this whole thing has had on me is to know that's real," Thomson says. "That really does happen and I'm just blown away by it. I don't have any faith or trust in our local government. I know that they'll just do whatever they need to do to cover their own ass."

The wrongful death lawsuit was settled out of court for $1 million. Knezovich, for his part, says he wanted the case to go to trial. "That is the only way the facts come out in totality," he says.
Let's break down the whole story, using statements from Knezovich during a news conference announcing the settlement and on his radio program, along with statements from Thomson, context from the police investigations, witness statements and sworn pretrial testimony.

1. Who is responsible?

What Knezovich said earlier this month: "It was the fact that the evidence consistently showed that Joe Bodman was not the causal effect of this."

Continue reading »

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CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: TOOL heading to The Gorge for June 17 show

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:26 AM

TOOL headlines the Gorge on June 17.
  • TOOL headlines the Gorge on June 17.

No new album? No problem.

Prog-metal heroes TOOL have been teasing a new album for years — their last release was 10,000 Days in 2006 — but they've consistently been able to hit the road for short tours and sell out gig after gig after gig. With good reason, too, since TOOL has delivered one of the most mesmerizing stage shows around for about 25 years now.

The band will headline The Gorge on Saturday, June 17, and tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 am. That much we can tell you. What we CAN'T tell you is how much those tickets will cost thanks to LiveNation's incomplete press release. When they DO go on sale, you'll be able to get them here, and purchases will be limited to six tix at a time. And we can tell you the first series of concert dates the band announced earlier this year sold out in a hurry.

TOOL, of course, is led by magnetic lead singer Maynard James Keenan, along with co-founders Adam Jones on guitar, Danny Carey on drums and long-time bassist Justin Chancellor. The band's shows are often visual feasts much like their most popular videos, like this one:

TOOL last played in the area at Spokane Arena in March 2014.

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Spokane River turns deadly, Trump's court nominee questioned, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 9:14 AM


MUSIC: Spoon is coming to Spokane's Knitting Factory on Aug. 28.

NEWS: The cost for repairing Spokane County roads due to flooding is estimated at $9 million.


Help find this man
A man picked up a woman on Division after her car ran out of gas, then sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Deputies are asking for the public's help in finding the man, who is white, in his 40s with shoulder-length brown hair. (KXLY)

Body found in river
Emergency crews using a helicopter and divers pulled a body from the Spokane River near Canada Island yesterday, according to Spokane Police. Police are investigating the death. (Spokesman-Review)

Speaking of the river...
The Spokane River is rising, and it's getting dangerously close to flooding some Peaceful Valley homes by the shore. (Spokesman-Review)

Might as well not fly then
If you're flying to the U.S. from one of these 10 airports in the Middle East or Africa, you can't bring most types of electronic devices with you onto the plane, according to a new ban by the Trump administration.

Grilling Neil Gorsuch

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is in his second day of confirmation hearings. Today, he praised Merrick Garland, the judge who was Obama's nominee, but wouldn't say if Garland had been treated fairly or not.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Spoon set to return to the Knitting Factory in August

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 4:57 PM


Spoon, the acclaimed Austin-based rock band fronted by songwriter Britt Daniel, is scheduled to return to the Knitting Factory stage on Aug. 28.

The band last performed at the Knit in 2015, touring behind its previous album They Want My Soul. Spoon's ninth studio LP, Hot Thoughts, was just released last week, and their 2017 tour kicks off on Wednesday.

Tickets for the Spokane show go on sale Friday, March 24, at 10 am through TicketWeb, and they start at $28.50.
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Flooding has drained Spokane County's budget for road repairs

Cost for repairs estimated at $9 million

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 3:06 PM

This was a road, once - COURTESY OF SPOKANE COUNTY
  • Courtesy of Spokane County
  • This was a road, once

As dozens of Spokane County roads are flooded due to rapid snow melt, the long-term damage will cause at least $9 million in needed repairs, says Public Works Spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter.

And that number is likely to keep rising, she says. Just a month ago, the county estimated it would cost $1 million to repair flood-damaged roads.

"It's going to require a lot of money," Wheatley-Billeter says.

Hopefully, she says, not all of that money will come from the county budget. The county will apply for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and whatever FEMA gives the county will help with road maintenance this year.

But Wheatley-Billeter says Spokane County is already $2 million over the maintenance budget for the entire year — and it's only March.

"We have a pot of money, and the more you can spend earlier in the year means the less [you can spend] later in the year," she says.

Right now, there are two dozen roads closed due to washouts in Spokane County, and that doesn't include roads closed in incorporated areas (click here for a map of road closures in the county). A few of those roads have been under water for more than a month. The longer they are, the more costly it gets.

Continue reading »

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Supreme Court nominee's hearings begin, Trump's (non) wiretaps and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch
  • Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch


The Spokane Transit Authority CEO sees some potential pain in President Trump's proposed budget, particularly for the planned Central City Line.

InHealth: Laughing gas for labor pain? It's a thing.

What's Up: Meat Puppets, STRFKR and Lilac City Fairy Tales are among the many worthy things going on in the Inland Northwest this week.


Huddle up, or maybe not
A high school football coach from Ferris High School is under investigation for allegations he exposed himself to some players last summer. (KXLY)

Rising waters
Officials throughout the Inland Northwest are warning drivers to watch for flooding, including in Kootenai County. (KREM)

Well, duh
FBI Director James Comey told Congress this morning that there is no evidence of any wiretapping at Trump Tower, as the president has contended while offering no proof.

Cheers, mates
England is officially kicking off its Brexit process next week, BBC reports.

Supreme hearing
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings kick off today, and it won't be pretty. (CNN)
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

THIS WEEK: Meat Puppets, STRFKR, Lilac City Fairy Tales and more

Posted By on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Strfkr headlines the Knitting Factory on Thursday.
  • Strfkr headlines the Knitting Factory on Thursday.

As we officially hit spring, there's an amazing array of music and activities going down in the Inland Northwest. You can check out our staff picks and event listings yourself, or just peruse some highlights of the week ahead below:

Monday, March 20

LIVE BANDS | The Meat Puppets are one of my favorite bands of all time, a serious Top 5 situation, and I won't even pretend otherwise. They're tough to label, as they dabble in everything from cowpunk to classic-rock riffs to psychedelic freakouts. All I can say is, they're the best way to spend a Monday night that I can think of. They headline the Bartlett, and here's a little sample of their brief dalliance with the radio airwaves back in the early '90s:

Tuesday, March 21

LIVE BANDS | An epic night at The Observatory is in store Tuesday, headlined by the kickass Atlanta crew The Coathangers, a band who can veer from comically satirical to politically pissed in a second, and keep it awesome all the while. They're joined by Birth Defects, Peru Rush and Fun Ladies for what is sure to be a memorable gig. Here's a taste of Coathangers:

Wednesday, March 22

THEATER | Only the most cynical of people can deny the appeal of ABBA, or the musical inspired by and featured a ton of their tunes, Mamma Mia!, which opens a short run in Spokane tonight at the INB.

Continue reading »

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Another No. 1 to cheer for; plus, prescribing "laughing gas" for labor pain

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:17 PM

University of Washington Medical School - UW PHOTO
  • UW photo
  • University of Washington Medical School

Top of the Class

It's a good week to see how Spokane measures up. For the 19th year in a row the Gonzaga men's basketball team is fighting its way through the NCAA tournament. After eking out a win on Thursday, they'll defend their No. 1 seed again on Saturday.

But GU basketball isn't the only group in Spokane with a national No. 1 ranking — and a long record at the top. Earlier this week, the University of Washington School of Medicine and Gonzaga University were cited in U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools for excellence in medical education. For the 23rd time in 24 years, the UW school, which recently joined forces with GU, is considered the No. 1 option in the U.S. for education in primary care. Family medicine and rural medicine training have been at the top of the heap — rated No. 1 — for 26 years in a row. Darryl Potyk, M.D., Chief for Medical Education at the UW School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership noted, “This honor speaks to the quality, expertise and commitment of our talented faculty, staff and students in Spokane, and our talented clinical partners throughout the state. And without decades of support from our state legislators we would not have a medical education program, much less one that is preeminent in the U.S.”

Read more
about Potyk's unique program to create thoughtful, caring physicians.

Rehab Recognized
Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest has been ranked among the top 10 percent of rehab hospitals in the U.S. The rehab hospital in Post Falls provides services to patients who have experienced strokes, brain or spinal cord injuries, or amputations, as well patients with diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's. Each year the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation critiques facilities based on whether care they provide is "patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely." This is the third year the Post Falls hospital as been rated in the top 10 percent of more than 780 facilities that were assessed.

Help for the Laboring
Women giving birth in Spokane are now allowed to use nitrous oxide — the same stuff dentists use to help you calm down and endure work on your teeth — to ease the discomfort of labor. Self-administered "laughing gas" does not completely block pain, but rather offers some relief of pain, as well as a calming effect. Though nitrous oxide is used by up to 60 percent of laboring women in the UW and Europe, Deaconess Hospital recently became the first in the Spokane area to offer nitrous oxide to laboring women.
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STA CEO wasn't worried about Trump slashing transit — but now the Central City Line is in peril

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 2:58 PM

"Hang on a minute, lads..." - THE ITALIAN JOB
  • The Italian Job
  • "Hang on a minute, lads..."

In the aftermath of the election, with Spokane voters finally approving the high-frequency electric "Central City" bus line, the Inlander asked Spokane Transit Authority CEO E. Susan
Meyer about the impact of newly elected President Donald Trump.

Since STA was anticipating the vast bulk of the Central City Line construction funding to come from the federal government's Small Starts grant, was there a possibility that the new administration could put the electric bus route in jeopardy?

"No! We don't think so. The Small Start and New Starts grants have been in place for, like, 35 to 50 years," Meyer said. "It's hard to predict. Let me say this: No new administration has ever changed the funding for Small Starts and New Start projects that have been approved."

In our conversation back in November, I noted that Trump has floated a big infrastructure package, but asked if there was a concern that he saw infrastructure as mostly about roads and bridges, not buses. Meyer wasn't worried.

"I cannot peg him that way," Meyer says. "He's a big city man. He's an urban experience guy. He knows how important transit is. If he were maybe of another ilk or from a smaller area — we'll just have to wait and see."

Now, we've waited and we've seen: Trump's budget proposal would completely eliminate both the Small Starts and the New Starts grant programs.

So if it passes — and that's a big if — the proposed Central City Line funding plan would suddenly have a gaping hole. "If $54 million dollars are not coming from the federal government, the board will have to decide if there are other options for funding the project," Meyer says.

But that potential conversation is a long way off. And in the meantime, STA is proceeding with the Central City Line grant process with the hopes that the grants program will be saved.

"There is nothing to suggest to us we should do anything but stay the course," Meyer says.

Meyer says she'll communicate with the local congressional delegation in order to stress the importance of these programs.

"[We have a] tremendous amount of community support," Meyer says. "Voters and the public have been counting on this program."

Meyer still strikes a hopeful note that Congress will maintain funding for the grant programs. She points to how Congress overwhelmingly passed the FAST Act in 2015, which reauthorized funding for transit and other transportation projects.

"The amounts of New Starts and Small Starts [grants] have gone up and down over the years," Meyer says. "[But] the programs have never been zeroed out."

Meyer says that it's not just transit hit by eliminations in the Department of Transporation's budget. The budget would also kill the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. Two of those grants have gone to help fund construction of the North Spokane Corridor.

If the president's budget passes, Meyer says that grant agreements that had already been signed would continue to be funded by the federal government. But the rest would not. While it may take a while for the next budget to get passed by Congress, Meyer says it isn't feasible that STA could get their grant in under the wire before the axe falls. STA's hope was to have funding for constructing the Central City Line in the Trump's 2019 budget.

Asked if she was surprised with Trump's budget slashing transit grants, Meyer said yes and no.

"If one has listened to the president over time, he has talked about reducing the size of government. [But] the surprising thing is that he has committed to a $1 trillion infrastructure package," Meyer says. "Lots of infrastructure projects would not be funded if [his cuts go] forward. There is a contradiction. ... [The Small Starts program] is a huge infrastructure program. Eliminating that doesn't make sense."
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