Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: Parker Millsap's stirring, rootsy tunes thrill in Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Parker Millsap at The Bartlett - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Parker Millsap at The Bartlett

There's a feeling that comes with seeing a young artist on the rise exceed expectations on stage, a building excitement song by song that what you're witnessing is not just as good as advertised, but on the verge of something huge.

That was certainly the case for me watching Parker Millsap on stage at the Bartlett Monday, playing to a near-sold-out room. I'd already heard and fell in love with his two most-recent albums, his 2014 self-titled release and the new The Very Last Day. But seeing Millsap and his three backing musicians deliver live, ripping through 19 songs ranging from foot-stomping rave-ups to delicate ballads, was an entirely different experience than popping on some headphones. The 23-year-old is a charismatic frontman, a smiling bandleader easy with his between-song banter and in trading barbs with his fellow musicians. 

More importantly, every song was an absolute killer performance, each building on the previous to the point that my interior monologue went from "this guy's going to be huge" to "Holy shit he's good!" to "In five years I'm probably going to be driving long distances to see this guy." Millsap's blend of rock, country, blues and folk hits me right in my roots-loving sweet spot.

The set leaned heavily on The Very Last Day, as well it should; Millsap's latest earned him a nomination for Album of the Year from the Americana Music Association, alongside established elders Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton.

The show-opening "Pining" is a poppy love song and set the joyful tone early. "Heaven Sent," an epic ballad about a young Christian man and his father coming to grips with his homosexuality, was excellent, as was "Morning Blues," on which Millsap played electric guitar and strapped on a harmonica. 

"This is a song about the nuclear annihilation of everyone and everything, and I hope you enjoy it," Millsap said by way of introducing the title track to The Very Last Day, a nice indication of his sense of humor. He introduced "You Gotta Move" by saying with a big grin and perfect comic timing,"this is an old blues song about the Rapture. Or something." 

Elsewhere, songs from his self-titled album made clear there were some fans in the audience who knew his work well; both "Old Time Religion" and "Truck Stop Gospel" had folks in the crowd singing along. He covered "Comin' Undone," a song he wrote with Sarah Jarosz for her latest album, as well as old blues tune "The Hesitation Blues," working up a sweat early in the show on that one. 

Millsap's band was excellent, too; standup bassist Michael Rose, drummer Paddy Ryan and fiddler Daniel Foulks (introduced by Millsap as "the only Eagles fan in the band," despite wearing an Iggy and the Stooges T-shirt) all fleshed out the songs more than capably, giving Millsap the ability to bounce between guitars. 

When Millsap strapped on an electric for the first time for a brand-new song, "Other Arrangements," it offered a glimpse into an exciting future for his music. The tune was a shambling blues-rock number, delivered loud and kind of sloppy. It was, in a word, awesome. 

But you can say that for Millsap's whole show. 
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Spokane oil and coal train initiative, Michelle Obama's speech & morning news

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 9:16 AM



  • Spokane's interim ombudsman Bart Logue wants more access to police body cam footage. No way, say Spokane police. 
  • According to University of Idaho researchers, we could cut down on deer-auto collisions by increasing the cougar population. 
  • The new Spokane city attorney had some complaints earlier this year about council president Ben Stuckart spreading misinformation on the Straub investigation.
  • Brit-pop rockers The 1975 will stop in Spokane Oct. 22.
  • Spokane City Council has sent a ballot initiative to voters this November that would impose a $261 fine for each rail car of crude oil and uncovered coal passing through the city. (Spokesman-Review)
  • Half a dozen Washington State University football players are being investigated for their involvement in a fight that seriously injured three WSU students at a party. (KREM)
  • Since Seattle set its path to a $15 wage law, job growth has been triple the national average. But much of that growth has nothing to do with higher wages, according to a University of Washington report. (Seattle Times)
  • The Democratic National Convention started yesterday with boos and jeers for Hillary Clinton, following an email leak revealing how party officials undermined Sanders during his campaign. (New York Times) 
  • Comedian Sarah Silverman, a Bernie supporter, called the Bernie or Bust people "ridiculous." (CBS)
  • Michelle Obama gave perhaps the most impactful speech of the day in support of Clinton, while taking some subtle jabs at Donald Trump. She told the crowd she wants a president who will teach children that "everyone in this country matters," and that Obama was "here tonight because I know that this is the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be, and that's why in this election, I'm with her." 

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Monday, July 25, 2016

City attorney pick once lamented that Stuckart had spread misinformation about Straub investigation

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Laura McAloon, the mayor's appointment for city attorney, says the frustration she experienced as part of a city committee inspired her desire to improve council-city communication. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WORKLAND & WITHERSPOON
  • Photo courtesy of Workland & Witherspoon
  • Laura McAloon, the mayor's appointment for city attorney, says the frustration she experienced as part of a city committee inspired her desire to improve council-city communication.

Last week, Spokane Mayor David Condon announced his pick for city attorney: Workland & Witherspoon attorney Laura McAloon. Beyond having represented the city in a variety of legal matters — including the eminent domain of a construction materials business to make way for MLK Jr. Way — McAloon's been serving as one of the mayor's two representatives on the joint committee overseeing the independent investigation into matters concerning former Police Chief Frank Straub. 

And it was in that role back in February that her frustration with City Council President Ben Stuckart came to a head. 

In a series of emails, McAloon expressed serious disappointment and frustration with Stuckart. 

"My feeling is that this joint team is being manipulated for political purposes," McAloon wrote. She conveyed that Stuckart was giving "misinformation" and "inaccurate" statements to the press. She worried about having her "reputation publicly smeared" and the committee "devolving into a political battle."

Today, she says she and Stuckart have moved past the issue. But she also says the miscommunication she witnessed between the mayor and the city council weighed on her decision to take the city attorney job.

"It definitely informed my decision, knowing that my biggest challenge was going to help encourage communication," McAloon says. "I think a lot of the discord is the result of a lack of communication."

The atmosphere in February was thick with uncertainty: Straub had just filed a lawsuit against the city, and multiple questions regarding the investigation were in the air: What did the lawsuit mean for the investigation? How should the committee respond to the unwillingness of city attorneys to be interviewed for the investigation? Can city council members vote to speak about matters which occurred during a confidential executive session? 

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Spokane Brewers Festival looking for folks willing to trade time for beer and gear

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:46 PM


One aspect of Spokane living that I was totally unaware of before moving to the Lilac City was the booming beer culture. 

Little did I suspect that so many breweries dotted our fair city and the surrounding areas, nor that there seems to be a beer festival of one sort or another virtually every weekend. If it's not a Fresh Hops festival, it's an all-cans festival. Clearly we can't get enough beer around here. 

Enter the brand-spanking-new Spokane Brewers Festival to the lineup. It will have its inaugural celebration of all things frosty and delicious Friday, Aug. 12 and Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Spokane Arena. Besides a bevy of beverages available for the cost of a $7 sampling mug and $1 per beer token, there will be live tunes from local bands tapped by The Inlander and the All-ages River City Root Beer Garden, and there's no admission charged just to check it out. 

Throwing such a to-do requires some serious manpower, and the organizers are looking for volunteers willing to trade some time working for a t-shirt, souvenir mug and 15 drink tokens. The basic requirements: 
• be at least 21 years old
• be able to stand or walk from 3-5 hours at a time
• be able to lift 25 pounds. 

Many volunteers will be pulling taps, so you could end up chatting with friends old and new for a couple hours, and at the end you have more drink tokens than you'll know what to do with — oh, who am I kidding, you'll be drinking lots of beer! Just do so responsibly, mmmkay?

The earlier you sign up, the better shift you'll get, so get to it right here
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The 1975 books Spokane show for October

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 1:42 PM

The 1975 play Spokane on Saturday, Oct. 22
  • The 1975 play Spokane on Saturday, Oct. 22

One of the biggest music stories of the year has been the success of Brit pop-rockers The 1975 and their sophomore album, boasting one of the more lengthy and ridiculous titles in recent memory. 

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it came out in February and hit the top of the album-sales charts in both the UK and United States, and has made several "best of 2016 so far" lists including those from Rolling Stone, Spin and NPR.

Now The 1975 are on the road for a tour that will stop in Spokane on Oct. 22 — a Saturday night, party people!

The show is at the Knitting Factory, and tickets go on sale Friday at 10 am by calling 866-468-7623, or visiting either Ticketweb.com or the Knitting Factory website. Tickets are $36 in advance, $40 day of show — but I'd imagine they'll will sell out in advance. There will be a presale on Wednesday, so you might want to follow the Knitting Factory's Facebook page to catch the details on that. 

Here's a little sample of The 1975: 

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New U of Idaho study: Increasing U.S. cougar population would decrease deer-auto collisions

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Growing up in the country, about 25 miles outside of Spokane city limits, drives home from "town" after dark have never ceased to haunt me.

Whichever of us three kids were sitting in the front seat of our family's trusty Subaru wagon was tasked with being extra eyes on the road for our mom, scanning the darkened shoulders for the telltale glowing orbs or the flash of a shadow in the brush. We never hit a deer in all those years commuting on the rural highways from home and back, but there were many close calls. 

Deer are estimated to be the cause of 1.2 million vehicle collisions in the U.S. each year. These careless and/or terrified creatures are thus responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people, for causing 29,000 injuries and more than $1.66 billion in vehicle damage, medical bills and road cleanup. Looking at these numbers, you're more likely to be killed or injured by a deer than any other animal species native to North America. 

If only my childhood self, who also spent hours upon hours playing Little House on the Prairie in the pine woods of our 20-acre property, knew that deer — and not cougars — were the higher threat. For fear of the latter long-tailed apex predators, I would practice holding my full-skirted, homemade pioneer dress out with my arms like calico-printed wings — that's how you'd scare away a cougar, after all, by looking big and scary so it wouldn't eat you.

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Spokane police balk at ombudsman's request for office-wide access to body-camera footage

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Interim police ombudsman Bart Logue
  • Interim police ombudsman Bart Logue

In April, Spokane's interim ombudsman Bart Logue requested that his entire office be given access to police body camera footage. 

Given the backlog of cases, in addition to those currently under investigation, it would speed things up if Luvimae Omana, the ombudsman's assistant, could assist Logue in reviewing the pertinent footage. 

Spokane police said no way.

In a letter to Asst. Chief Craig Meidl, president of the Spokane Police Guild, Sgt. John Griffin argued that expanding access constituted a change in officer working conditions, which must be bargained.

Lt. Steve Braun, who works in Internal Affairs, also responded after consulting with Griffin and the department's lawyer: "It is my opinion that we have satisfied the ordinance by granting you access to Evidence.com," he wrote in an email to Logue. "I view the access to body camera videos in Evidence.com to be highly sensitive in nature and should be afforded more protection than written reports. Only two of our records specialists (both supervisors) have access to Evidence.com."

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Another Florida nightclub shooting, Dems' drama and The Kid in the Hall

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 9:15 AM


NEWS: Washington voters will have the chance to vote on an initiative this November that would raise the state's minimum wage to $13.50 (over four years) and require paid time off for illnesses. 
FILM: The Garland Theater is showing Coen Brothers classic Raising Arizona this Wednesday. 
DRINKS: The Steam Plant is hosting a second rooftop happy hour


• Election 2016:
1. Emails show Democratic National Convention officials favored Hillary Clinton and colluded to undermine Bernie Sanders' campaign, according to nearly 20,000 hacked emails released on WikiLeaks. Throughout the primaries, Sanders' campaign accused the DNC of treating him unfairly.

2. After the emails were released, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (R-Fl) said she would step down.

3. Hillary Clinton picked Sen. Tim Kaine as a running mate.

Mysterious plane crash in the Colville National Forest from 1955 solved. (Spokesman-Review)

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

THIS WEEK: Parker Millsap, KuroNekoCon, Dan Cummins, Raising Arizona & more

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Inland Northwest native Dan Cummins performs at the Spokane Comedy Club this week.
  • Inland Northwest native Dan Cummins performs at the Spokane Comedy Club this week.

The last week of July — what happened? How did we get here so quickly? Yeesh. All the more reason to make sure you take full advantage of summer fun while you still can. Start by perusing our event listings and Staff Picks. 

Here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, July 25

LIVE BANDS | The Bartlett hosts one of the country's best young roots-music singer/songwriters in Parker Millsap. He was recently nominated for Album of the Year at the Americana Music Awards, up against the likes of Lucinda Williams, Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell. Big stuff. Here's our interview with Millsap, and here's a sample: 

Tuesday, July 26

LIVE BANDS | It's another edition of Northwest of Nashville at The Bartlett, the hootenanny hosted by local fiddler/singer Jenny Anne Mannan and this time including The Holy Broke, Big Red Barn and Misty Mountain Poney Club. 

FILM | The Garland hosts a screening of one of the Coen brothers' all-time classics (in my book, at least) for its Summer Camp series. Yes, it's Raising Arizona! Here's a look in case you somehow haven't seen this comedy gem: 

Wednesday, July 27

VISUAL ARTS | It's time for another Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap at Boots, where you can create your own trading cards to swap with other artists, or just check out the killer, diminutive works, starting at 5:30 pm. 

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Initiative that would raise minimum wage, require sick leave makes ballot

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 4:32 PM

An initiative that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 over the next four years while giving Washington workers paid time off to deal with illness has qualified for the November ballot.

  • Caleb Walsh illustration

On Friday, the Washington Secretary of State’s office announced that its Elections Division had completed its random sample of the 345,907 signatures turned in for Initiative 1433  and found “that the measure easily exceeded the bare minimum of 246,372 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.”

“This issue crosses geographical and political divides,” said Carlo Caldirola-Davis, campaign manager for Yes on 1433, in a prepared statement. “When voters hear about Yes on 1433, they know it's good for our workers, our families and our economy.”

The measure, if passed, would allow workers to accrue paid time off at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employers would be required to start offering the benefit to employees 90 days after they start work. The time off can be used to address domestic violence, illness and injury. It can be used for mental and preventative health reasons, as well as to care for a family member.

The other provision of the initiative will phase in an increase of the state’s minimum wage from its current $9.47 an hour (already one of the highest in the nation) to $13.50 by 2020. After that, an annual cost-of-living adjustment will kick in.

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