Spokane Revival

Spokane Revival

Why Tech N9ne continues to roll through the Lilac City on the regular
No one ever expected much out of Tech N9ne. From his hardscrabble upbringing in Kansas City, where everyone he knew is now dead or in jail, Tech N9ne (aka Aaron Dontez Yates) has clawed his way to hip-hop stardom — show by show, record by record.

Bad Role Model

2 Chainz advocates for legal weed and for people to use their brains
After citing various cases of stoned parents neglecting or abusing their children, cable talk-show dimwit Nancy Grace asked rapper 2 Chainz why he believed that weed should be legalized in this country. "Everybody is not doing this.

Audio Devotion

Why it's OK to like bad music
On the long and mostly brown drive from Spokane to Seattle or Spokane to Portland, there are essentially three kinds of stations that come in over the FM airwaves: Pop country, Top 40 and contemporary Christian. On solo trips to visit friends and family in these big, shiny cities, I've tuned into them all, trying to get a grasp on why people are drawn to this music.

Funny Girl

The times and tweets of Pacific Northwest-bred songstress Neko Case
Her vocals run as clear as glacier water and her lyrics are as transparent as a tell-all memoir, but when Neko Case isn't singing beautifully about depressive scenarios and an often unhappy childhood, she's absolutely hilarious. Not only in her off-the-cuff onstage banter with her longtime band members, but also via her Twitter account, which offers a peek into her in-the-moment lifestyle (as she only does interviews every couple of tours or so).

Pay to Play

The power struggle between three music-licensing agencies, local venues and musicians trying to get paid
Looking for evidence, an undercover operative slips unnoticed into a dim karaoke bar tucked into a strip mall. Eventually hearing enough, the uninvited visitor vanishes into the late summer evening.

Space to Spare

Exploring the darkness is always in season for Disappears
Spring is not the optimal time to listen to Irreal, the new album from Chicago post-punk heroes Disappears. Spring is a time of rebirth, when flowers bloom under the brightening sun and humans smile more.

Dream Come True

After taking his jazz tunes all over the world, Ryan Keberle returns home to Spokane
He picks up his trombone and suddenly nothing else matters. Not the stresses of living in New York City, or an upcoming concert with a famous musician or a full day of teaching.

Fire From the Depths

It took Soblivios two years to finish an album; now they're ready to ravage the world with it
The band thinks of him as their very own Animal. Like the famed Muppet, Soblivios drummer Joel Prophet is quick to go off on mumbled, rambling tangents.

Still Doin' Just Fine

Boyz II Men's harmony-filled hits keep the trio on tour
Anyone dealing with the fallout of One Direction's Zayn Malik suddenly leaving the group last week might take some solace in the long-running success of another "boy band" that lost a member at the height of its powers. Five albums into a career that took Boyz II Men from high school choir to massive global popularity on the strength of soulful vocal harmonies and a long string of R&B hits, the tight-knit quartet became a trio when bass singer Michael McCary quit.

Magic in Six Strings

The story of Sir Richard Bishop, an old guitar and Tangier Sessions
Veteran experimental guitarist Sir Richard Bishop's recent shows are so focused on one very old guitar and the sounds it makes, it's almost like Bishop's on a traveling museum exhibit rather than a concert tour. "People do like the story of the guitar and the mystery behind it ... just as much as they might like the music," Bishop says in a telephone interview from his home in Portland.

Clear Skies Ahead

Joe Pug slayed some demons making his new album and his music is better for it
Joe Pug was ready to quit, or perhaps have a nervous breakdown. The record-tour grind through the young songwriter's first two albums made him a rising star on the folk-rock scene by the end of 2013, but also left him exhausted after four years and more than 400 shows.

Ride It Out

Rough Congress hasn't played a show in two years, but that doesn't mean they broke up
Getting the members of soul-funk quintet Rough Congress in the same room is not for the faint of heart. Work schedules are all over the board, each is consumed with various musical projects and only three members still live in Spokane.

Roadworn and Weary

Seattle's Supersuckers have plenty of fresh heartache to fuel a new country album
For 27 years, the Supersuckers and leader Eddie Spaghetti have toured virtually nonstop. And while that made the Seattle crew revered among fans for consistently great rock shows and occasional forays into sleazy barroom country, it also meant Spaghetti's wife JD and his three kids at home were only seeing him a couple of days a month, at best.

Road Goes On Forever

Widespread Panic's never-ending tour stops in Spokane for the first time since 1999
It's hard to imagine a band more capable of surfing the waves of change in the music business than Widespread Panic. That effortless professional ingenuity didn't necessarily come to the Georgia-based crew through, say, prescience about the rise of digital delivery systems or adherence to shifting musical trends.

Youth Revisited

To overcome a quarter-life crisis, DRGN KING's Dominic Angelella had to think like a teen
Psychedelic surf-rock band DRGN KING is based in Philadelphia, but singer/guitarist/monosynth player Dominic Angelella had to channel his teenage mentality in his hometown of Baltimore for the quartet's latest album. After years of playing with various groups, Angelella spent his mid-20s disillusioned by music.

New Moves

The Dodos push themselves to greater heights through dance, ever-changing rhythms and getting back to basics
He isn't a dancer. Not even with a few drinks warming his belly would singer-guitarist Meric Long feel the urge to bust a move in front of people.

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  • Re: Audio Devotion

    • I am truly sorry that you can't enjoy the trip. Musically, I plan my trip…

    • on April 16, 2015
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