Monday, March 19, 2018

Spokane Symphony announces 73rd season, the final for music director Eckart Preu

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 4:54 PM

Spokane Symphony musical director and Conductor Eckart Preu
  • Spokane Symphony musical director and Conductor Eckart Preu

The concert schedule for the Spokane Symphony's 73rd season — the final for music director Eckart Preu — was announced today.

The 2018-'19 season includes 10 classics concerts and six pop concerts, as well as several special events. Preu is scheduled to conduct five of the classics concerts (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 10). Each of the five finalists to take his place will conduct the others.

The finalists are Arthur Arnold, Rei Hotoda, James Lowe, Morihiko Nakahara and Jayce Ogren.

Concert tickets go on sale Aug. 17 to the general public, but subscribers to the Spokane Symphony packages can purchase them now.

The Classics
1. The Bohemian Spirit, Sept. 8 and 9, featuring Bedrich Smetana's Ma Vlast, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 (performed by Washington state native Charlie Albright) and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 7.

2. The Red Violin, Oct. 6 and 7, featuring Tan Dun's Symphonic Poem of 3 Notes, John Corigliano's "Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra" and Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

Elizabeth Pitcairn, owner of the 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius violin, or the Red Violin, will be guest performing.

3. The Heroic, Oct. 20 and 21, featuring Lilian Elkingto's Out of the Mist, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica."

Pianist Alon Goldstein is the guest soloist.

4. Sibelius and Brahms, Nov. 3 and 4 featuring Jean Sibelius' Finlandia, Johannes Brahms' Opus 25 and Sibelius' Symphony No. 3.

5. Dvorak and Rachmaninoff, Jan. 19 and 20, featuring Antonin Dvorak's Violin Concerto (performed by Spokane Symphony Concertmaster Mateusz Wolski), Miguel del Aguila's Chautauquan Summer and Sergei Rachmanioff's "The Bells."

6. Passion's Pursuit, Feb. 16 and 17, featuring Zhou Tian's Rise, Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhaspody No. 2 and Concerto No. 2 in A Major and Brahms Symphony No. 4.

7. Korngold and Shostakovich, March 9 and 10, featuring Aaron Jay Kernis' Musica Celestis, Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8.

8. French Mystique, March 23 and 24, featuring Francis Poulenc's Les Biches, suit for orchestra, Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 and Bela Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.

9. Russian Virtuosity, April 13 and 14, featuring Samuel Barber's Second Essay, Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony Concerto and Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Cellist and guest soloist István Várdai will play Prokofiev's Symphony Concerto, which was at one time considered "unplayable," according to a news release from the Spokane Symphony.

10. Eckart's Farewell, May 4 and 5, featuring Joseph Boulogne's Overture to L'amant anonyme, Nebojša Jovan Živković's Concerto of the Mad Queen and Richard Strauss' Apline Symphony.

The Pops concerts feature performances by ABBA The Concert, Michael Cavanaugh in "The Music of Billy Joel," and Pink Martini, with backing from the Spokane Symphony.

Special concerts this season include Haunted Hallows: The Music of Harry Potter, The Nutcracker Ballet and Beethoven's Ninth on New Year's Eve.

And the Fox Family Series is back for a second year with Recycled Percussion (featuring instruments made from almost anything), Crique Zuma Zuma (featuring aerial acts, Egyptian limbo dances South African gumboot dances and more) and That Physics Show.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

CONCERT REVIEW: Steep Canyon Rangers prove simpatico with Spokane Symphony

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 12:58 PM

The Steep Canyon Rangers performed with the Spokane Symphony Saturday night.
  • The Steep Canyon Rangers performed with the Spokane Symphony Saturday night.

A collaboration between a symphony orchestra and musicians from more pop-oriented genres isn't necessarily a slam dunk every time.

Sometimes the symphony dominates and the featured performer shrinks in the music. Other times the symphonic versions of pop tunes leave you wanting more of the original feel, and less of the lush grandeur that comes with a full orchestra.

The Steep Canyon Rangers' appearance Saturday with the Spokane Symphony hit the sweet spot pretty well. You can attribute that to a couple of things: The band has worked seriously on creating symphonic arrangements for their songs for a few years now, and their songs are already pretty pliable things — a blend of bluegrass, country, blues and folk that naturally lend themselves to expansion and experimentation.

Saturday night, the Rangers' main songwriter and banjo player Graham Sharp told the audience before the show even began that if they were so inspired to hoot and holler, they shouldn't let the formal confines of the Fox Theater or the presence of the symphony deter them. The band wanted to hold on to a little of their hootenanny roots, and they did just that with a set list that leaned heavily on their new album, Out in the Open.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers cancel upcoming Spokane Arena concert

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 1:01 PM


The Spokane Arena announced this morning that the co-headlining Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers concert, originally scheduled for June 7, has been canceled. No word yet on whether the show will be rescheduled.

Although the press release cites "unforeseen circumstances" as the reason for cancelation, both bands' official tour schedules now list them as playing Missoula's Ogren Park baseball stadium on that same June 7 date.

If you've already purchased tickets, they will be automatically refunded; contact TicketsWest at 325-SEAT if you have further questions.
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Thursday, March 1, 2018

CONCERT REVIEW: Travelin' McCourys delivered a serious bluegrass blast at The Bartlett

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 10:40 AM

The Travelin' McCourys brought some magic to The Bartlett Wednesday night. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • The Travelin' McCourys brought some magic to The Bartlett Wednesday night.

The other day, roots-rock guy Jason Isbell tweeted: "The older I get, the more I notice the similarities between bluegrass and metal."

While he might have been joking — Isbell is often one of the funniest musicians on Twitter — he's also correct, as evidenced by the Travelin' McCourys visit for two shows at The Bartlett Wednesday night.

Like metal, bluegrass crowds tend to react most favorably to the lightning-fast solos on stage. No one watching Ronnie McCoury tear into his mandolin solos Wednesday — fingers flying across the frets while notes poured into the air at a rate any thrash-metalhead would envy — could be anything less than dumbstruck. The rest of the band was just as proficient. Much of the audience packing the early show might have been seated, but the fast passages had the standing folks moving frantically in the back of the room.

Like metal, bluegrass musicians carry a reverence for the past in their chosen musical oeuvre that borders on obsession. Yes, the Travelin' McCourys push the boundaries of bluegrass in their more progressive moments, throwing in Grateful Dead, Waylon Jennings and Passenger covers. But the mini set of Bill Monroe tunes during the 6 pm show was hard to top, as McCoury, his banjo-playing brother Robbie, guitarist Cody Kilby, fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram paid tribute to a towering figure of bluegrass with hot takes on "The Bluegrass Breakdown," "Body and Soul," "The Kentucky Waltz," "Big Mon" and "On and On."

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Punch Brothers hit The Bing Aug. 15

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 10:02 AM

The Punch Brothers
  • The Punch Brothers

As comfortable tackling traditional bluegrass or classical tunes as they are an expansive Radiohead cover, acoustic quintet the Punch Brothers are simply one of the most entertaining live bands working today.

The instrumental prowess of mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher is hard to match, regardless of genre, and it allows the band to head into virtually any musical direction they desire.

It's a trip always worth taking with the band, and you can do that when the headline The Bing Crosby Theater on Wednesday, Aug. 15. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at 10 am, and cost either $33.50 or $59.50. Tickets are available via the Knitting Factory homepage or Madison Cunningham opens the show.

The band's latest album was 2015's The Phosphorescent Blues, and it's a brilliant collection full of humor and ace musicianship, as one would expect. More recently, Thile took over hosting Live From Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion), Pikelny released a solo album, Witcher did producing work and Kowart toured with the Dave Rawlings Machine.

Here's a taste of The Punch Brothers:

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Metallica set to rock the Spokane Arena Dec. 12

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 10:47 AM


Hard rock legends Metallica are set to bang some heads at the Spokane Arena on Dec. 2 as part of the platinum-selling band's WorldWired Tour. It will be the band's first Spokane show since 2004, having frequently popped up on the Arena's annual "bucket list" survey of local music fans.

Tickets will be available in two price brackets — $65 and $135 — and each purchase comes with a digital or physical copy of the band's 2016 album Self-Destruct. Comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer will open the show.

You can buy tickets starting at 10 am on Fri, March 2, through TicketsWest or the Arena's box office. Presale tickets will be available as of tomorrow. See details here.
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Anthrax shows age can't slow these thrash pioneers

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM

Anthrax's Joey Belladonna (left) and Scott Ian. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Anthrax's Joey Belladonna (left) and Scott Ian.

At one point during Anthrax's headlining set Saturday at the Knitting Factory, I found myself marveling at how these dudes — mostly in their 50s — were able to deliver such a pummeling, physical show.

They then promptly ended the gig after about 70 minutes and 11 songs, and you'll hear no complaints from me considering those 70 minutes were filled with some of the favorite songs of my childhood, and some new tunes that hold up easily to the thrash-metal pioneers' older material.

Hitting the stage after sets by Killswitch Engage and Havok, Anthrax promptly had the floor erupting in a swirl of mosh-pit insanity, bodies flying toward the security guards lining the front of the stage as the band tore into "Among the Living" and "Caught in a Mosh."

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Bartlett's BASE songwriting workshop provides aspiring musicians advice, guidance

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 4:11 PM

Natalie Schepman of the folk trio Joseph will host the Bartlett's BASE Songwriter Workshop on Thursday.
  • Natalie Schepman of the folk trio Joseph will host the Bartlett's BASE Songwriter Workshop on Thursday.

Ever thought about writing your own music, but didn't have any idea where to start?

For the last few weeks, the Bartlett has been hosting the BASE songwriting workshop, a short series that's bringing in established musicians to explain inspiration and craft to a small group of enrolled students. Those courses are then followed by intimate, acoustic concerts that are open to the public.

Think of it as a TED Talk by way of MTV Unplugged.

"Our guest artists have been coming in and sharing during the class portion of things," says musician Scott Ingersoll, who got the series off the ground. "We do an interview back and forth, talking about how they got started ... then they break down one or two of their songs. The evening portion is a behind-the-scenes storyteller showcase."

"They’re able to get more into the nitty gritty of the process than at a regular show."

Ingersoll, who performs around town as Scott Ryan, says he first tried out this concept a few summers ago, and it generated some interest. But having since been awarded a grant from Spokane Arts, he opened enrollment earlier this year, and the three classes quickly reached capacity. Ingersoll says about 35 participants signed up for all three workshops, and they range from high school students to adults.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Punk legends the Descendents announce Spokane show for October

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:41 AM

Punk legends The Descendents are coming to Spokane for  an October 4 show.
  • Punk legends The Descendents are coming to Spokane for an October 4 show.

The Descendents are everything good about the "pop-punk" label that sadly later turned into a ton of bands without the sense of humor or songwriting chops the SoCal crew boasted in spades on legendary, pioneering punk albums like Milo Goes to College and I Don't Want to Grow Up.

On Oct. 4, the band will swing through Spokane for a show at the Knitting Factory. Tickets are $26 in advance, $30 day of show, and available starting Friday at 10 am through the usual outlets like the Knitting Factory website and box office.

Spawned from the same South L.A. scene as Black Flag and the Minutemen, The Descendents added an undeniable tunefulness to their songs of alienation and distaste for mediocrity. Their blend of punk energy, pop hooks and nerd-y obsessions made The Descendents an oft-cited, much-beloved band despite decades of inactivity dribbled between tours and albums that started arriving in the late '70s; since 1986, the quartet has consisted of Milo Aukerman, Karl Alvarez, Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton. Their latest album came out in 2016, and Hypercaffium Spazzinate was their first new set in 12 years, complete with all the energy their early works had.

Here's a taste of their latest, a tune called "Victim of Me:"

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Monday, January 29, 2018

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Chris Stapleton books Spokane Arena show for July 19

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 11:11 AM

Chris Stapleton plays Spokane July 19
  • Chris Stapleton plays Spokane July 19

Chris Stapleton, one of the leading lights in traditional country's recent re-emergence to commercial success, is heading to Spokane to headline the arena on July 19 as part of his "All-American Road Show" tour.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Stapleton's Grammy takeover Sunday night, as he took home trophies for Best Country Album (for his From A Room: Vol 1), Best Country Song ("Broken Halos") and Best Country Solo Performance ("Either Way"). Stapleton was also the featured act on this weekend's Saturday Night Live, bringing rabblerouser Sturgill Simpson along for the ride:

Stapleton will be joined by country legend Marty Stuart and rising star Brent Cobb for his Spokane show. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 am. As of now, prices have not been released; we'll update this post when prices come our way.
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Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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