Tuesday, December 5, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW/PHOTOS: Foo Fighters deliver three hours of rock majesty in Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl screamed for a solid three hours Monday night at Spokane Arena. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl screamed for a solid three hours Monday night at Spokane Arena.

Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl is enough of a rock 'n' roll historian to know what's needed to deliver a killer arena-rock show, and he showed that Monday at the band's packed Spokane Arena gig:

Twenty-two years into their career, the Foo Fighters have a ton of material, and the fans all have their favorites. As Grohl joked early on, if you'd gone to see the band 22 years ago, "we had 12 songs. We now have 367 songs." A slight exaggeration, but the band has a ton of albums, including a strong new one in Concrete and Gold. And while Grohl mentioned that the band likes to touch on each of its albums during the show, the hits were pretty much all part of the three-hour gig. "All My Life" and "Learn to Fly" came early, "This Is A Call" and "Everlong" closed down the encore, and in between the band delivered some of their biggest tunes throughout, from "My Hero" to "Times Like These," "Monkey Wrench" to "Best of You." 

Four out of six Foo Fighters (left to right): Rami Jaffee, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl and Nate Mendel. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Four out of six Foo Fighters (left to right): Rami Jaffee, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl and Nate Mendel.

Grohl chatted up the audience often, from the hardcore fans stuffed down front and holding up signs alluding to lead guitarist Chris Shiflett's sexiness, to the folks sitting in the rafters forced to look at screens for closeups of the frontman and various Foos. And he galloped all over the stage, focusing on different seat sections (and different cameras) all night. Grohl also got the audience to join forces for some communal experiences like a massive singalong or lighting up the arena with a sea of cell phones.

Grohl spent the majority of the Foo Fighters' show in full thrash-rock mode. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Grohl spent the majority of the Foo Fighters' show in full thrash-rock mode.

What appeared a simple diamond-shaped video-screen backdrop early on proved to be a pliable piece of stage magic, shifting shapes and heights and projecting all manner of objects to the audience depending on the song. Just when you thought you'd seen everything the band's special effects could do, they'd deliver something new — right up through the encore.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Deer Tick was late, but well worth the wait

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Deer Tick's Ian O'Neil (left) and John McCauley rocked the Bartlett on Thursday night. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Deer Tick's Ian O'Neil (left) and John McCauley rocked the Bartlett on Thursday night.

For a while on Thursday, it looked like Deer Tick's first-ever visit to play Spokane would fall to this year's Curse of Halloween Week that caused Silversun Pickups to quit after four songs Tuesday night at the Knitting Factory, The Courtneys to cancel their Friday show due to weather and The Weather Station to cancel their scheduled Saturday night show at the Bartlett. A broken-down tour bus in Boise didn't bode well for the Rhode Island roots-rockers, and the planned 8 pm start time, and then rescheduled 9:30 pm show launch, ended up being a 10:30 pm-ish kickoff following an extended loitering session in cold, drizzly rain outside the Bartlett, while the band did a not-so-quick sound check inside after they finally arrived.

And you know what? The show was totally worth the wait for the fans who hung around and (mostly) filled the club, as Deer Tick roared through a career-spanning set that was at turns thrilling, heartbreaking and hilarious.

Plans to play two sets — one acoustic, one electric — went out the window due to the late start, and comedian Jena Friedman, the opening act, only did about five minutes of jokes to a well-lubed audience before singer/guitarist John McCauley, guitarist Ian O'Neil, bassist Chris Ryan and drummer Dennis Ryan hit the stage and proceeded to knock out about 25 songs, playing well past midnight.

The band's two new albums, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2,  are split between all-acoustic and all-electric tunes, but Thursday night it was mostly electric throughout, save the occasional appearance of a mandolin here and there. The new acoustic songs were still excellent, delivered with added muscle (and an assist from a touring keyboard player), and all the new material fit in easily with a catalog that has touched on everything from folk and country to blues and garage-rock on the band's releases over the past decade. 

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Weather Station cancels Saturday night show at the Bartlett

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 4:13 PM


The Bartlett announced this afternoon that the Weather Station, the folky solo project of Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, has canceled its scheduled Saturday night show, citing "unforeseen circumstances." Per the venue's Facebook page, refunds will be made available to those who bought advance tickets; there's no word yet on the show being rescheduled.

Lindeman spoke with the Inlander in anticipation of the show; read her interview here.
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Silversun Pickups frontman fights through flu, broken arm before cutting set short

Posted By on Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 1:33 PM

The costumes were great, but Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert (left) wasn't feeling too hot last night.
  • The costumes were great, but Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert (left) wasn't feeling too hot last night.

When Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert came out on stage last night with his right arm in a sling, I really hoped it was part of his Halloween costume. The band dressed up in Stranger Things Halloween outfits — was his broken arm and overall look of death somehow part of it?

But then Aubert, in a raspy voice, told everyone that the universe didn't want him to be there at the Knitting Factory. He broke his arm a few days ago, he said. And even though he figured out a way to strum his guitar anyway, he now had the flu.

The band played a few of its hit songs and shut it down early.

Nobody could fault Aubert for his effort. It was immediately clear that he couldn't sing at anything close to full strength. At one point in the middle of the second song, nothing but air came from his voice, and he shook his head and stopped playing. He asked the audience if they even wanted him to play anymore. The packed crowd at the Knitting Factory enthusiastically expressed their support.
Brian Aubert apologized to the Spokane crowd for the abbreviated show. - WILSON CRISCIONE PHOTO
  • Wilson Criscione photo
  • Brian Aubert apologized to the Spokane crowd for the abbreviated show.

To end the night, they played "Panic Switch" and "Lazy Eye," both crowd favorites. The audience knew the words and filled in during the parts where Aubert would normally be screaming. It's hard to hear those songs live and not be into it, so overall it ended on a high note, albeit before 10 pm.

"Thank you Spokane, for being so supportive last night. we love you. happy halloween..." the band wrote on Facebook today.

Still, the whole thing was kind of a bummer. The Silversun Pickups show I saw in Seattle years ago was one of the best I've ever been to, and I was hoping they could rekindle some of that Tuesday night. You could tell the band was disappointed they couldn't put on a better performance for the Halloween crowd. They went all out for the Stranger Things theme — the words "Silversun Pickups" even appeared on the screens with the show's signature font. And there was supposed to be a costume contest.

The Knitting Factory says it isn't automatically giving refunds to ticket buyers, but people are welcome to reach out to TicketWeb if they want. After the show, Aubert promised they would reschedule another Spokane date.

"We'll be back. Thank you. I love you," Aubert said. "Sorry."
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Friday, October 27, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: The Jesus and Mary Chain stick with a winning sound

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 12:18 PM

It's hazy up there when the Jesus and Mary Chain take the stage. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • It's hazy up there when the Jesus and Mary Chain take the stage.

It's nice that some things in life never change too much, and so it goes with the Jesus and Mary Chain and the band's Scottish brothers out front, Jim and William Reid.

Actually, "out front" is exactly accurate, as guitarist William prefers to lurk in back, surrounded by his amps, while he churns out buzzing parts that touch on everything from surf-rock riffs to garage-rock feedback to the droning, Wall of Sound, shoegaze-y noise this band helped pioneer in the '80s.

Out front is brother Jim, handling lead vocals on songs new and old while contorting his body into various states of what looks like painful Pilates poses while singing about being "a rock and roll amputation" (show-opener "Amputation" from the band's 2017 release Damage and Joy) or letting the audience know he wants to die like Jesus Christ and JFK ("Reverence," the last song of the main set before the band returned for two encores).

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Listen to local singer-songwriter Chris Molitor's debut LP Coming Home

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 2:04 PM


Spokane singer-songwriter Chris Molitor is releasing his first full-length album at the Bartlett on Friday, and the Inlander has an early exclusive of the record, titled Coming Home.

Molitor, originally from Michigan, moved to Spokane from Los Angeles last year with his wife, whose family has lived here for years. At the time of the move, his band the Wilder Society was coming to an end, and Molitor says he was looking for a change of pace.

"When we came up here, we weren't sure if we were going to stay in Spokane. Obviously, we're still here," Molitor told the Inlander last week. "A lot of people are probably searching for that, the place where they just fit. And I think we've found it."

The new album itself echoes Molitor's own experiences in the past few years. It's shot through with themes of traveling, soul-searching and homesickness; true to its title, it's about feeling lost before finding your way again. It opens on a hopeful note with the upbeat "Across the Room," grows more melancholy and dark as it unfolds, then comes around to a newfound sense of optimism by its closing title track, which Molitor says is about his mom.

Molitor recorded Coming Home mostly by himself last winter, setting up a makeshift studio at his in-laws' lake house in Newport. He says most of the songs on the album had been sitting around for awhile, and he tracked the entire record in about three weeks on his own.

He typically plays solo in live settings, too — he sees a lot of value, he says, in "the raw nature of a person and one instrument and their voice" — but he’ll have a backing band at Friday night’s show. After spending a few years entrenched in L.A.'s music scene, Molitor says the warm, collaborative nature of Spokane's music community has been a pleasant change of pace.

"I'm excited to continue becoming a part of this creative community," Molitor says. "My experience of Spokane's music scene has been such a welcome environment. People aren't out for blood here. It's almost like everyone is trying to help everyone else out, which is so refreshing coming from a more cutthroat environment."

Chris Molitor performs with Mama Doll at the Bartlett (228 W. Sprague) on Fri, Oct. 27 at 8 pm. Tickets are $8 here, and $10 at the door.

Listen to Coming Home here:

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Friday, October 13, 2017

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: "Weird Al" Yankovic to hit the Fox Theater in May

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 10:52 AM

"Weird Al" Yankovic will perform at the Fox Theater on May 27.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic will perform at the Fox Theater on May 27.

Parody artist and accordionist extraordinaire "Weird Al" Yankovic is hitting the road next year, and his tour will bring him to the Fox Theater on May 27. Yankovic last performed in the Inland Northwest in 2015; cult comedian Emo Philips is slated to open for him.

Billed as "The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour," these upcoming shows will apparently be more intimate and scaled-down than Yankovic's typical shows — basically, don't expect him to bust out the latex suit from the "Fat" video. Interestingly, the set lists will apparently focus mostly on Yankovic's original compositions, which are often hilarious in their own right (check out "Midnight Star," "Albuquerque" or his Devo pastiche "Dare to Be Stupid," if you haven't already).

In the pantheon of parody musicians, Yankovic certainly reigns supreme. First gaining prominence through L.A. radio personality Dr. Demento, Yankovic became an unexpected  superstar in the early years of MTV, with the videos for "Like a Surgeon" and "Eat It" in heavy rotation. He's maintained his presence in the cultural zeitgeist since the '80s, parodying everyone from Coolio to Nirvana to Lady Gaga; his most recent album, 2014's Mandatory Fun, was his first to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Tickets for the Spokane show go on sale next Friday, Oct. 20 at noon, through the Fox's box office and all TicketsWest outlets.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Garth Brooks set to play seven shows at the Arena in November

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 10:11 AM

Country music star Garth Brooks returns to Spokane for back-to-back shows in November at  the Arena.
  • Country music star Garth Brooks returns to Spokane for back-to-back shows in November at the Arena.

Tickets for Garth Brooks' Nov. 11 Spokane Arena show went on sale this morning, but the country music megastar has already added three concerts to his upcoming Spokane tour stop — on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 pm; another Saturday show at 3 pm; and on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 pm. This is common practice for Brooks, who since re-emerging from a retirement in 2009 has clearly relished getting back into performing again.

The Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday night shows will also run you $74.98; tickets are on sale now through TicketsWest. Platinum-selling country star Trisha Yearwood (who also happens to be Brooks' wife) will open all four shows.

UPDATE: A fifth show, at 3 pm on Sunday, Nov. 12, has been announced. If this trend continues, Garth Brooks may just end up moving here.

UPDATE: And now a sixth show — on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 pm — has been added.

UPDATE: We're up to seven total shows now. Tuesday, Nov. 14 has been added to Brooks' roster; he'll hit the stage at 7:30 pm.
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What we lost when we lost Tom Petty: An American classic

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 2:10 PM

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - WARNER BROS. MARY ELLEN MATTHEWS IMAGE
  • Warner Bros. Mary Ellen Matthews image
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Even growing up in the '80s and '90s with the omnipresence of Tom Petty's music on the radio and MTV, I never became a true fan until I saw Petty and his band the Heartbreakers live, on stage, showcasing an almost extrasensory connection between musicians who were also lifelong friends.

The first time was in 2002 in a Utah hockey arena. And the last time was 10 days ago at the Hollywood Bowl, in what would turn out to be the second-to-last show of his life. Petty, as you undoubtedly now know, died Monday in Los Angeles.

Petty and his band had the ability to turn seemingly simple songs into something altogether more thrilling. His tales of hard-luck rebels and never-give-up strivers, as well as darker songs of struggle and romantic pain, had the kind of universal appeal that it's easy now — in retrospect — to understand how at different points of his career, Petty was considered a punk rocker, a pop star, a hard rocker and, ultimately, an American classic.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Sarah Jarosz's beguiling sounds filled the Bartlett on Saturday

Posted By on Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Sarah Jarosz and bandmates Jeff Picker (left) and Anthony da Costa packed the Bartlett on Saturday night. - DAN NAILEN PHOTO
  • Dan Nailen photo
  • Sarah Jarosz and bandmates Jeff Picker (left) and Anthony da Costa packed the Bartlett on Saturday night.

Adjectives to describe Sarah Jarosz come easily while watching the 26-year-old, Grammy-winning songwriter perform live.

"Beguiling" is a good one. "Talented" — obvious, yes. "Charming," indeed. She's all those things and then some on stage, leading her small band that also includes upright-bass player Jeff Picker and animated guitarist Anthony da Costa.

At Jarosz's sold-out show Saturday night at the Bartlett, part of her final road trip in support of her 2016 album Undercurrent, Jarosz was all smiles as she led the trio through songs pulled from throughout her career. She was quick-witted with her between-song banter, and complimented the enthusiastic crowd on its ability to clap along in proper time. There were some serious bluegrass and acoustic fiends in the crowd, hooting repeatedly at stellar instrumental passages — and there were a lot of them thanks to Jarosz's own abilities on mandolin, banjo and guitar, as well as the skills of her fellow musicians on stage.

 received the lion's share of attention, naturally, and deservedly so — the album won Jarosz this year's Best Folk Album Grammy award. "House of Mercy" (Grammy winner for Best Americana Roots Performance) was a highlight, as was "Comin' Undone," a swanky slice of country-soul co-written by Parker Millsap. "Take Another Turn," "Lost Dog" and "Jacqueline," a song inspired by runs around the Jackie Onassis reservoir in Jarosz's adopted hometown of New York City, all received excellent performances.

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