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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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENTS: Jay Leno, Sergio Mendes, Shakey Graves, Phish all headed to Inland Northwest

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 1:48 PM

Sergio Mendes brings a taste of Brazil to Spokane on June 12.
  • Sergio Mendes brings a taste of Brazil to Spokane on June 12.

A slew of concert announcements hit the ol' inbox today. Let's break it down:

Former Tonight Show host and long-time standup Jay Leno is coming to Northern Quest Resort & Casino for two shows on May 6, one at 4 pm and one at 7 pm. Tickets for Leno go on sale this Saturday, Jan. 27, at 9 am via and the venue box office. Tickets are $59, $69 and $89.

Sergio Mendes, the man who took bossa nova and samba to the American mainstream with Brazilian-flavored covers of pop hits in the '60s and continued mining the winning slinky sounds for decades since, is coming to Spokane.

Sergio Mendes will play the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox on June 12. Tickets range from $42 to $75 and go on sale Thursday, Feb. 1, at 12:01 am via the Fox Theater box office and TicketsWest outlets. I, for one, can go for a little of this scene:

In July, jam-band fave Phish set up camp for three days at The Gorge. The quartet will headline the mid-Washington venue from July 20-22, and their online ticket request system is off and rolling right here, and will end Feb. 5. General public on-sale starts Feb. 8. Tickets are $75 for a single show, or $200 for a three-show pass. 

In August, Texas rabble-rouser Shakey Graves returns to Spokane for a gig at The Knitting Factory. Graves and Jose Gonzalez and the Brite Lites will play on Aug. 26; tickets are $35 in advance and go on sale Friday, Jan. 26, at 10 am through the Knitting Factory website. Here's a bit of Shakey's style:

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