Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tinnabulation Music Festival tickets are on sale now

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 1:00 PM

The John Butler Trio is one of the headliners of the new Spokane music festival Tinnabulation, coming in September.
  • The John Butler Trio is one of the headliners of the new Spokane music festival Tinnabulation, coming in September.

We're in full geek-out mode over our Volume Music Festival happening in less than two weeks, but we also can't wait for the other music festivals heading our way, from Elkfest to Spokane's new three-day fall music festival Tinnabulation, coming in September.

Tinnabulation announced its lineup a few days ago, and tickets are on sale now for the event going down in Riverfront Park and at the Spokane Convention Center from Sept. 8-10.

The John Butler Trio, OK Go and American Authors headline the inaugural event, and they'll be joined by a diverse lineup of national, regional and local acts, including Frenship, Barns Courtney, Iska Dhaaf, The Dip, Folkinception, Jango and Mama Doll. For the full lineup, visit the Tinnabulation website. More artists are expected to be added to the lineup.

Tickets are $150 for a three-day pass, with a $300 VIP option also available, and are on sale now through TicketsWest outlets.
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Free Sasquatch tickets: How to win 'em

Posted By on Sun, May 21, 2017 at 10:41 AM

We're giving way two three-day passes for Sasquatch! Music Festival, valued at $295 each, to one lucky person who buys their $25 Volume two-day pass before midnight tonight (Sunday).

If you've already bought your Volume tickets, don't worry, you're in the drawing already.

Go here to buy your Volume tickets and enter!


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

What we lost when we lost Chris Cornell, dead at 52

Seattle native and Soundgarden frontman dead of an apparent suicide

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 9:20 AM

The first time I saw Chris Cornell, he was leading 
Soundgarden as an opening act for some long-forgotten headliner in a cement warehouse of a venue called the Speedway Cafe in Salt Lake City, around when the band's 1989 major-label debut, Louder Than Love, was released.

The last time I saw Chris Cornell, he was on stage at Spokane's Fox Theater performing an all-acoustic, mostly solo three-hour show that touched on every aspect of his career, from Soundgarden and Audioslave songs to solo originals and favorite covers ranging from Prince to Metallica to U2.

The thing that stood out at both those shows, and the myriad times I saw Cornell in between, was The Voice. Whether he was wailing in one of Soundgarden's Zeppelin-esque stompers or crooning some delicate ballad, Cornell's four-octave range was an undeniable instrument that always made him stand out from his rock 'n' roll peers.

That voice is silenced today as Cornell died in Detroit last night of an apparent suicide in the hours after a Soundgarden show. He was 52.

Chris Cornell last summer performing at The Fox in Spokane. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Chris Cornell last summer performing at The Fox in Spokane.

The reunion of Soundgarden was a joy to fans who saw the band blow up along with the Seattle scene in the late '80s/early '90s. The quartet was one of the brightest lights of the so-called "grunge" movement, providing a more metal-edged sound compared to Nirvana's punk approach and Pearl Jam's classic-rock vibe. At their show Wednesday night in Detroit, Cornell and the band ended with their own "Slaves and Bulldozers," blending in some lyrics from Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying."

Soundgarden was the introduction to metal for many "alternative" fans, and the introduction to indie/alternative music for a bunch of metalheads who just loved their monstrous riffs. When the band split up after several platinum albums, Cornell worked on solo albums that reflected his love of everything from sensitive troubadour Jeff Buckley to beat master Timbaland, and joined all the non-singing Rage Against the Machine guys in Audioslave for three albums.

Through all his twists and turns, The Voice remained one of the best in modern popular music. It was on full display last summer at The Fox, and in my review of the concert I wrote, "if Wednesday's show proved anything, it's that Cornell has as much of an exciting future ahead as he has a storied history."

Sadly, I was wrong. R.I.P. Chris Cornell.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Spokane Symphony tackles "The Music of Led Zeppelin" in style

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 10:29 AM


If the goal of symphony shows like "The Music of Led Zeppelin" is to introduce non-classical communities to their symphony orchestras, Friday night's performance at The Fox was a resounding success.

Brent Havens, the guest conductor for the evening and creator of the Zeppelin show, told me that was the original inspiration for his creating symphonic arrangements of the hard-rock band's catalog. I would guess after witnessing the raucous show in Spokane that most of the folks in the audience — myself included — were far more familiar with the works of Page and Plant than they are Rachmaninoff or Beethoven.

The bombastic versions of Zeppelin radio staples and deeper cuts inspired repeated standing ovations throughout the 18-song, two-set show, and more than  few cellphones were out recording and taking pictures as the Spokane Symphony and five-piece visiting rock band out front tore into songs like the opening one-two punch of "Good Times, Bad Times" and "Ramble On."

Havens was an enthusiastic and entertaining conductor, goading well-deserved applause for the symphony and for his traveling players — particularly stellar lead guitarist George Cintron and strutting electric violin player Renee Izzi.

Possibly the most enjoyable aspect was watching the symphony's players respond to the audience's enthusiasm. When the crowd took over vocals from lead singer Randy Jackson on tunes like "Immigrant Song" and the show-closing "Stairway to Heaven," or erupted into another standing ovation, the smiles on many symphony members' faces were abundant.

A show like "The Music of Led Zeppelin" really relies on the qualities of the lead singer out in front of the symphony, and in Jackson this group has a fine one. I wasn't expecting a Robert Plant clone, and Jackson certainly wasn't that, bringing his own considerable vocal chops to the songs. There's clearly a reason he's been fronting this touring crew for more than 20 years.

Among the highlights were "Black Dog," thanks to solos from Cintron and Izzi, and "The Ocean," as well as "Dancing Days," "Heartbreaker" and a faithfully expansive "Whole Lotta Love." Jackson pulled out an acoustic for a medley of "Going to California"/"Thank You"/"Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" that inspired cellphone flashlights hoisted in the air in the audience, taking the place of the lighters of the '70s.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Smokes are leaving Spokane, but you have one more chance to see them Friday

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 4:08 PM

The Smokes are moving to the Twin Cities, after one last show Friday night at the Bartlett. - KIRSTEN BLACK
  • Kirsten Black
  • The Smokes are moving to the Twin Cities, after one last show Friday night at the Bartlett.

The first time I heard The Smokes, it was about a year after I moved to Spokane. It was in the aftermath of Windstorm 2015, and power was out at my house for a week. As a result, I was spending quality time bouncing around downtown until I had to go home. I showed up at the Big Dipper and walked in on a couple of guys decked out in colorful tuxedos, doing a garage-rock version of, if memory serves, some James Brown tune.

I was hooked. And here's a fuzzy photo I took that night:

The Smokes in November 2015.
  • The Smokes in November 2015.

I saw them a couple more times, which is pretty easy to do considering the duo of guitarist Himes Alexander and drummer Matt Slater seem to always be playing somewhere. That's one of the things I came to appreciate about The Smokes — they seem willing to share shows with pretty much any other band playing any style of music. And they'd make it work.

About a year ago, I wrote a profile of The Smokes for our Volume music fest issue, as the Spokane garage-rock two-piece was one of our "bands to watch" for 2016. Over some not-great whiskey, we talked music, politics and growing up African American in an overwhelmingly white town and part of the country.

We also talked their longtime plans for the band, and they were adamant about taking The Smokes out of Spokane and on the road. Now, it's happening, and it's not just for a tour.  The guys are moving to the Twin Cities to finish a music degree (Himes) and work at a new job (Matt) and see how The Smokes' tunes go over in a bigger town. And Minneapolis/St. Paul ain't just any music town; you might have heard of some of its more famous musical exports — Prince, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Atmosphere, etc.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Son Volt's sold-out Spokane show was a 24-song, two-encore killer

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 11:14 AM

Son Volt headlined a sold-out show at the Bartlett on Sunday night. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Son Volt headlined a sold-out show at the Bartlett on Sunday night.

The downside of having sky-high expectations for a concert is that you can easily be let down if a band is merely "good" or "great" and not "transcendent."

My expectations for Son Volt's sold-out show at the Bartlett Sunday night were definitely up there, as I've listened to pretty much everything that band leader Jay Farrar has released for the better part of three decades, starting with Uncle Tupelo's 1990 debut, No Depression, up through Son Volt's excellent 2017 release Notes of Blue. But I'd seen Son Volt a few times through the years, and while they were always good, their live shows never grabbed me the way Farrar's distinct, twang-touched voice and way with incisive lyrics do on his recorded work.

Sunday's show, though, was easily the best I've ever seen Son Volt. Maybe it was the intimacy of the venue, maybe it was Farrar and his stellar band feeling how good the new songs are, even when played next to longtime fan favorites from 20 years ago.

Whatever the case, the band was dynamic and rocking, when some past shows I've seen got mired in too many dirge-like musical excursions. There were certainly plenty of poignant moments — you don't want Farrar skipping out on his excellent ballads — but the quintet on stage was energetic and fun to watch (particularly bouncing, smiling bass player Andrew Duplantis) even if Farrar kept the between-song banter to a minimum, as his is wont.

The music spoke loud and clear, reestablishing that Son 
Volt is one of the bright lights of "Americana," "roots music" or "alt-country" — whatever label you want to attach to their sound that touches on folks like Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Tin Pan Alley troubadours of the early 20th century.

The set list leaned heavy on the new album (eight of its 10 songs were performed), as well as the band's 1995 debut, Trace, a stone classic whose songs elicited the loudest cheers and sing-alongs of the night. The 24 songs delivered over the course of nearly two hours also touched on Farrar's solo work ("Damn Shame"), his Gob Iron side project ("Buzz & Grind") and his beloved pre-Son Volt band Uncle Tupelo ("Chickamauga" in the first encore), and closed down with a wickedly fun workout on a Velvet Underground cover ("What Goes On").

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Sasquatch! switch: LCD Soundsystem replaces Frank Ocean as Day 1 headliner

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 11:05 AM

LCD Soundsystem performing at Sasquatch! in 2010.
  • LCD Soundsystem performing at Sasquatch! in 2010.

Here's a nice last-minute festival shakeup: LCD Soundsystem has been added to the Day 1 lineup at the upcoming Sasquatch! Music Festival. The high-energy electronic collective fronted by producer and songwriter James Murphy previously played the fest behind Pavement and Massive Attack in 2010; they've now been upgraded to headliner status.

The bad news about all this: The band is replacing Frank Ocean, the opening day's previous headliner. The acclaimed R&B crooner cited "production delays" as his reason for canceling his Sasquatch! set, and his exclusion from the lineup will no doubt disappoint some ticket buyers.

But the silver lining is that we're getting an LCD Soundsystem performance out of Ocean's cancellation. The band recently reformed after a brief hiatus, and they dropped two new singles ("Call the Police" and "American Dream") yesterday. And if you don't know what all the fuss is about, check them out when they perform on "Saturday Night Live" tomorrow.

You can still purchase Sasquatch! tickets here.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trombone Shorty set to bring a taste of New Orleans to Spokane this summer

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue are dropping by The Fox in August.
  • Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue are dropping by The Fox in August.

You could make the case for a few cities being the heartbeat of American music — New York, Nashville, Austin, maybe even Seattle or Portland.

I would argue for New Orleans being the ultimate, though, thanks to its collision of cultures and styles. And right now, there's probably no performer out representing New Orleans' music better than Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue (all due respect to any touring Marsalis family members).

You'll see Trombone Shorty described as a "jazz" artist, but don't let that lull you into thinking his show is some somber recital for erudite, elbow-patched aging hipsters. He incorporates serious funk, soul, gospel and R&B sounds into his music, as well some hip-hop, for concerts basically guaranteed to get you on your feet and moving throughout.

You'll have the chance to see for yourself when Trombone Shorty headlines The Fox on Sunday, Aug. 13. Tickets are $40 and $50 and go on sale Wednesday night at midnight. You can get them through TicketsWest outlets or The Fox box office during regular hours.

Trombone Shorty is touring behind a new album, Parking Lot Symphony, on which he and his band knock out killer originals and covers of fellow New Orleans artists The Meters ("It Ain't No Use") and Allan Toussaint ("Here Come The Girls").

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Jimmy Eat World, Beach Slang put the guitars out front at The Knit

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 3:28 PM

Beach Slang nearly stole the show from headliners Jimmy Eat World. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Beach Slang nearly stole the show from headliners Jimmy Eat World.

Tuesday night at the Knitting Factory offered a study in contrasts between headliner Jimmy Eat World and opener Beach Slang.

Both the long-running Jimmy Eat World and four-year-old Beach Slang trade in big guitar rawk, backing vocals that tug at the heartstrings as well as the minds of discerning rock fans, and they largely do it through straightforward tunes that eschew much in the way of modern bells and whistles.

That said, witnessing both bands' sets, it was clear that one had experience, professionalism and a deep catalog on its side, while the other had more youthful exuberance, almost off-the-rails energy and less material to draw from, dropping a couple of winning and somewhat unexpected covers into their set.

While Jimmy Eat World delivered a rock-solid set of two dozen songs spanning their nine albums and nearly quarter-century together as a band, I walked away thinking more about Beach Slang and the genuine sense of danger they brought to their hour on stage.

Led by James Alex (looking resplendent in a velvet jacket, ruffled tuxedo shirt and bow tie), the Philadelphia quartet barreled through songs from their two albums (The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us and A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings), pausing mostly for James to swill more vodka and juice and crack jokes at the expense of various '90s-era bands like Matchbox Twenty and Lit.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Announcing the Volume 2017 lineup; tickets on sale now!

Built to Spill, Chastity Belt, Ras Kass, Windoe, Belt of Vapor, Folkinception among featured bands

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM

Northwest indie-rock favorites Built to Spill and Chastity Belt will play a new outdoor stage at the Steam Plant at Volume 2017 this June 2-3, part of a sprawling lineup of nearly 100 artists ranging from hip-hop to punk, folk to synth-pop, metal to electro-rock.
Chastity Belt
  • Chastity Belt

The Inland Northwest's best bands provide the backbone for Volume, as they have every year in its six-year history. Cathedral Pearls, The Dancing Plague of 1518, Itchy Kitty, Belt of Vapor, Empty Eyes, Summer in Siberia and Jan Francisco are among the locals who will play alongside visitors like rapper Nacho Picasso (Seattle), electro-pop crew J GRGRY (Seattle), grease-slathered Southern rockers Shawn James and the Shapeshifters (Fayetteville, Arkansas), art-rockers Lithics (Portland) and California-based Ras Kass, who Pitchfork once called "one of the best rappers of all time."

That's just the start of what is the best lineup yet for the largest, most diverse music festival in the Inland Northwest. You can see the entire lineup here, or scroll down for a complete list.

Ras Kass
  • Ras Kass
The venues for Volume 2017 include The Baby Bar (all-ages), The Bartlett (all-ages), The Big Dipper (all-ages), Boots Bakery, Mootsy's, The Observatory, The Pin! (all-ages), The Red Room Lounge, nYne Bar and the Washington Cracker Co. Building (Terrain stage; all-ages), plus the new Steam Plant Outdoor Stage on Saturday (all-ages).

Tickets are just $25 in advance for two days of amazing music ($35 if you wait until the festival), and you can get those right here.

Here's a sample of Boise-based Built to Spill:

Chastity Belt formed in Walla Walla:

Ras Kass gets topical on his latest:

Myke Bogan's "Take the Night Off" featuring Blossom:

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