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Elkfest continues to make us swoon

Christ Bovey illustration
Christ Bovey illustration



Friday, 4:30 pm

Spokane’s own Terrible Buttons made quite a splash last year after landing on the Inlander’s Bands To Watch list, and they’re still going strong. The heavy, swaggering folk-rock band — which has toured more than once in Alaska and has torn up the road from here to California — will undoubtedly be showcasing plenty of the fresh new material from its upcoming record RUNT, which is due this July. (JORDAN SATTERFIELD)


Friday, 6:30 pm

It’s no wonder the last time Spokane heard Aan, it was opening for rock guitar virtuosos Built to Spill. Like BtS, Portland’s Aan makes music that’s complicated and layered: plinking guitars, marching drums, howling and echoing vocals. It’s indie folk with a frantic pulse — the kind of stuff you could listen to while you’re running along High Drive. And alongside a thousand or so of your Elkfest best friends, Aan makes music you can dance along to. (LEAH SOTTILE)


Friday, 8:30 pm

Seattle band Cave Singers were part of the first wave of PNW folk revivalists back in the mid-aughts. Born from the ashes of a number of notable hardcore and punk bands, including Pretty Girls Make Graves and Cobra High, their high-lonesome campfire harmonies have matured over the course of four critically acclaimed albums. Their latest, Naomi, finds them in a bit sunnier mood than previous efforts, blending their signature moody folk with a more fleshed-out, electric sound. Have no fear, though — their headlining set Friday night will be chock-full of intimate sing-alongs and delightful melodies. (GAWAIN FADELEY)



Saturday. 2 pm

Perennial electric blues favorites The Longnecks open Saturday’s festivities with their rock-solid take on true-blue, beer-soaked blues rock. Playing a mix of originals and classic covers, they’ve kept many a dance floor packed with shaking hips and spilled beverages since 2007. Get Saturday started right with righteous guitar playing and airtight grooves from these local veterans. (GF)


Saturday, 4 pm

Yes, local hip-hop collective Flying Spiders are a band, but they’re also a giant, static community of respected and eclectic Spokane musicians. Their smooth samples and booming live percussion have been drawing crowds for years, and what better place to see them than Elkfest? (JS)


Saturday, 6 pm

Here’s why we love the Grizzled Mighty: they play rock music with balls. The Seattle duo — Ryan Granger on guitar, Whitney Petty on drums — makes a huge sound for being just two people. The Grizzled Mighty’s songs are full of badass, distorted guitar solos and cymbal slamming. They’re probably the heaviest band at Elkfest this year, and will be a welcome sound for those looking to headbang a little. The Grizzled Mighty does not f--- around. (LS)


Saturday, 7:30 pm

If you’re like me and can’t resist the antics of Jax Teller and the Sons of Anarchy crew, then you’ve heard Battleme, the musical moniker of singer Matt Drenik. Several of Battleme’s songs have been on the show’s soundtrack, including a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My” — a risky song to cover that surprisingly turned out totally awesome. The rest of Drenik’s work is acoustic songs about everything from growing old to fighting in the car. It’s not just heart-on-his-sleeve music — Drenik serves up his emotions on a silver platter. (LS)


Saturday, 9 pm

The dreary, evocative folk rock band from Portland known as The Builders and the Butchers have made their fair share of fans in Spokane. While other bands of a similar nature come from a mindset that is contrived or phony, The Builders’ jaded yet accomplished folk strikes a nerve around these parts. Though it’s not fair to compare them, The Builders possess a manic spirit reminiscent of experimental rockers Man Man and the alcoholic shanties of fellow Portlanders The Decemberists. The Builders also have a new record hitting shelves in July, so be prepared to get a taste of what we can expect when it washes ashore. (JS)



Sunday, 2 pm

The fact that their name features a musical genre gives you some immediate insight into this Spokane-based acoustic act. With several vocalists chipping in on heartwarming harmonies, Folkinception adds a thick mix of piano, strings (including cello!) for a sound that can get loud if it needs to. You’ll be able to dance to it, if that’s what you’re wondering. (MIKE BOOKEY)


Sunday, 4 pm

Emerging from a six-month creative bender in Hawaii, this co-ed folk duo seems poised for big things. With an intimate sound and undeniable chemistry, Ryan Miller and Mackie Hockett (of Old Bear Mountain) fill the stage with their gorgeous collaborative harmony and songwriting. They’ve played only a handful of shows, so local music fans are hungry for more, and their set Sunday will surely introduce them to a wider audience. (GF)


Sunday, 6 pm

A singular talent with a unique take on a common instrument, Seattle-by-way-of-Australia multi-instrumentalist Blake Noble plays what’s called ‘percussive guitar,’ using the natural resonance of his 12-string to conjure sounds heard nowhere else. He combines a heavy-handed picking attack — drumming on the body of the guitar — and his native country’s didgeridoo to create his signature sound, and audiences have been eating it up since his arrival stateside. A festival favorite, he’s graced the stage at NW Folklife, the Washington State Fair, and Seattle’s Triple Door. If you’re a fan of instrumental guitar music, a la Rodrigo y Gabriela or Tommy Emmanuel, this is a can’t-miss set. (GF)


Sunday, 8 pm

Maybe it’s fate or just damn good planning, but Seattle-based folk musician Bryan John Appleby will likely start his Sunday set just as the sun begins to set. The cloudy pink-and-orange sky would be the perfect backdrop to his lush arrangements and melodic play, which are typically just this side of uplifting but toy with melancholy. If Appleby’s previous record, the terrific Fire on the Vine, is any indication, he could very well put the entire crowd into one big, communal trance. Plus it’s a solo show, which means we get the man all to ourselves. (JS)


Sunday, 9 pm

A couple years ago, this was just another bearded, folky Seattle act. No more. Pickwick has hit its stride after adopting a soulful (actual, real, old-school soul music) sound that combines bouncy, echoey guitar licks with the buttery vocals of frontman Galen Disston. The band released its debut LP, Can’t Talk Medicine, earlier this year and has been gaining the sort of critical praise its accessible sound and adorable stage presence truly deserves. (MB)

Elkfest • June 7-9 • The Elk • 1931 W. Pacific Ave. • Free • All-ages •

Nick Grow @ Chinook crafted by Adam Hegsted

Fri., April 16, 6-9 p.m. and Sat., April 17, 6-9 p.m.
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