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Keepin' On 

All around the Inland Northwest, the music scene continues to persevere

click to enlarge Terrible Buttons - KRISTEN BLACK
  • Kristen Black
  • Terrible Buttons

This year, bands and venues came and went, legends were honored and more music festivals took place than ever before. Some complained about the music scene, but others were proactive, banding together to improve things. Everywhere we went, we found fresh, local talent to swoon over. Here's to another music-packed year — already, we're looking forward to acts like Sleater-Kinney and Neutral Milk Hotel coming through — but first, let's check in with the scene. (LJ)

TB GONE

After a five-year run that made Terrible Buttons a Spokane favorite, the seven-piece "horror-folk" crew, twice named Best Local Band in the Inlander's Best Of readers poll, came to an abrupt end. Word hit the scene through a Facebook post the day after a packed Bartlett show and just three weeks before the band would play a final show at Volume. "This is the end of what has been the focal point of my life, and the lives of all us T Butts," bandleader Kent Ueland told the Inlander at the time. (DN)

What's next: Ueland is taking his solo project the Holy Broke full-time; singer Sarah Berentson fronts Mama Doll.

ISAMU JORDAN REMEMBERED

After losing their leader Isamu "Som" Jordan in 2013 to suicide, the hip-hop collective Flying Spiders reconvened on New Year's Day, deciding to continue the band. In September, they celebrated life at Som's Birthday Show, now an annual event. The local music and arts champion was further remembered this year after the Spokane City Council chose to name an upcoming Huntington Park music festival and stage after him. A campaign to name the Huntington Park plaza near City Hall was unsuccessful; it's been renamed the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place. (LJ)

What's next: Finding the next local music scene champion.

CLOSINGS/OPENINGS

The panties hanging from the ceiling at 230 S. Washington St. are no more. The legendary 21-and-over music venue Carr's Corner hosted its final raucous show Feb. 6 with help from rocking acts Weary Traveler, Robby Sletner, Blackwater Prophet, Stone Cold Slumber Party and FAUS. Owner Aaron Carr's plans to reopen at a new venue have not yet come to fruition; we're truly disappointed. (LJ)

The return of live music to the Big Dipper in spring 2014 was cause for celebration for club owner Dan Hoerner and his wife Dawson, who used an Indiegogo campaign to help pay for some of the necessary improvements to turn the abandoned, aging space into a workable venue. Hoerner's membership in Sunny Day Real Estate helped earn some hype from the likes of Rolling Stone, but the club's first year back wasn't all smooth. The Hoerners' former business partner Troy Brower took to Facebook in September with claims of backstabbing and shady dealings. Still, shows at the Big Dipper continue, a win for the scene. (DN)

What's next: Even more people supporting the venues we do have.

MUSIC FESTIVALS

People of all ages, creeds, degrees of hygiene and music tastes were hustling along Spokane's downtown streets, going from one music venue's show to the next. No, this isn't a description of heaven; it's what happened at this year's Volume music festival in May. Everywhere we looked at the Inlander's festival, people showed immense support for local and regional acts. Bars were packed and minds were blown. It was one of the best weekends of the year, and we're not just saying that because we produced it.

Music festivals are hot right now. Gleason Fest once again shut down Division and Main. Elkfest took over Browne's Addition, and Pig Out in the Park, Terrain, Marmot Fest (formerly KYRS Music Fest), Garland Block Party and the Festival at Sandpoint (with its strongest lineup ever) were once again mainstays. We also had the introduction of Bartfest at the Bartlett and nYne and Perry Street Shakedown outside of Perry Street Pizza. It may be just a matter of time before the music festival frenzy bursts, but right now we want to ride its wave. (LJ)

What's next: Festivals will only be bigger and more fine-tuned.

COUNTRY LAND?

It's no shock that country music remains a massive part of the Inland Northwest's arena music culture. That's true on a smaller scale, too, as 2014 saw new, honky tonk-focused venues open throughout the area, including Nashville North in Post Falls in the former Big Al's, as well as the Palomino Club in Spokane. Long-running countrified clubs the Slab Inn in Post Falls and Spokane Valley's Roadhouse kept going strong, too, but the news wasn't all good: Sergio's Country Nights in downtown Spokane closed after a six-year run. (DN)

What's next: Old-school country will make a full comeback, we hope.

SPOKANE ARENA TURNS 20

Given all the big-time shows that dropped by the Spokane Arena, one might think 2014 was the joint's 20th anniversary celebration, rather than next year. Tool, Mötley Crüe, Blake Shelton with The Band Perry and Elton John all visited, along with smaller gigs by the likes of Boston, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Safe in Sound EDM fest. In April, the arena revealed a "bucket list" poll of locals that named P!nk, Luke Bryan and Bruce Springsteen as the most-desired concerts. So far, none of the 20 bucket-list bands are booked for 2015, but stay tuned. (DN)

What's next: Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Volbeat already are booked. ♦

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