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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

Fund launched to aid KZZU’s Ken Hopkins

Ken Hopkins, part of the popular morning show “Dave, Ken & Molly” on KZZU 92.9 FM, was badly injured in a bicycle wreck on July 13 and has lost feeling in his body from the chest down.

According to KHQ, Hopkins was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, which happened after his bike slid on gravel and he fell.

His co-hosts, Dave Sposito and Molly Allen, and fellow station employees helped put together a GoFundMe page with the aim of raising $50,000 toward Hopkins’ expenses. In two days, the site raised more than $35,000.

“I do have full use of my arms, hands and neck muscles and am hopeful for the return of other functions once the damages heal and swelling returns to normal,” Hopkins wrote on the GoFundMe page. “The list of rehab goals are staggering just to be able to reach the No. 1 goal of transitioning back into my own home but I do list one of my highest priorities as returning to the morning show and radio station that I have been privileged to be part of for the last 30 years.”

In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, Dutch Bros. stores in Spokane, owned by State Rep. Kevin Parker, on Friday will offer all 16-ounce beverages for $2, with $1 of that dedicated to Hopkins and his family.

To donate to the Hopkins fund, click here. For updates, check out KZZU online or the Dave, Ken & Molly page on Facebook.

Binge Watch: “UnREAL”

“UnREAL” has been called one of the “the best TV shows you’re not watching” this summer. And it’s not surprising if you haven’t heard of it, as a weekly drama on Lifetime. And no one would blame you for dismissing it out of hand, as the series follows the production crew and cast of a fictional “The Bachelor”-type reality show.

Stay with me, though, because “UnREAL” is upfront about the ridiculousness of reality dating while creating characters whose identities aren't so easily defined as hero or villain. The show follows producer Rachel (Shiri Appleby), fresh off an on-set nervous breakdown and break-up, as she returns for the latest season of “Everlasting” to see if she can manufacture a love story between British playboy Adam (Freddie Stroma) and his league of potential brides without selling her soul.     

You don’t have to like reality television to enjoy “UnREAL,” especially since most of your prejudices against the genre may be affirmed: it’s not real; the participants are out for fame, not love; the only people who are more screwed up than the contestants are the people running this circus. 

And if you are a “Bachelor” diehard fan, you might be interested to know that “UnREAL” is based on a short film, “Sequin Raze”, written and directed by former “The Bachelor” producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who co-created “UnREAL” with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” veteran Marti Noxon. The tried and true tropes of reality dating shows are so subtly documented that only faithful viewers (including all us hate-watchers) may notice them.

The series confronts some of the touchy subjects that its “real-life” counterparts handle without much grace, like race relations, antiquated gender politics, mental illness…even death. It gets really dark.

The season finale of “UnREAL” airs on Lifetime on Monday, August 3 at 10 p.m. Previous episodes are available through On Demand, the Lifetime App or mylifetime.com (cable subscription required for episodes 1-5).

Are you watching “UnREAL”? What do you think of reality dating shows? Let us know in the comments!

Image via Lifetime

A South Perry summer: Sir Mix-a-Lot and plenty of local bands

The Perry District is turning out to be the place to go if you want to get your free live music fix this summer. The South Perry Street Fair takes over the neighborhood on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. with a parade. Live music starts at 1:30 p.m., and the lineup features local acts Real Life Rockaz, Dead Serious Lovers, Water Monster, Silver Treason, Mama Doll and the Marshall McLean Band.

The Lantern Tap House, 1004 S. Perry St., is also hosting concerts throughout the summer. Upcoming shows include the DJ duo Twin Towers on Aug. 8, Bartlett co-owner Karli Ingersoll’s new side project Windoe on Aug. 15 and Americana twosome Feral Anthem on Aug. 22.

In September, things will get loud again for the second annual Perry Street Shakedown, which takes over the neighborhood on Sept. 11, 12 and 13. The big get this year is “Baby Got Back” rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, who headlines Saturday’s lineup. Other acts include Mama Doll, B Radicals, Milonga and Dem Empire. The event is free, though there’s a $3 cover to hang out in the beer garden.

Below: Sir Mix-a-Lot, a Washington native, performs his signature tune with the Seattle Symphony last year.

Spokane votes acts onto region’s musical bucket list

The top act on Spokane fans’ wish list is Garth Brooks, followed by AC/DC, Pink, Maroon 5 and the Florida Georgia Line.

In May, the Spokane Arena asked fans to submit the names of artists they’d most like to see come to the arena. The result is the Bucket List 2015.

The top 10 acts on the list are: Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Pink, Maroon 5, Florida Georgia Line, Taylor Swift (pictured above), Metallica, U2, Justin Timberlake and Luke Bryan.

Other wish-list prformers include more than a few who have been here in recent years. Among them: Avenged Sevenfold (October 2011), Dierks Bentley (April 2012), Blake Shelton (March 2012 AND September 2014), Pearl Jam (November 2013), Fleetwood Mac (May 2013), Bon Jovi (October 2013), Florida Georgia Line (February 2013), Carrie Underwood (February 2013), Luke Bryan (eight weeks ago) and the Eagles (six weeks ago). Oh, and a couple acts who will be here later this year: Little Big Town and Five Finger Death Punch. Not together, though. Little Big Town will be at the INB Performing Arts Center on Nov. 21, while Five Finger will rock the arena on Sept. 13.

See the full list here.

And if for no reason other than this is the only act in the Top 10 I'd love to see, here's a little AC/DC.


Eagles still soar

There is always something comfortable about the Eagles.

The legendary rock band, after all, has been part of the American soundtrack for more than 40 years. The band’s songs are instantly recognizable to anyone, of any generation, who has ever turned on FM radio. From the folk-flavored country rock of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” to the weirdness of “Hotel California” and sing-along appeal of “Take it Easy,” the music wears well on the ears, even after four decades.

The band has its detractors, of course. Snarky hipsters who scoff at the polished commercialism and ubiquity of the Eagles’ output. The movie character Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski famously isn’t a fan. But for the thousands of faithful who packed the Spokane Arena on Friday night, the first local Eagles concert in more than a decade was exactly what they wanted: A chance to hang out with some consummate musicians and songwriters, watch them deploy their craft, and enjoy some really great tunes.

On stage, the Eagles appeared comfortable as well, all decked out in plaid or checked button-down shirts. Two years into their “History of the Eagles” Tour, the show itself is buffed to a high gloss, which isn’t a bad thing when your fans are paying as much as $180 a ticket. 

For the first set, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit were joined by founding guitarist Bernie Leadon. The first 12 songs traced the arc of the band’s career through the early country-flavored songs: “Saturday Night” and “Train Leaves Here This Morning,” to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Witchy Woman,” and wrapping up with “One of These Nights” and “Take It to the Limit.”

Throughout, fans sat mostly glued to their seats, singing along when the moment was right, laughing at Frey’s mostly lame jokes. The tunes in this part of show were pretty slow, a fact the band acknowledged. Frey thanked the fans for their attention, announced a short break, then promised to come back and play for a really long time.

Which they did. At nearly 3 ½ hours and 27 songs, fans certainly got their money’s worth. After opening the second set with the ballads “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” sung by Walsh, and “I Can’t Tell You Why,” sung by Schmit, the band kicked the tempo up a few notches. “Heartache Tonight,” the Walsh solo numbers “In the City” and “Life’s Been Good,” “The Long Run,” the rocking James Gang cover “Funk #49” and “Life in the Fast Lane” reminded us that the Eagles are a pretty great guitar band. And they still know how to rock.

More importantly, they sounded good as singers. Schmit, whose higher vocals became an important component of the Eagles harmonies, still has the chops to hit the high notes. Walsh’s voice lends that distinctive nasal quality to the band’s sound. Henley and Frey, the two main vocalists, have a little more raggedy edge to their vocals these days. They are voices worn well, like those comfortable shirts that are a joy to slip into.

By the time the encore hit, the crowd was primed for two songs they knew had to be coming: “Hotel California” and “Take it Easy.” In both instances, the band didn’t disappoint as the Eagles brought the audience along for the ride.

It’s easy for some to sit back and take pot shots at a band that has sold millions of records, that hasn’t put out anything new in close to a decade, that seems happy to churn out the hits for devoted fans. But what’s the point? The Eagles’ music holds up as well after all this time. The live music experience is a moment, and for those willing to be in it, it’s always worthwhile. On Friday night, the Eagles showed they are happy to still be playing music, and their fans in the Inland Northwest were thrilled to be able to enjoy it.

Check out Spokesman photographer Dan Pelle's Picture Story from Friday's show here.

R. Ring show canceled, Holy Broke record release still on

R. Ring
, the Ohio-based alt-rock band featuring the Breeders’ Kelley Deal, has had to cancel tonight’s show at the Bartlett due to a family emergency.

But that doesn’t mean the Bartlett has pulled the plug on tonight’s music: Local singer-songwriter Kent Ueland’s solo project the Holy Broke, previously scheduled to open for R. Ring, will now headline the show, celebrating the vinyl release of its debut album “Do It Yourself.”

Tickets for tonight’s show are $7 and can be purchased at the Bartlett’s website or at the door.

Below: Hear “TV” by the Holy Broke, which is featured on “Do It Yourself.”

2015-16 Best of Broadway series announced

West Coast Entertainment's Best of Broadway 2015-26 will kick off with the 20th anniversary of "Riverdance," feature a return engagement of "The Book of Mormon," and include the classic "42nd Street."

"Riverdance" will return to the INB Performing Arts Center from Oct. 22-25. And before you can say, "You'll shoot your eye out," the musical version of "A Christmas Story" will hit town Dec. 3-6.

"The Book of Mormon," which opened the 2014-15 season, will return in 2016 for run from Jan. 26-31. Then from March 24-27, the venerable Broadway musical "42nd Street" lands, followed May 3-8 with the hits show "Disney's Newsies."
Season tickets are available now, with a renewal deadline of May 31.

West Coast Entertainment also is binging 10 additional special engagements. They are: "All Hands on Deck" (Sept. 13), "I Love Lucy Live on Stage" (Oct. 2), "Shaping Sound: Dance Reimagined" (Oct. 30), Hall Hollbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight!" (Nov. 14), the R&B/fusion group Snarky Puppy (Nov. 20), "A Mannheim Steamroller Christmas" (Nov. 22),  "Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam Unleashed" (Dec. 11), the New Shanghai Circus (Feb. 7, 2016), the Illusionists (Feb. 13-14) and the musical "Beauty and the Beast" (April 5-6).

Finally, the National Geographic Live series also will return with Kevin Hand's "The Search for Life Beyond Earth" (Nov. 3), Steve Winter's "On the Trail of Big Cats" (Feb. 9, 2016), "Where the Wild Things Live" with Vincent J. Musi (March 8), and Cedar Wright's "Sufferfest" (April 19).

For details, click here.

Hank Jr., Jackson Browne, Weird Al on tap at Northern Quest

There are a lot of legends heading to Northern Quest Resort and Casino this summer, including those from the worlds of rock, country and comedy. The casino this morning announced its 2015 Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concert lineup. Here it is:

Tickets will go on sale for individual concerts beginning April 10 online at www.northernquest.com or through the casino box office at (509) 481-6700 (toll-free 1-877-871-6772).  Box Office hours are Wednesday thru Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Craig Campbell tickets available March 25

Georgia-raised country singer Craig Campbell will be headlining the opening-night arena concert at the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Tickets sales begin on Mar. 25 at 10 a.m., and can be purchased for $16 at NorthIdahoFair.com or at the administrative office. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and will conclude with a fireworks show.

Campbell broke through the country music scene with the release of his self-titled debut album (2011), which delivered the hits “Family Man,” "Fish” and “When I Get It.” Most recently, Campbell earned his first top 10 smash with the “Keep Them Kisses Comin” from his sophomore album "Never Regret."

“We’re excited for the opportunity to have Craig Campbell perform at this year’s annual North Idaho Fair,” said Ty Thomas, marketing manager for the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. “Campbell’s passion for music is inspiring, and his ability to interact with the crowd will create memories for all to enjoy.”

For more information, visit www.northidahofair.com or call (208) 765-4969.

‘The Jinx’ makes true crime history

The sixth and final episode of the HBO’s docuseries “The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst” aired last night and, oh boy, the final scene captured what may be the greatest moment in true crime history.

As my fiancé remarked, it’s the ending that Sarah Koenig wished she had for "Serial."

If you haven’t watched “The Jinx,” it might be hard to stay unspoiled—we’re talking about real events, including a criminal trial, spanning over 30 years.

And the fact that Durst was arrested in New Orleans on Sunday morning was hard to ignore leading into the finale. Viewers knew something was coming, that there must be a new reveal of evidence, even bigger than in the fifth episode.

But did anyone expect this? (Don’t watch this video if you do not want to do know what happened. Seriously. I warned you.)

If you watched “The Jinx,” what did you think of the big reveal?

Eagles landing in Spokane in May

Rock legends the Eagles are the latest act booked into the Spokane Arena for its 20th season.

The arena is celebrating the year by bringing in big-name and much requested acts, including country stars Miranda Lambert (who was here in February), Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, the metal rock band Volbeat and Def Leppard with Styx and Tesla.

Arena manager Matt Gibson said he believes the Eagles - set to perform on May 29 - will be the biggest act of this celebratory season.

Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 20, through TicketsWest. They start at $49, and will range upward to $179.

The band, which famously broke up, swore they'd never tour again, and has been touring since. They'll be continuing their "History of the Eagles Tour," which started in 2013 to coincide with the release of a documentary of the same name.

The band's list of hits is lengthy. "Hotel California" is probably the most famous (and most overplayed). There's "Desperado," "Lyin' Eyes," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "The Long Run," "Seven Bridges Road," "Take it to the Limit," "One of These Nights," "Tequila Sunrise." You get the idea.

Bensusan show at Chateau Rive canceled

A concert planned for Saturday night at Chateau Rive with international acoustic guitar star Pierre Bensusan has been canceled.

Promoters did not cite a reason for the cancellation. Ticket refunds are available at the Spokane Arena box office or by calling TicketsWest at (800) 325-SEAT.

Binge Watch: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

If you’ve finished the third season of “House of Cards” (what, it’s been available for seven whole days, plus 25 minutes on Feb. 11), and you want something to lighten your mood after 13 episodes of President Underwood’s manipulative sneer, Netflix has a palate cleanser ready to go with an original comedy series created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, both of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” fame.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” stars Ellie Kemper (“The Office,” “Bridesmaids”) as a young woman who lived with an underground apocalypse cult for 15 years and sets out to live “a normal life” in New York City following her rescue.

The show was originally developed for NBC, which placed a 13 episode straight-to-series order in 2013. In November 2014, the show moved to Netflix, along with a two-season commitment.

Although NBC has been home to some of my favorite comedies, recent sitcoms like “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” have garnered critical acclaim without achieving the ratings of 80s and 90s juggernauts, like “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Instead of letting “UKS” try to find a footing among NBC’s dead-on-arrival comedy landscape of “Bad Judge” and “A to Z,” its offbeat characters and sardonic comedic sensibility (see “Breaking News” chyron below) might actually stand a chance with an online streaming service that caters to niche audiences (“Community” also found a second home with Yahoo! Screen after its network cancellation).

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" trailer

All 13 episodes of Season 1 begin streaming at midnight, so settle in with a can of beans in a Florida Marlins hat and your monogrammed purple backpack for a show that might not be for everyone, but based on some choice quotes from the trailer (highlights below), Kemper’s infectious smile and her flawless physical performance, I can already tell it's for me.

"I am one of the Indiana mole women."

"I’m having candy for dinner!"

"Dancing is about butts now!"

"You yell in your sleep, you bite my nails and we still don’t know why you’re afraid of Velcro.”

"Well, I wish I was your yellow hat!"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Are you binging "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"? Tell us what you think in the comments?

Images: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" trailer

Mead High School grad gets on ‘The Voice’

Brenna Yaeger, a 19-year-old who graduated from Mead High School last year, made it through the blind auditions of the NBC singing competition "The Voice" on Tuesday night.

Yaeger, who sang the Miranda Lambert song "The House That Built Me," was a finalist in the 2011 Spokane's Got Talent competition, and she wrote and recorded a single in 2012 called "Car Crash."

Her performance on "The Voice" had two judges vying to have her on their team - Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Given Yaeger's country roots, she went with country superstar Shelton. 

"The Voice" airs on Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Follow Yaeger on Twitter @brennayaeger, on Facebook, and on Instagram. Meanwhile, if you missed it, here's the performance that got Yaeger through to the next level:

Flash-Bach worth checking out

In his review in today’s paper of the Catalyst String Quartet Bach Festival performance at St. John’s Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, Spokesman-Review classical music critic Larry Lapidus wrote this: “that if the world of music holds any pleasure greater than hearing Zuill Bailey play Bach, I have yet to find it.”

Those who love classical music, or those whose interest in it is only passing, have had several chances in recent days to hear what Lapidus is talking about. Bailey has been popping up around town during the noon hour, playing whichever of the six J.S. Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello strikes his fancy.

I’ve caught two of the four held so far ­– the first one, held in the atrium at River Park Square, and yesterday’s, held in the city council chambers in Spokane City Hall. (Certainly a room that could use all the harmony it can get.) Each session has started with an introduction – details about Bach, about the festival, and about Bailey’s cello, a 1693 instrument built as a church bass by the Italian Matteo Gofriller. After the music plays, there’s a pop quiz for the chance to win concert tickets, and an opportunity for questions.

These free “Flash-Bach” concerts are a perfect excuse to spend a little time in the lunch hour enjoying some culture. It’s these kind of artistic events that make a city feel more alive, more vibrant. So if you’re out and about downtown today, head over to the Bank of America building at at noon today. Bailey will be in the lobby, ready to wow you with some Bach.

Can’t make it today? What about Thursday? Bailey will set up in the Kress Gallery in River Park Square (that’s up on the third floor, behind the food court) for a “Bach’s Lunch” concert, also at noon. Brown-bag it from home, or grab something in the mall and enjoy lunch with a beautiful – and free – soundtrack.

The final Flash-Bach concert will be on Friday, at a location yet to be publicly announced (though sources say it will be in the Valley). Check the festival’s Facebook page on Friday morning for details, or visit nwbachfest.org for information on the remaining Twilight Tour concerts featuring violinist Soovin Kim, and the two remaining Classics Concerts on Saturday and Sunday night.  

As Bailey ends the second year in his role as the Northwest Bach Festival’s artistic director, it’s been impossible not to notice how revitalized the event is. And that’s a good thing – not just for fans of classical music, but for Spokane as a whole.

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