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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

More summer music festivals announce lineups

(Pictured: Seattle-based hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces are one of the headliners at this year’s Volume Musical Festival.)

The weather’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer and it seems like new summer music festivals are popping up every year. Here are some of the upcoming local festivals that most recently announced their lineups:

June 3 and 4 – The jampacked lineup of Inlander’s Volume Music Festival features pretty much every local band currently active, with shows spread out over two days and 10 venues. Local heavyweights include Marshall McLean, Pine League, Loomer and Folkinception; traveling acts include Shabazz Palaces, Ayron Jones and the Way, Never Young, Brothers from Another, the Hoot Hoots and Kris Orlwoski. Two-night passes start at $20.

June 10 to 12 – Elkfest takes over a block in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood every June, offering a weekend of free music from local and touring acts. This year’s headliners: Los Angeles reggae artists the Expanders, Alabama’s Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires and Seattle’s Down North. A full schedule will be announced in the weeks before the event.

August 27Green Fest is only in its third year, but it’s already bringing some impressive names to the Spokane Valley’s Black Diamond, 9614 E. Sprague Ave. Headliners include pop punkers Bowling for Soup and “Because I Got High” rapper Afroman; local talent includes the Nixon Rodeo, the Ongoing Concept, Free the Jester and the Broken Thumbs. Tickets are $30 through TicketsWest; 18 and over only.

Other upcoming outdoor festivals to look forward to:

Sasquatch, May 27 to 30 – Headliners at the Gorge Amphitheater’s annual Memorial Day weekend festival include the Cure, Florence and the Machine, Disclosure and Major Lazer.

The Festival at Sandpoint, Aug. 4 to 14 – This year’s biggest names include Bruce Hornsby, Emmylou Harris, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Ben Harper.

Casino adds shows from Parton, Duran Duran

There's a healthy dose of '80s nostalgia happening in Spokane this summer.

Northern Quest added to its summer concert series this morning with the announcement of two new shows: Duran Duran on Sept. 2, and the legendary Dolly Parton on Sept. 22.

Duran Duran, who last played Spokane on the 2005 reunion tour, is on the road in support of their latest album, "Paper Gods." They join a summer concert season already heavy on '80s britpop bands, including Tears for Fears on June 15 at the INB and Culture Club with the English Beat and Berlin at Northern Quest on Aug. 12. A non-British icon from the '80s, Pat Benatar, will be at the casino on Aug. 27, with Melissa Etheridge.

Parton, meanwhile, is not really considered an 80s act, but she had some of her biggest crossover hits in the decade, including her Oscar-nominated theme to the film "9-to-5" and the Kenny Rogers duet "Islands in the Stream." The country legend, one of the best songwriters to ever come out of Nashville, is billing this tour as her biggest in more than 25 years.

Tickets to the previously announced summer shows at Northern Quest, which also include Dierks Bentley, the Avett Brothers, Goo Goo Dolls and Big & Rich, are on sale through the casino website, here. Tears for Fears at the INB went on sale Friday, and tickets are available here.

Duran Duran tickets are $65, $85 and $105; Parton's show is $89, $109 and $129. Both go on sale at 8:30 a.m. Saturday through the casino box office, (509) 481-2800, or online.

FWIW, we'd be shocked if Parton didn't play this one when she's here in September. And I'd love it if she sang this one.

(Above: Duran Duran perform at Day 1 of the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 in Las Vegas. Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP.)

Springsteen took us down to ‘The River’

The first time I saw Bruce Springsteen was sometime in the 1990s. I'd first heard of him in the early '70s from a couple of guys who'd just moved to San Diego from New jersey. But other than the song "Rosalita," I was underwhelmed. For some reason, Springsteen just didn't speak to me.

Things happened over the years. I left San Diego for graduate school in Eugene (do I have to add "Ore." to that? seriously?), got my first newspaper job in Cottage Grove (yes, Ore.) and then, as the '70s evolved into the '80s, I moved to Spokane, went to work for The Spokesman-Review and settled into a decade of listening to the bands that MTV made famous — but still didn't develop an affection for Springsteen.

Then came the '90s and major life changes. After those changes settled, I met a woman who, having attended the Camden, N.J., school Rutgers University, was well familiar with everything the E Street Band had to offer. She'd attended at last one show of every tour the band had put on. She'd even been to Asbury Park.

So when the opportunity came to buy tickets to a Springsteen show at the Tacoma Dome, I — with a little urging from my friend Leslie Kelly — got on the phone and managed to purchase tickets. Which, as luck would have it, placed us in the 10th row. And gave me the opportunity to see what all the fuss was about: the energy, the showmanship, the poetry of Springsteen's lyrics.

It was those lyrics that spoke to me most last Thursday night when we caught Springsteen at Seattle's KeyArena. We weren't in the 10th row (which was all people standing anyway), but we were seated directly across the arena and so the sound was good, the sightlines were clear — and, in any event, the large-screen TVs made viewing easy.

And for the first two-plus hours, the band played the entirety of Springsteen's "The River" album. Then they went into a greatest-hits set, which lasted for another near-two hours. At least that's what I've heard. We were scheduled to catch a 12:50 a.m. flight to New York, so we had to leave early — and, yes, we missed the appearance by Eddie Vedder.

But I did come to appreciate what I learned that first night that I saw Springsteen at the Tacoma Dome: Nobody works harder than this guy. And after the show, I went back to look at the lyrics of "The River" and was struck by the power of the man's poetry. Especially this line:

Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse

I came late to Springsteen fandom. But I made it here. And I'll go see him as long as he has enough energy to take the stage.

Chances are that I'll drop before he does. 

Aldean, Church, Urban headline Watershed

Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Keith Urban are on the bill as the annual Watershed country music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre expands to two weekends for 2016, July 29-31 and Aug. 5-7.

Best things? Fans won't have to choose to see one act over another, or pay to see both weekends. Aldean, Church and Urban will be at both. As will music legend Merle Haggard, not to mention Travis Tritt, Neal McCoy and Kacey Musgraves.

Passes go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through watershedfest.com, where you can go for additional information on performers and the experience. Weekend passes are $199. This show typically sells out in minutes, so if you want to go, don't delay.

15th annual Sasquatch Music Festival announces lineup

The lineup of the annual Sasquatch Musical Festival, which has taken over the Gorge Amphitheater every Memorial Day weekend for the last 15 years, has officially been announced.

Some of this year’s headliners include post-punk legends the Cure (who previously headlined in 2008), Florence and the Machine, Disclosure and Alabama Shakes (pictured above). The four-day lineup is rounded out by Sufjan Stevens, Major Lazer, M83, Grimes, A$AP Rocky, Kurt Vile, Purity Ring, Allen Stone, Yo La Tengo, Vince Staples and others.

Though predictions of an appearance by the recently reunited LCD Soundsystem didn’t pan out, the Sasquatch ’16 lineup does boast a number of artists who have made stops at Spokane venues within the last year – Beat Connection, Noah Gunderson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Telekinesis, Tacocat, Shannon and the Clams, Deep Sea Diver and Joseph are all scheduled to perform.

Festival passes are now on sale at sasquatchfestival.com and cost $350. Daily schedules have yet to be released.

Below: “Ship to Wreck” by Sasquatch headliners Florence and the Machine.

Boz Scaggs coming to the Fox

Boz Scaggs, whose put albums at the top of Billboard's rock and jazz album charts, will perform at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on March 13. Tickets go on sale Monday (Jan. 4) through TicketsWest.

Scaggs, a former member of the Steve Miller Band, broke through as a solo artist with his multi-platinum 1976 album "Silk Degrees," which spawned the hit singles "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle." He's released 10 albums since then, including the No. 1 jazz release "But Beautiful."

Tickets will be $38, $49, $59, and $62. For tickets or more information, call the Fox box office at (509) 624-1200 (or stop by at 1001 W. Sprague Ave.) or visit the Fox website.

Tony Bennett booked for symphony gala

According to the Spokane Symphony website, the illustrious Tony Bennett will be in Spokane on June 4 to help the symphony mark its 70th anniversary.

The gala, set for the Spokane Convention Center, will feature the 18-time Grammy winner and American icon performing with a quartet. Tickets are not cheap, costing from $225 and $275, and are on sale now through TicketsWest. Included are dinner, the concert and post-show dancing.

Just to get you in the mood, here's Bennett performing his most iconic hit, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."

Bowie returns to Earth, and Caruso sticks the landing

The reviews are in for former Spokane actress Sophia Anne Caruso.

Caruso, 14 (pictured at left), is co-starring in "Lazarus" off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop. The musical stars Michael C. Hall (of "Dexter" and "Six Feet Under" fame, pictured at right) in a role made famous by David Bowie.

In fact, Bowie's fingerprints are all over "Lazarus," a sequel of sorts to "The Man Who Fell To Earth," the 1976 Nicholas Roeg film Bowie starred in that was based on the novel by Walter Tevis. Bowie wrote the script with Enda Walsh ("Once"), and it uses new material as well as old hits, deep cuts and new arrangements of classic Bowie songs.

"Lazarus," directed by Ivo van Hove, centers on Thomas Jerome Newton, the humanoid alien who left his dying planet to find water on Earth we met in "The Man Who Fell to Earth." It's now 40 years later, and he's still here, trapped, un-aged, filthy rich and depressed.

Caruso plays Girl, an ethereal being who wants to help Newton get home.

The musical opened Monday and has garnered some positive reviews, and some head scratching. It certainly doesn't sound like a breezy night of theater. As Ben Brantley pointed out in his New York Times review, "Listening to the characters talk, your response is likely to be either an irritated 'Oh, please,' or a dumbfounded 'Huh?' But then, the music (performed by a ravishing-sounding band, divided from the stage by a transparent wall) starts up. So do a host of visual effects that mirror and mock the people singing or suggest that they (and you) have tumbled into a three-dimensional television set that is perpetually changing channels."

The Guardian simply called it "a thrilling theatrical odyssey - and almost impossible to understand." In the Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney concluded, "Whether or not the outre folly of 'Lazarus' pays off is wide open to debate, but this may well be the nearest thing to a Bowie musical that any of us could have hoped for. At the very least, it's unlike anything else out there and it's certainly not banal." He also wrote: "Many of the new arrangements are gorgeous, notably the final number, 'Heroes,' performed by Hall and Caruso as a duet of healing deliverance. The fact that they're bodysurfing in a pool of spilt milk as they sing is typical of the show's spacey oddity."

Caruso's performance earned positive notices from a number of critics, including Brantley, who described her as "radiant."
Deadline.com's Jeremy Gerard called Caruso "haunting," while Kory Grow in Rolling Stone  wrote, "Caruso breathes just enough drama into the cavemen and sailors of 'Life on Mars' after years of overdramatic cover versions. It's all strange and wonderful and heartbreaking and funny in alternating measure." Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones said, "Hall and young Caruso have a palpable emotional connection — weird as it is, this actually is the one relationship in the show that feels rooted in reality, even though neither of the participants are human." And Slate's Chris O'Leary called Caruso "an astonishing young talent, whom I expect will be starring in Broadway plays for the rest of the century."

The initial run of "Lazarus" sold out in minutes, so it was extended to Jan. 20. That sold out, too. Mostly. Looks like there were a few seats left Tuesday morning for closing night. Click here for details.

Since leaving Spokane, where she starred as Annie for Spokane Civic Theatre and as Helen Keller at (the former) Interplayers Theatre, she's pursued an acting career in New York. She appeared as one of the von Trapp children in NBC's live musical "The Sound of Music" in 2013 and was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award as "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play" for her work in the off-Broadway production of "The Nether." For more information about Caruso, click here.

Binge Watch preview: “Transparent”

Post script to last week's Thanksgiving edition: Amazon Prime released the first episode of the second season of Emmy-winning "Transparent" last night. The remaining seven episodes will be available on Friday, Dec. 11.

The first season followed the Pfefferman family as patriarch Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) comes out as a transgender woman, now Maura, to her grown children and ex-wife. While the half-hour series is darkly comedic, it's primarily thoughtful and sad. It’s also infuriating as the Pfefferman children make the same selfish mistakes in their relationships at every turn.

Nothing appears to have changed in season two, as barely divorced Sarah (Amy Landecker) walks down the aisle with a rekindled college flame, middle child Josh (Jay Duplass) shares a secret against his partner's wishes and youngest sister Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) generally stirs up trouble with her compulsive lies.

We also learn that Maura has not come out to her mother, and is estranged from her sister Bryna (Jenny O'Hara). I'm much more interested in exploring Maura's feelings and relationships—especially regarding her ex-wife and current housemate Shelly (Judith Light)—than her kids', but I think we're in for plenty of lying and cheating between the younger Pfeffermans this season.

If you were able to stomach the family dysfunction of "Casual," you might be ready for an even bigger dose in "Transparent." This uncomfortable second season teaser is merely a taste of the awkwardness that awaits you.

Binge Watch: Thanksgiving edition

One of greatest things about cord-cutting (other than the savings) is that you aren’t tied to your TV and cable box to watch popular shows, which is especially handy during holiday travels. With a Wi-Fi connection and mobile device, you can binge watch on planes, trains and automobiles (non-drivers only).

When you need a break from holiday cheer, check out a few of my favorite newish half-hour shows that don’t quite fit into the sitcom category. I think of them as off-kilter rom-drams featuring eccentric families that will make you really appreciate your own.



While originally broadcast on Channel 4 in the U.K. earlier this year, “Catastrophe” was available to U.S. viewers through Amazon Prime Instant Video this summer. American comedian and writer Rob Delaney co-created and stars in the series with Irish actress Sharon Horgan about two relative strangers who become a couple after a vacation fling leads to a high-risk pregnancy.

With only six episodes, the short series mirrors the brief courtship, engagement and marriage of the two middle-aged protagonists as they grapple with cohabitation, work and anxiety about impending parenthood. It sounds intense, but the good-natured banter between Delaney and Horgan keeps the tone friendly, for the most part.

The second season is currently airing in the UK; its Amazon Prime release date has yet to be announced.

"Master of None"

"Master of None"

If you read comedian Aziz Ansari’s recent non-fiction book “Modern Romance” or watched his stand-up special “Live at Madison Square Garden,” some of the plotlines in his Netflix original series “Master of None” will seem a little familiar.

But that doesn’t make the series any less enjoyable, especially the episodes that embrace bringing up topics that aren’t usually addressed on film—how racism and sexism in media feed prejudice in society, the immigrant experience in America and the realization that old people are just people who got old.

If you’re visiting family over the holidays, I recommend viewing “Parents” and “Old People” in advance; maybe you'll be inspired to instigate some of the same conversations Dev has with his parents and his girlfriend’s grandmother with your own relatives.

A bonus fun fact is that Dev’s on-screen parents are Ansari’s actual parents who have never acted before. Keep that in mind when Shoukath Ansari wins an Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series next year.



For something a little darker, brace yourself for Hulu original “Casual.” Following a divorce, psychiatrist Valerie (Michaela Watkins) and her teenage daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr) move in with Valerie’s brother Alex (Tommy Dewey), whose background as a successful dating website founder qualifies him to give his sister jaded and brutally honest dating (or hooking-up) advice, but leaves his own love life lacking.

Watkins’ previous ventures on “Saturday Night Live” and “Trophy Wife” were sadly short-lived, but “Casual” has already been renewed for a 13-episode second season. Her performance is simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious, and reaches some “Office”-level, face-covering, cringe-worthy moments, especially in “…”, as in:

iMessage Ellipsis

Last week’s Thanksgiving episode “Bottles” depicts what might be the most mortifying family dinner imaginable. Proceed with caution. Or, at least, wine.

Catch ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ live or on TV

These days, pretty much anything is used as material for a stage show. I recently saw a billboard advertising the Dec. 3-6 run of the musical version of "A Christmas Story," which came as a surprise. I never knew Ralphie could sing — especially with a bar of soap in his mouth.

Arlo Guthrie, too, is roaming the country with musical stage show titled "Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour" Based on a real incident, which occurred in 1965, "Alice's Restaurant" is a song from Guthrie's 1967 debut album that was made into a 1969 film directed by Arthur Penn. As you can see from the link above, Guthrie will perform his stage show on April 23 at the Bing Crosby Theater. And, it seems, only a few balcony tickets are left unsold.

Prior to that event, however, local Public Broadcasting station KSPS is going to broadcast a version of the show. PBS is scheduled to broadcast the show nationally on Thanksgiving. But according to an email press release I received this morning from Blue Sky Productions, KSPS is supposed to broadcast "Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Concert with Arlo Guthrie" on Dec. 6 (the show was taped live on May 21 at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA.)

Either way, you should check regularly in at the KSPS site to discover the specific date and time. But whether you see the show live or on TV, it's likely you'll end up satisfied. After all — sing along now — "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant …"

‘Z Nation’ gets third season order

The made-in-Spokane zombie apocalypse drama "Z Nation" has been given a third season by Syfy, according to numerous published accounts Friday.

The Hollywood Reporter said that the channel ordered 15 episodes to air next year.

That should be cause for celebration at the Garland Theater, where tonight's episode - directed by Spokane's own Jason McKee - will be screened. Another local director, Juan Mas, directed the episode that will air next Friday.

Tonight's special screening begins at 9 p.m. the Garland, 924 W. Garland Ave. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit WAfilmPAC, an organization that supports in the film industry in Washington.

Can't make to the Garland but want to see McKee's episode? It's on SyFy tonight at 10 p.m.

"Z Nation" is produced by The Asylum in collaboration with North by Northwest.

Paisley tickets on sale Friday

Country superstar Brad Paisley will return to the Spokane Arena on Feb. 12 for his first Spokane appearance in four years. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, through TicketsWest outlets. Call (800) 325-SEAT or visit www.ticketswest.com. Prices are $59.75, $39.75 and $25.

The Crushin’ It World Tour will also feature opening acts Eric Paslay and Cam. The latter was named as one of Rolling Stone's 10 country artists to watch this past spring, and she also wrote "Maybe You're Right" for Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" album.

Nov. 2 deadline for Sound Off! showcase

If you know any aspiring young musicians, you might want to tip them off to this opportunity.

Seattle's EMP invites Northwest bands and musicians age 21 and younger to apply for the 15th annual Sound Off! Battle of the Bands showcase.

Musicians from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, are encouraged to apply. All genres of original music are accepted. Bands are evaluated by a panel of judges for the following criteria: song composition and arrangement, creativity and originality, technical ability and musicianship.

Twelve bands will be selected to perform at 2016 Sound Off! concerts in February and March at EMP. All semifinalists are awarded with media training, a professional photo shoot, participation in a music industry panel and a festival performance. Prizes for finalists also include musical instruments, recording time, radio airplay and future performance opportunities.

Sound Off! applications are due Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Contact SoundOff@EMPmuseum.org with questions.

Comedian John Mulaney jokes at The Fox on Thursday

You may (or, given the low ratings, may not) recognize John Mulaney from his short-lived “Seinfeld”-esqe FOX sitcom last year. Mulaney was also a writer on “Saturday Night Live” from 2008 to 2013, and co-created the character Stefon with Bill Hader.

But don’t let those credits stop you from checking out Mulaney’s stand up at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox tomorrow night. He’s really very funny.

For a preview of his style, Mulaney’s two stand-up albums are available on Spotify. My favorite bit is the closer on his 2009 album “The Top Part” about the best meal he ever had.

Mulany also appeared on the sketch comedy series “Kroll Show” as George St. Geegland, associate of Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll), in which the two senior New Yorkers host a cable access prank show with a very specific conceit.

Tickets ($34 - $49) are still available for Mulaney’s Spokane appearance (recommended for mature audiences).

Image via Huffington Post