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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

Porchfest filled West Central with music

Above: Photo by Dan Pelle of The Spokesman-Review

If you heard music coming from the West Central neighborhood on Saturday, it likely was because of Porchfest. In addition to Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley, who was a performer, the SR's presence included photographer Dan Pelle and staff writer Nina Culver. Culver's story can be accessed by clicking here.

‘Z Nation’ grim, gory, not much fun

You knew it wasn’t going to be great. Not “Downton Abbey” nor “The Walking Dead.”

Because a zombie show created by the folks responsible for “Sharknado” and airing on the SyFy channel is not going to win any Emmy awards.

Still, there was room for hope. The cast sports some real actors with solid résumés – Tom Everett Scott, Harold Perrineau and DJ Qualls among them.

So the answer to the question, “Is the Spokane-filmed series ‘Z Nation’ any good?” Not really.

The series opens two years after a zombie virus has taken hold in the U.S. The government and the military are in tatters, still hoping for a vaccine to halt the virus’ spread. One prisoner, Murphy (Keith Allan), has been given an experimental drug that seems to have worked. The challenge? To get him from New York to a lab in California, where they might be able to turn the antibodies coursing through his blood into a viable vaccine.

 Fast forward a year, and Murphy and the remaining solider tasked with guarding him, Hammond (Perrineau), are making their way west. They stumble on a band of survivors headed by an ex-National Guardsman named Garnett (Scott). When the survivors’ compound is overrun, the remaining few – including fellow guardsman Warren (Kellita Smith) and a self-described “amateur pharmacologist” nicknamed Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) – agree to help Hammond deliver Murphy west. They get radio assistance from Simon Cruller (Qualls), the last remaining soldier stationed at a remote NSA listening base who takes to the airwaves as Citizen Z.

The acting isn’t truly terrible, although Scott does utter one howler of a line (you’ll know it when you hear it). Still, the script is pretty cheesy. The problem with “Z Nation” is that it leans too much toward “The Walking Dead” rather than “Shaun of the Dead.” When the greatest zombie show ever made is already on the air and is widely praised as Great Television, regardless of subject matter, it’s going to be hard to compete. Had the creators of “Z Nation” incorporated more humor into their show, they might have had something. Instead, we’re left with is a show that’s pretty gory – the only way to kill a zombie is with a blow the head, so we’re treated to a lot of bloody skull-bashing – and pretty dour.

Still, for Spokane-area fans, it’ll be fun to play “find your friends” among the hundreds of local extras dressed in their finest zombie attire. Also, “name that location.” While many of the location shots early on in the premiere are nondescript woodlands, the big set piece is filmed at what appears to be the grounds of the Eastern State Hospital.

So, yeah. Check out “Z Nation.” Just keep your expectations in check.

Watch the season premiere of “Z Nation” on the big screen Friday at the Garland Theater, 924 W. Garland Ave. Doors open at 9:15 p.m. for a 10 p.m. screening to benefit the Spokane International Film Festival and the Washington Film Project. Admission is $10. For television viewers, the premiere episode, “Puppies and Kittens,” will be aired at 10 p.m. on the SyFy channel.

In the meantime, you can view the official trailer below, or visit the series website here.





On Saturday, music, poetry will fill West Central porches

Everybody likes a party, and that's what the folks in Spokane's West Central neighborhood are going to be playing host to on Saturday. The event, modestly called Porchfest, was the dream child of Spokane photographer Marshall Peterson and friends. The inaugural fiesta will be held 3 to 7 p.m. and will feature 10 different acts (solo and group) performing at a like number of house porches owned by neighbors gracious enough to get involved.

Click here to get a complete roundup of hosts, performers and a map to the area.

And welcome to West Central.

LeRoy Bell show canceled

The Sept. 20 concert by LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends at the Bing Crosby Theater has been canceled because of a schedule conflict. Refunds are available through TicketsWest. The show’s promoter, Too Far North Productions, hopes to reschedule the concert in the spring.

Aersomith show is on

Rumors have been roiling the past couple days about this weekend's show at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George by rock legends Aerosmith.

Live Nation, the concert's promoter, has confirmed that the show will go on.

The band was forced to cancel a show in California this week, citing drummer Joey Kramer's illness. TMZ reported that Kramer is suffering from heart problems. That TMZ report, however, also indicated the band's weekend show in Washington was canceled. Turn out that part of their report was incorrect.

The show is Saturday night and will feature Slash and Spokane's own Myles Kennedy. Look for an interview with Kennedy tomorrow in 7. 

For tickets and information, click here.

Robin Williams: A mighty talent is gone

Like a lot of kids growing up in the late 1970s, I loved “Mork and Mindy.”

Can't help it. Still do. (Especially since I'm safe in the knowledge that photographic evidence of myself wearing rainbow suspenders and a T-shirt that said “Nanu Nanu” is long gone.)

That I'd gone on to love “Mork” star Robin Williams in so many films (“Moscow on the Hudson,” “The World According to Garp,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Again”) I thought was proof that he was supremely talented - and I had good taste.

So when Robin Williams' office called me at the appointed time on Jan. 8, 2013 for a 10-minute interview with the Oscar winner, I was a bit nervous. What do you ask Robin Williams? Especially when you only have 10 minutes? We stuck to the script - he was calling to talk about his tour with fellow comedian David Steinberg, in which the two longtime friends got on stage and just talked. I can only imagine the show at the Martin Woldson Theatre at the Fox was amazing - I couldn't make it. But I hung on to the recording of our brief telephone conversation. Listening to it again today, I'm reminded of what a funny guy he was. His death this morning at age 63 is a real loss.

Below are some excerpts from that 2013 interview. In this first one, he talks about getting back to his standup roots:

In this clip, he talks about traveling around to smaller venues in smaller markets:

Here, he recounts the time he met Marlon Brando. Really:

Finally, I ask the “What can people expect?” question. Craziness, if his answer is any indication.

You can find a link to the story I wrote back then right here. And finally, here's a clip from “Aladdin,” the reason my kids know the name Robin Williams:

Nanu nanu.

Sir Paul rocks Missoula

I headed to Missoula earlier this week to check out Paul McCartney at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Worth. Every. Penny.

Sir Paul still rocks. Sir Paul still puts on a great show. Sir Paul still impresses.

When your catalog is as deep as his, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to plan a set list that ticks every box with fans. Sure, there were a few tracks from his latest record, “New,” and they sounded pretty good. He hit the highlights of his Wings years with “Band on the Run,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Live and Let Die” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He touched upon a range of Beatles material, from “I Saw Her Standing There” to “Let It Be.” Things got fun with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “All Together Now,” more subdued with “Blackbird” and yes, he did “Yesterday,” “The Long and Winding Road” and “Hey Jude,” too.

One of the highlights of the evening was a performance of the George Harrison song “Something,” from “Abbey Road,” which McCartney played on a ukulele given to him by his late friend and bandmate. It was a touching and lovely version of a classic song.

With a crowd of 25,000, the show on Tuesday has been called the largest ever held in the state of Montana. And it was clear the assembled masses loved every minute of the nearly three-hour show. The Missoulian newspaper devoted much of its front page to McCartney coverage (see above) and posted a photo gallery of images on its website. If McCartney ever comes this way again, I’d be hard pressed to let the chance to see him pass me by.

Only downside? Having to drive to a different time zone to see the show. Wouldn't it be great if Spokane had a venue large enough to host these big outdoor concerts?

There's already a lot of video clips from the show posted online, much of it not very good. This one's not too bad:



Take a dip into Water Monster

I've been watching music videos since the early 1980s, when MTV first began broadcasting the likes of The Human League, Men at Work, Pat Benatar and more to an audience hungry to see moving pictures along with their favorite songs. So I was pleasantly surprised when Adam Boyd, with whom I serve on the board of the Spokane International Film Festival, posted the embed below. It's a music video for the Spokane musical group Water Monster, and it was made by local filmmaker Sean Finley.

I should say that I'm a big fan of all three: Water Monster, Sean Finley and Adam Boyd. Take a look and you just might become a fan, too.

The Bartlett plans fall music fest

The Bartlett has been open for less than a year, but already the all-ages venue is leaving its stamp on the local music scene. Last week, the venue announced via its Facebook page its own music festival, called Bartfest, which will occur Sept. 5 to 7.

The goal of the festival is, according to the event website, to showcase “local, regional and national talent,” and the lineup currently boasts Spokane acts Marshall McLean, Dead Serious Lovers and Water Monster. Headliners (not local) include Hundred Waters, Robert DeLong and Seattle’s Pickwick.

The three-day festival will take place at two separate venues – the Bartlett, 228 W. Sprague Ave., which is all ages, and its their next-door neighbors nYne Bar and Bistro, which is 21 and older.

Full festival passes are currently on sale for $90; single day tickets are not yet available. Click here to purchase tickets and to view a partial festival lineup.

Here's a video of Pickwick performing their song “Window Sill” during a Bartlett fundraiser concert last February.


Illness behind Allman cancelation

By now, you’ve likely heard that the Gregg Allman show scheduled for the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday night has been postponed. No reason was given by the promoter, Square Peg Concerts. However, The Oregonian in Portland – where Allman was scheduled to perform Sunday at the Waterfront Blues Festival – reported that Allman checked into a hospital on Monday.

The Oregonian quoted the Waterfront Blues Festival’s artistic director as saying Allman had canceled the whole solo tour. Allman’s team told the paper they hope to reschedule. There’s been no public announcement as to what prompted Allman’s hospitalization.

Ticket refunds are available at the point of purchase.


Bing’s getting a case of the blues

Walking to work the other morning, I noticed the marquee at the Bing Crosby Theater had a case of the blues.

Blues as in Eric Bibb, Jonny Lang and Robert Cray.

Bibb, an acclaimed acoustic blues-roots singer-songwriter, will visit the Bing on July 9. Up next is Jonny Lang, the one-time child prodigy who released his first record at age 14. He’ll bring his gospel-infused blues rock to town on Aug. 7.

Then there’s Robert Cray. The blues legend from Tacoma, the guy who cut his teeth in the Eugene blues scene of the 1970s (along with fellow Northwest blues pioneer Curtis Salgado) will play the Bing on Aug. 11.

Of course, while Cray has won Grammys and sold millions of records, his place in pop culture history was cemented with his uncredited performance as the bass player for Otis Day & the Knights in 1978’s “Animal House.” Check out the famous “Shout” scene here:


Tickets for all three shows are on sale now through TicketsWest, (800) 325-SEAT or online here.


1 week + 1 college campus = 2 jazz masters

It’s a big week for Spokane jazz fans, as two big-name performers plan gigs at Spokane Falls Community College.

First up is guitarist Bill Frisell (above). The Bainbridge Island resident is practically a cottage industry of collaboration, having worked with everyone from Ginger Baker and Elvis Costello to Norah Jones and Laurie Anderson. This Grammy winner, called a “wizard of touch and harmony” by the New York Times in January, has recorded nearly 40 albums, the most recent of which is 2013’s “Big Sur.” His appearance at SFCC on Friday will include Eyvind Kang (viola) and Rudy Royston (drums), with whom he recorded the 2010 album “Beautiful Dreamers.”

The trio will be in the performing arts auditorium (Building 15) from 1 to 2:30 p.m. today. And oh, yeah. The show is free.

Then on Thursday, jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas hits campus with a free master class in the afternoon and a concert that night. Douglas has released more than 20 albums since 1993.

As the Times noted in 2012, Douglas is one of the busiest trumpeter/composers in jazz, and his “body of work reflects an inveterate engagement with the world, taking inspiration from literature, politics, dance and film, as well as jazz and new-music traditions.” No kidding. He once, with his trio Keystone, released a CD of music inspired by silent film star Fatty Arbuckle. “The Infinite,” from 2001, featured music inspired by Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) and Rufus Wainwright. (His guest star on the 2004 record “Strange Liberation”? Frisell.)

The free master class will be held in the Building 15 auditorium from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Thursday. The evening’s concert will be held in the same space, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 general, $10 for students, available at the SFCC cashier’s office, Amend Music Center, Hoffman Music, or through any TicketsWest outlet.

SFCC is located at 3410 W. Fort George Wright Drive. For information on the Douglas show, call (509) 533-3757. For details on the Frisell show, call (509) 533-3741.

Here's a little Dave Douglas to get you in the mood


Casino adds McGraw, Keith; Gorge gets Petty

The summer is falling into shape.

This week, Northern Quest announced the remainder of its outdoor summer concert series, with three of the shows going on sale Friday:

  • Happy Together 30th Anniversary Tour (including The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Gary Lewis & The Playboys and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels) July 10 (on sale Friday; $25, $35 and $45)
  • Tim McGraw with guests Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope – July 30 (on sale Friday; $89, $109 and $129)
  • Train – Aug. 1 (on sale Friday; $75, $95, $115)
  • Foreigner,  Styx and Loverboy – Aug. 3 (on sale May 31; $55, $65, $85)
  • Toby Keith with Joe Nichols – Sept. 22 (on sale May 31; $75, $95, $115)

Previously announced shows in the 2014 Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concerts are:

  • New Edition with Tony! Toni! Toné! (New Edition featuring all original members: Bobby Brown, Rickey Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, and Jonnie Gill) – July 9
  • Disco Quest 70s Party with KC and The Sunshine Band & The Village People – July 19
  • Rascal Flatts – Aug. 8
  • Jeff Foxworthy – Sept. 12

For tickets or more information on the series, visit Northern Quest online com or call (877) 871-6772.

Meanwhile, the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, added one more show to lineup that already includes Arcade Fire, Bruno Mars, Aerosmith, Linkin Park and – of course – the Dave Matthews Bands.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with special guest Steve Winwood, will pull into the Gorge on Aug. 15.  The show will happen on the heels of the release of “Hypnotic Eye,” the first album from the Heartbreakers in four years. It’s being released on July 29.Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. May 31 through Live Nation and Ticketmaster outlets. Prices are $45 and $127.

Meanwhile, here's a little vintage Tom Petty to get you in the mood.


Jackson’s homecoming around the corner

This Sunday in the Today section, we'll have an interview with Cheyenne Jackson, the actor from Newport who graduated from the stages of Spokane to the Great White Way, with leading roles in “All Shook Up,” “Finian's Rainbow” and “Xanadu.” Jackson will be performing a homecoming concert at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Tuesday night - his first show in the area in more than 15 years. Here's one little tidbit from the Cheyenne Jackson interview that didn’t make the story, but is fun to share.

Not too long ago, Jackson was performing at Birdland, the famous New York City jazz club. He told the audience about growing up in
the Inland Northwest and mentioned Coeur d’Alene.

“I heard this laugh that was familiar, and I looked over and it was Roger Welch,” Jackson said.

Welch, the former Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre artistic director fired last year after 20 years, has relocated to New York and had gone to see Jackson perform.

“I hadn’t seen him for so long,” Jackson said. “So I called him out and thanked him for hiring me for ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.' ”

Jackson will be performing songs from the Great American Songbook this week with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. Tickets to Jackson's show are on sale through the Fox box office, the Spokane Symphony website  or through any TicketsWest outlets. Prices are $35 and $48.

In the meantime, check out this clip of Jackson singing “What'll I Do?”



Sandpoint’s 2014 festival season revealed

The Festival at Sandpoint lineup this summer will include classic rockers, country favorites, jammers, indie folkers and talented kids. Here's the list of performers by date:

Aug. 7: The festival kicks off with The Head and the Heart, the Seattle-based indie folk band that has gone from busking on street corners to playing on national television and touring the U.S. and Europe. Opening is the Seattle duo Mikey & Matty. ($39.95)

Aug. 8: Huey Lewis and the News will take the stage to show that the heart of rock 'n' roll is indeed still beating. Now in their 35th year, the San Francisco stalwarts are sure to perform their many hit singles, including “I Want a New Drug,” “Hip to be Square,” “The Power of Love,” “Heart of Rock & Roll” and “Heart and Soul.” Opening will be Sandpoint's own Miah Kohal Band. ($59.95)

Aug. 9: The reunited roots trio Nickel Creek heads to the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. The band, which has been dormant since 2007, is hitting a few festivals this year to mark its 25th anniversary, and Sandpoint is one of them. Opening acts are the bluegrass outfit Head for the Hills and county-pop band Pear, featuring Sandpoint native Lynae Oliver. ($54.95)

Aug. 10: The annual Family Concert arrives onstage, with the Spokane Youth Orchestra and Sandpoint's Studio One Dancers teaming for an evening of music, movement and fun. ($6)

Aug. 14: The following weekend, Sandpoint gets a dose of funky with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Trumpet and trombone player Troy Andrews grew up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans (and even performed on HBO's hit series of the same name). He's been playing in clubs since he was 6, giving rise to his nickname, Trombone Shorty. Also on the lineup for this dance party is collaborative jam quintet Galactic. ($39.95)

Aug. 15: Ray LaMontagne is sure to sing “You Are the Best Thing,” “Let It Be Me” and “Repo Man” during his set. Opening for him will be the Belle Brigade, the sibling duo of Barbara and Ethan Gruska. The Gruskas come from a musical family - their grandfather is none other than legendary film composer John Williams. ($64.95)

Aug. 16: The Super Saturday show features the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry. Together, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have scored 14 Top 10 singles - five of which have hit No. 1. Also on the bill that night are up-and-coming country singer Wade Bowen and the popular duo Chris Webster & Nina Gerber. ($54.95)

Aug. 17: The festival concludes as it typically does: with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. The program, conducted by Gary Sheldon, will include Claude Debussy's “Sacred and Profane Dances,” Gioachino Rossini's Overture to “The Thieving Magpie,” and Pablo de Sarasate's “Gypsy Airs,” featuring a solo by violinist and concertmaster Mateusz Wolski. Fireworks will follow.

Tickets are on sale now at the festival office, 525 Pine St., in Sandpoint, by calling (208) 265-4554 or (888) 265-4554, online at www.festivalatsandpoint.com, or at all TicketsWest outlets.

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