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Archive: Music & Entertainment / Spokane and North Idaho

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

Ziggy Marley gig at WSU canceled

Reggae legend Ziggy Marley was scheduled to appear Saturday night at Beasley Coliseum as part of the Washington State University Humanitas Festival. That appearance has been canceled, according to the festival website. The notice is posted below:

"Due to unforeseen circumstances the Ziggy Marley concert scheduled for Beasley Coliseum on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 7:30pm, as part of the Humanitas Festival, has been canceled.  The concert has not been rescheduled.  Don’t forget about the all the other great performers scheduled for the Humanitas Festival. See Below.


If you purchased your tickets online or by phone through TicketsWest your credit card account will automatically be credited.

If you purchased your tickets at Beasley Coliseum or at an outlet you will need to send your tickets to:

TicketsWest: Refund, 720 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA  99201 and don’t forget to include your contact information (Name, Address, Phone, Email).

Foo Fighters rock the Gorge

(Above: a photo taken with my iPhone of the Foo Fighters at the Gorge Amphitheatre on Saturday night. As it's impossible to get a good concert photo with an iPhone, this is the best we can do.)

It’s been 20 years since Dave Grohl created Foo Fighters. The group’s self-titled debut, recorded single-handedly by Grohl in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death and Nirvana’s demise, was a fast and furious 44-minute blast of melodic rock.

Two decades, seven albums and multiple Grammy Awards later, Grohl and his band are still making raucous music. And if Saturday night’s show at the Gorge Amphitheatre is an indication, they’ll be doing it for years to come.

The show was high energy, loud, and fun – all that you’d want from a Foo Fighters set. And Grohl proved himself to be one of the hardest working showmen around. Earlier this summer, he fell off a stage in Sweden and broke his leg. Not only did he come back to finish that show that same night, he was determined to complete the band’s 20th anniversary tour.

His solution: a kickass rock ’n’ roll throne bedecked by guitar necks, situated atop a set of speakers and complete with laser lights. “It has a cup holder,” he told the crowd, grabbing a red Solo cup and taking a swig of his “vocal medicine.” He designed it himself, he said – apparently under the influence of oxycontin – and flashed that first sketch on the screen above the stage. The throne is an eye-catching set piece, one that Grohl used to full effect. With his right leg still in a cast boot, Grohl may be confined to the seat but in no way was immobilized. He managed to headbang at will and give his upper body one hell of a workout while the throne traveled up and down the stage.

The show opened with a blistering four-song sprint through “All My Life,” “Times Like These,” “Learn to Fly” and “Something From Nothing.” The band – Nate Mendel on bass, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear on guitar, Taylor Hawkins on drums and Rami Jaffee on keyboards – next launched into “The Pretender.” A fan favorite, judging from the crowd rocking along with fists pumping.

Grohl then slowed things down for “Big Me,” performing it illuminated by fans’ cellphones and lighters. It looked and sounded pretty great.

Anyone who’s been to a Foo Fighters show knows Grohl loves to talk. And he did. He talked about this being a quasi hometown show, given the band’s birthplace in Seattle, and how he appreciated the beautiful setting above the Columbia River. He talked about parenthood and the 7:45 a.m. school drop-off. One of the best anecdotes involved Fred Meyer and how much he misses the Northwest superstore now that he lives where there aren’t any. It’s the kind of store, he said, where you can buy a Fugazzi cassette and a ceiling fan. He used the story to introduce his song “Aurora” off the third album, “There Is Nothing Left to Lose.” It was a highlight of the night as the song showcased Grohl’s singing.

Any complaints are minimal. There was a 10-minute section of guitar noodling that seemed more at home at a Dave Matthews Band show. More troubling was that the sound mix was off at times. Once it sounded as if Grohl’s mic was turned off, and other times the thunderous band completely swallowed his vocals.

Still, as the band rolled through a great cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure,” sung by Hawkins, “This is a Call,” “Alone and Easy Target,” and a rollicking rendition of “Monkey Wrench,” the fans stayed with them for the long haul, as happy to be there as Grohl and his comrades appeared to be. With the opening riff of “Everlong” – the band’s traditional closer – the audience erupted. It’s considered by many to be the best Foo Fighters song; Rolling Stone readers called it such in a 2013 survey. “The only thing I’ll ever ask of you,” Grohl sang, “you gotta promise not to stop when I say when.” And no matter how much many in the crowd didn’t want it to stop, the 2.½-hour set came to a fantastic end.

‘Z Nation’ stars have little use for Spokane

I've never understood why people who come to Spokane for the first time are amazed at just how beautiful the setting is, how surprised they are to find some actual gourmet restaurants here and, in general, learn just how satisfying the experience is. Not energizing, maybe, but certainly enjoyable.

But if they're in the media, and they go return home to a mecca like Los Angeles, they have no problem taking snarky shots … well, just because.

Two of the stars of "Z Nation," which is filmed in Spokane, did exactly that when egged on by the talking heads at Los Angeles television station KTLA last Wednesday. Their names: Michael Welch and Kellita Smith. And their comments are already having an effect on some local filmmakers and erstwhile supporters of the show.

This whole thing would be sad if it weren't actually so stupid. As Clancy Bundy of "Transolar Galactica" put it, "Spokane is post apocalyptic? Your state doesn't even have water."

The calendar’s officially full

Here in Spokane, many of us labor under the belief that our sleepy little burg is lacking in things to do. Some weeks, sure, it's as dead as a cemetery out there. This will not be one of those weeks. The list below is what we just pulled from our "Looking ahead" calendar. There's A LOT of stuff going on the week of Sept. 11-17:

“Last Comic Standing” Live: Sept. 11, the Fox, $27.50-$45 TW

Yes with Toto: Sept. 11, Northern Quest, $45-$75 NQ

Jelly Bread: Sept. 11, the Hive, Sandpoint, $15 TW

Iris DeMent: Sept. 11, the Bing, $29 TW

Sir-Mix-A-Lot: Sept. 12, Perry Street Shakedown, Free

Foo Fighters: Sept. 12, Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Wash. $45-$75 TM

Shania Twain: Sept. 12, Spokane Arena, $46-$136 TW

“Weird Al” Yankovic: Sept. 13, $-35-$45 NQ

(SOLD OUT) Noah Gunderson: Sept. 13, the Bartlett, $17-$20 BT

Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach: Sept. 13, Spokane Arena, $39.75-$45 TW

Stars of “Duck Dynasty”: Sept. 13, Spokane County Interstate Fair, $25-$35 TW

Air Supply: Sept. 14, Spokane County Interstate Fair, $20-$30 TW

John Hiatt & the Combo: Sept. 14, the Bing, $32.50 TW

Craig Morgan, Dan + Shay: Sept. 15, Spokane County Interstate Fair, $25-$35 TW

Hopsin, Dizzy Wright: Sept. 15, Knitting Factory, $20-$23 TB

Orleans, the Guess Who: Sept. 16, Spokane County Interstate Fair, $15-$25 TW

Flux Pavilion: Sept. 16, Knitting Factory, $20 TB

Lee Brice: Sept. 16, Coeur d’Alene Casino, $50-$60 TW

St. Lucia: Sept. 16, the Bartlett, $20 BT

Todd Snider: Sept. 17, the Bing, $27-$37 TW

Lost Lander: Sept. 17, the Bartlett, $10-$12 BT

Cheap Trick: Sept. 17, Spokane County Interstate Fair, $20-$30 TW

Plus, there's the rock 'n' roll musical "Rock of Ages"  - featuring all your favorite hair bands from the 1980s - opening at the Modern Theater Coeur d'Alene. For those who aren't about to rock, but who still enjoy good music, Opera Coeur d'Alene will stage "The Magic Flute" this weekend on the North Idaho College campus.

So get out there and do something. No excuses.

*Those initials at the end of each entry? The ticketing agency where one can buy tickets: TicketsWest, Ticketmaster, the Bartlett, Northern Quest.

Hit Pig Out while you still have a chance

Above: My brother devours his shrimp and crab wrap.

By now, you've probably sampled something of what the 2015 Pig Out in the Park event has to offer. That includes food (I had noodles from Dim Sum Wok, while my brother ate a shrimp and crab wrap from a place whose name I can't recall) and music (featuring Saturday night's performance of Big Brother and the Holding Company).

I had hoped to catch the performance on Thursday of The Working Spliffs, but I could never find the stage at which they were performing. It was that hard navigating the crowds with my only partially ambulatory brother (call him Little Brother and the Hand-Holding Company). 

Anyway, if you want to give this final day a try, here's today's music schedule.

And try the noodles, if Dim Sum Wok is still open. They're just the thing for an overcast, somewhat chilly day.

Macklemore, Lewis video goes live

Seattle rapper Macklemore and his producer buddy Ryan Lewis spent a week in Spokane in July filming a video for the first single off their upcoming album. "Downtown" went live on YouTube this morning, and features Macklemore getting funky with collaborators Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, and Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally - and a whole lot of Spokane moped, scooter and motorcycle enthusiasts. The video, co-directed by Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty), Lewis and Jason Koenig, has some of the same goofy vibe that made "Thrift Shop" such a smash. As Vulture.com noted this morning, "There are cowbells, name-spelling, and references to Blackstreet. Think of it as a sequel to 'Uptown Funk,' in the opposite direction."
And while it's unclear if the video is supposed to be set in Spokane - a reference to Pike Place Market seems to indicate otherwise - "Downtown" doesn't shy from showing the Lilac City's downtown, good and bad. The Fox Theater, the Paulsen Building, the skywalks and the Parkade are among the downtown landmarks getting some time to shine. There also are shots filmed around the decrepit Otis Hotel and parts of East Sprague Avenue, to add a gritty flavor.
This is the second video the duo has released in recent weeks. The first, "Growing Up (Sloane's Song)," dropped on Aug. 5 and centers on Macklemore becoming a new dad. The new album, the follow-up to the record-breaking and Grammy-winning "The Heist," is set to come out later this year.  Reportedly, the guys are scheduled to perform the song at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.
Check out the video right here:


Legendary rockers roll through town this fall

Although there have been rumblings on the internet in the last couple of days, it’s finally been confirmed: Neil Young is playing the Arena on Oct. 2. This marks the first time the legendary rocker has performed in Spokane since his 2007 show at the INB.

Young’s touring band is the California-based four-piece Promise of the Real, which appeared on his latest album “The Monsanto Years” and is fronted by Lukas Nelson, son of country superstar Willie Nelson. Joining the band on tour is Lukas’ brother, guitarist Micah Nelson. Set lists on the first leg of the tour have spanned Young’s decades-long career, so expect to hear plenty of classics along with newer material.

Tickets go on sale through TicketsWest on Friday at 10 A.M., and prices range from $59.50 to $125.

Also announced this week: Paul Rodgers is scheduled to perform at Northern Quest on Nov. 15. Rodgers is best known as guitarist and vocalist for Bad Company, but he’s also had hits with Free and the Firm and toured in the mid-2000s as the frontman for Queen.

Tickets start at $65 and will be on sale as of Saturday morning. They can be purchased online or through the box office at (509) 481-6700.

Below: Paul Rodgers and Bad Company perform their 1975 single “Shooting Star.”

Dawes performs for an appreciative crowd in Liberty Lake

An audience of all ages took in the Dawes concert Saturday night at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake. Spokesman-Review photographer and Dawes fan Dan Pelle was there and put together this photographic slideshow:


Here's a taste from the band's latest record, "All Your Favorite Bands," out now. This is called "Things Happen."

Local bands release debut LPs at back-to-back Bartlett shows

This weekend is a big one for local music releases: Both the Sweeplings and Cathedral Pearls are putting out their first full-length albums and are celebrating the occasion with back-to-back shows at the Bartlett.

The Sweeplings is a project formed by Cami Bradley, the local singer-songwriter featured on NBC’s competition series “America’s Got Talent,” and Alabama-based musician and producer Whitney Dean. Their new LP, titled “Rise and Fall,” comes out on Friday, and Bradley and Dean will be at the Bartlett that night; physical copies of the LP will be available for purchase at the show.

“Etchings” is the first album by local indie four-piece Cathedral Pearls, a collection of ten tightly-crafted tunes a year and a half in the making. Cathedral Pearls has released several EPs in the past, but this marks their first LP, and the band will be performing at the Bartlett Saturday night with the new CD in tow. And this is pretty cool: The $10 ticket also includes a copy of the record.

But the local album releases don’t stop there: Spokane psych-rock trio Blackwater Prophet drops its new record “Ghost” on Aug. 14, which coincides with a show at – where else? – the Bartlett.

Below: Cathedral Pearls performs “Dynamite,” one of the tracks on the band’s upcoming album, “Etchings.”

Macklemore announces new baby with a song

Seattle rapper Macklemore, in town recently to film a video for an upcoming album with his producer Ryan Lewis, dropped some big news today: He's a dad.

His wife, Tricia, gave birth to Sloan Ava Simone Haggerty on May 29. In a post on his website, the wrote an essay about becoming a dad. He also wrote a song, with Lewis and an assist from Ed Sheeran. Read the message and check out the song here.

BTW, given the nature of "Growing Up: Sloane's Song," it's a safe bet this is not the tune Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty) and Lewis (a former Spokane resident)  filmed here late last month. That video should hit the Interwebs in the fall.

See who’s playing at Bartfest 2015

The Bartlett announced the full line-up of the second annual Bartfest today with 18 beloved Northwest musical acts, including local favorites Marshall McClean Band and Mama Doll.

“Our lineup speaks for itself—talented, burgeoning artists whose ties to the Pacific Northwest (whether by location or fanbase) bring a unique brand of authenticity to their sound,” according to a press release.

The two-day festival, Oct. 9-10, will occur on two stages as neighboring venues, The Bartlett and Nyne Bar, in downtown Spokane. The Bartlett is an all-ages venue, and shows at Nyne Bar are all ages until 8 p.m. during the festival. Weekend passes, $30, are currently on sale at bartfest.com.

The Bartlett is also reprising its curated poster exhibit, which pairs local graphic designers, illustrators and artists with featured headliners to create a unique show poster. The posters will be displayed at multiple venues during the festival, with a Poster Exhibit Launch Party at the Bartlett on Thursday, Oct. 8 for weekend pass holders. Print sale proceeds will benefit the Spokane chapter of The Songs for Kids Foundation.

For line-up and festival details, visit bartfest.com.

Bartfest 2015

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.

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