Monday, September 24, 2012

Scott H. Biram at the Palace: Still Drunk, Still Bluesy

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

In a bigger city, Saturday night’s events would have posed a problem: do I see the all-ages punk show, or the basement-bar blues show? In, say, Portland, this would require figuring out Google maps, bus, bicycle or car transportation, parking arrangements, designated-driver negotiations, etc.

But because this is Missoula, the venues sit about four blocks apart, so I hopped on my bike and managed to catch most of both. God, I love this town.

Locals Swamp Ritual and the Magpies and touring Seattle punks Slatwall and Ol’ Doris were lined up at Zoo City Apparel, where before the show, several of us pre-gaming degenerates stood around trying yoga poses and sniffing eucalyptus in the parking lot. We party hard in this town.

Swamp Ritual kicked off the show, and made it through the set of excellent heavy two-piece metal despite equipment malfunctions and a broken bass string. They handled it with good cheer.

The Magpies took Zoo City’s fancy new wooden stage next, and why have I never seen this kickass rock ‘n’ roll band before? I need to see them again.

Some of my geek buddies had just about wet their pants talking about gritty pop punkers Slatwall before the show. I was not disappointed, though I did not wet my pants, for the record. Slatwall play with a great earnest melodic drive that people still call the “Midwest” punk sound, but I’d say more rightfully belongs to Northwest punks these days. I hope Slatwall enjoyed their first visit to our fair berg.

Last was Ol' Doris, and I'm told it's even better than when I saw the band at the Dark Horse a couple years ago opening for Tacocat and Smokejumper. I’ll have to take other folks’ word for it, because after Slatwall I strolled over to the Palace, where Warren Jackson Hearne Aran Buzzas, Restavrant and Scott H. Biram were lined up for what was sure to be a trashy, whiskey-soaked evening.


I found my way in just as Biram, the highly esteemed one-man Americana band, was starting his second song, sitting at a kick-set and pounding out bluesy country tunes new and classic, per usual, and a cowboy-booted crowd was dancing around. Several of Biram’s standard fans—the kind of guys in black bandanas whose patched-out hoodies declare love for both Austin Lucas and Los Crudos—stood around in reverence. Biram started around 11 p.m. and went until bar time, playing a lot of songs off his latest record, Bad Ingredients.

I have mixed feelings about Biram. On one hand, he’s a helluva talented musician and sings songs that are earnest and true about tough living and screwy relationships. I played Bad Ingredients all last fall and thought wistful feelings about fellas.

On the other hand, he sings stuff like "whore, you're gonna get what's coming to you."

I cannot resolve my love of drinkin’ songs with my loathing of misogynistic themes in one evening, so I opted to just sing along to “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” like I wanted to. Thanks for that, Biram.

This story was updated Monday at 12:45 to reflect the correct opening bands on the Biram bill.

The Rockies Today, Sept. 24

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal rules on school lunches leave rural Montana students hungry
Schools in some of Montana's smaller communities have few options for students to eat off-campus, but with federal guidelines for school lunches that limit protein servings to 3 ounces for high schoolers, hungry students are prowling for options.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 23

Ski areas in Colorado, elsewhere pull back on capital improvements
Last year's dismal snow year has ski areas in Colorado and elsewhere revamping their spending on capital investments, with more spending going toward summer amenities.
Denver Post; Sept. 24

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM


This week, Dahl’s College of Beauty in Great Falls is accepting applications.

Curses, Foiled Again
Marcus Banwell, 39, was arrested for shoplifting food at a convenience store in Bristol, England, after he ate one of the stolen items: a Scotch bonnet chili pepper. The variety has a heat rating of 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units, compared with 2,500 to 8,000 for jalapeño peppers. Within seconds, Banwell doubled over in pain. The shopkeeper called police, who recovered four other chili peppers on him, along with a stolen milkshake and fruit juice. Police also found a stolen clarinet tucked inside his waistband, as well as crack cocaine and heroin. (The Huffington Post)

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Happiest Hour: Caffè Dolce

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Cool weather is settling in on the valley, Missoula's primed for fall, and we're trying to fit as many patio drinking days in as we can before it's officially cold. With that in mind...

This week: The patio at Caffè Dolce

Atmosphere: Unlike the bulk of Missoula’s downtown bars, there’s a distinct European vibe at Caffè Dolce. Busy streets, a bustling patio, more gelato than you can shake a spoon at—all hallmarks of a pleasant lunch hour escape. And with the restaurant’s primo selection of beer and wine, you can get your drink on a few hours ahead of the 5 p.m. Friday buzzer. The only question you have to ask yourself, or maybe the wait staff, is which wine will best pair with your grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

What you’re drinking: On a recent Friday, Caffe Dolcè’s Madison Unsworth recommends a riesling, specifically the Bollenberg 2010 from the Dirler-Cade winery in the Alsace region of France. It’s not as sweet as your average riesling; the wine list describes it as a “bouquet of honey and honey suckle, flavors of pear, apple, lime, pineapple and baking spice.” There’s a “zippy freshness” to this $11-a-glass suggestion that makes it a great companion for pretty much anything on Caffe Dolcè’s extensive menu.

What else you can get: Caffè Dolce has a regularly rotating selection of wines from across the globe—reds from Spain, whites from Italy, the odd rose from France. If your palate is craving a brewski, the restaurant has a number of regional beers on tap including selections from Big Sky, Great Northern and New Belgium. For the time being, you can snag a pint of New Belgium’s cocoa molé ale, spiced with chili and cinnamon.

Where to find it: Caffè Dolce’s a hop and a skip from the Hip Strip at 500 Brooks Street.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

Montana stable shocks horse racing, goes for $1 million purse

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

ESPN doesn't write about Montana sports very often. When it comes to horse racing, the World Wide Leader would seem to have little reason to pay attention to the Treasure State — if not for the remarkable luck of Magic City Thoroughbred Partners.

Bill Finley has a new story on ESPN about a pair of Billings businessmen who stumbled upon one the sport's biggest surprises. Last year, Carter Stewart and his partner Ken Schlenker bought a couple horses: Golden Ticket for $100,000 and Unbridled Minister for $150,000. With just two horses, Finley explains, their odds of winning anything were slim. Slim turned to slimmer considering Stewart and Schlenker didn't know much about horse racing's bigger races. But the pair landed a bright trainer named Kenny McPeek and Golden Ticket turned into, well, a golden ticket. The horse tied for first in the prestigious Travers Stakes, splitting a $1 million pot, and tomorrow will enter the starting gate in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

This is one of those things that can only happen in horse racing. Two friends get together, pool a relatively modest amount of money, hire the right trainer and advisor in Kenny McPeek and, well, get lucky. That's how they won the Travers, winning right alongside Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin stable, the most powerful racing outfit in the world.

"Nobody told me how difficult this sport was supposed to be," Stewart told Finley. "We always kept a positive attitude and figured if someone else could do it we could do it."

Golden Ticket is currently listed as a favorite at 5-2 odds.

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The Rockies Today, Sept. 21

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal judge in Montana gives USFWS a deadline on wolverine decision
In a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision that wolverines deserved federal protection but that its listing is precluded by higher-priority protections, a federal judge in Montana declined to dismiss the lawsuit as the agency had requested and said Fish and Wildlife must indicate by Dec. 14 if it is going to issue a decision on the wolverine by Jan. 18.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 21

Federal officials share concerns, optimism about Colorado's forests
Harris Sherman, undersecretary of natural resources and environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Mark Stiles, San Juan National Forest supervisor, met with members of the Durango Herald's editorial board on Thursday, and talked about how climate changes had affected forests in Colorado and the West, and how the U.S. Forest Service is using controlled burns and other mitigation processes to address those changes.
Durango Herald; Sept. 21

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Police plan extra DUI patrols during Homecoming Weekend (duh)

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM

This is obvious, but worth noting for those more concerned this weekend with keg stands and field goals than safety. The Missoula Police Department is planning extra DUI patrols during Homecoming Weekend, beginning tonight. A release from the department specifies:

The Police Department will have additional patrols in the downtown area as well as additional DUI enforcement and party patrols. ...

The Missoula Police Department will respond to party complaints and will if necessary issue citations or make arrests. This results in not only an arrest or citation but could also lead to eviction for a renter. ...

Directly after the homecoming football game, there will be units assigned to the UM area strictly for DUI enforcement.

Be safe. Don't be dumb. And call someone if you need a ride.

Photo by Steele Williams

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Eat, drink, be merry — and look at art

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 3:55 PM


The Missoula Art Museum brings back its Artini series this evening with its fair share of "R" words. Artini Redux calls on the masses to reduce, reuse and refashion during a full slate of artistic activities. What does that mean exactly? Create your own stylish outfit from recycled materials with help from Selvedge Studio and Home Resource. Check out the redesigned Aresty Gallery. Peruse the art of Terry Karson—he uses a ton of repurposed cardboard (pictured above)—and listen to his 7 p.m. artist talk after you read all about him in this week's Indy. There's also rad family-friendly music from WhizPops, food from James Bar and a cash bar.

The action starts at 5 p.m. and MAM suggests a $5 donation.


The Rockies Today, Sept. 20

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Study: Public lands on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front an economic driver
The Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana contracted with Headwaters Economics to do an economic assessment of a 100-mile stretch of the Rocky Mountain Front, and the study found that average annual wages in that area increased 15 percent between 2000 and 2010, while statewide the average wage increased just 10 percent.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 20

PPL Montana says it will mothball Billings power plant in 2015
Officials of PPL Montana said the $38 million in upgrades needed to make the J.E. Corette power plant in Billings compliant with new emissions regulations to take effect in April 2015 don't make economic sense, given the state of the wholesale power market in the Northwest, and said the plant will be mothballed before those regulations take effect.
Billings Gazette; Sept. 20

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rockies Today, Sept. 19

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal appeals court hears arguments on energy leases
On Tuesday in Denver, a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard arguments in a case filed by oil and gas companies alleging that the Bureau of Land Management was required by law to issue oil and gas leases within sixty days of the date they were sold.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Sept. 19

Volunteer firefighter charged with deliberately setting Idaho wildfire
Crews were able to do burnouts Tuesday to protect homes in the Wilderness Ranch subdivision threatened by the Karney Fire, but extremely dry fuels in the Robie Creek area of the Idaho fire were cited as a concern for firefighters today.
Idaho Statesman; Sept. 19

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