Music

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Photos from Tuesday night's Lil Wayne show at the Adams Center

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 3:13 PM

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Photos from Tuesday night's Of Montreal show at the Top Hat

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 3:23 PM

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Photos from Friday night's Mastodon show at the Wilma Theatre

Posted By on Sat, Apr 15, 2017 at 6:01 PM



Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds, far left, joined Eagles of Death Metal for their opening song while front man Jesse Hughes, far right, wasted no time amping up the crowd. - PHOTO BY MATTHEW ROBERTS
  • photo by Matthew Roberts
  • Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds, far left, joined Eagles of Death Metal for their opening song while front man Jesse Hughes, far right, wasted no time amping up the crowd.

“You’ve got the only two things that really get me,” Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes confessed to a fan in the front row after she tossed a bra, presumably hers, into his arms about 10 minutes into the band's set. That’s about when the show really started.

EODM is currently on a lengthy American and European tour opening for metal giants Mastodon, who headlined the sold-out 17th Blaze Birthday Bash at the Wilma on Friday, April 14 along with a second opener, Chicago's Russian Circles. The show was Mastodon’s kickoff gig for the tour.
Mastodon began their set amidst a modestly embellished stage, but over the course of the first few songs it slowly burgeoned into an  extravagant scene, complete with video screens and light show. - PHOTO BY MATTHEW ROBERTS
  • photo by Matthew Roberts
  • Mastodon began their set amidst a modestly embellished stage, but over the course of the first few songs it slowly burgeoned into an extravagant scene, complete with video screens and light show.

Russian Circles played a roughly 30-minute set of relentless instrumental doom metal that, while heavy and delicious, was nothing compared to the sexually charged flamboyant rock of EODM. The California-based lovechild of longtime friends Hughes and Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age) danced and thrusted through an exhilarating set that included a great cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and an energetic extended version of their own “Speaking in Tongues.”

Once the stage crew wiped up after EODM, Mastodon played, leading with “Sultan’s Curse,” the opening track on their new album, Emperor of Sand.
Brent Hinds lends his voice, rapid guitar chops and slight air of chaos to Mastodon’s performance at the Wilma. - PHOTO BY MATTHEW ROBERTS
  • photo by Matthew Roberts
  • Brent Hinds lends his voice, rapid guitar chops and slight air of chaos to Mastodon’s performance at the Wilma.

Mastodon’s music is hard to pull off live. Much of its sound derives from unstable harmonies, sludgy tones and the complicated and one-of-a-kind interplay between guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher. And a lot of that is simply lost in a live setting. Luckily, underneath all the brutal nuance lies an unshakeable foundation. Mastodon delivered a powerful performance sampling its entire career including some of their most beloved early tracks like “Megalodon” and “March of the Fire Ants.”
Brent Hinds (left), Troy Sanders (middle), Bill Kelliher (right) and Brann Dailor (not pictured) of Mastodon kicked off their set with “Sultan’s Curse,” the first track on their new album, Emperor of Sand. - PHOTO BY MATHEW ROBERTS
  • photo by Mathew Roberts
  • Brent Hinds (left), Troy Sanders (middle), Bill Kelliher (right) and Brann Dailor (not pictured) of Mastodon kicked off their set with “Sultan’s Curse,” the first track on their new album, Emperor of Sand.
The show closed with drummer Brann Dailor, whose recent bout of the flu had a slightly negative impact on his vocals (everyone in Mastodon lends their voice to the sound in one way or another), wishing everyone a pleasant evening and a goodnight as he raced off to his bunk and a shot of Nyquil.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Photos of Mandolin Orange playing to a packed crowd at the Top Hat Thursday night

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 2:55 PM

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band to play Kettlehouse Amphitheater in July

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 12:34 PM

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
  • Lyle Lovett & His Large Band

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band played the Red Ants Pants Festival in 2011 in a field in White Sulphur Springs under a big, starry sky. The contrast between the band's swanky attire and the rural landscape was stunning and a little surreal, as if a New York concert hall had been accidentally teleported to a cow pasture.

The folk/country singer-songwriter will play a similar environment—this time in the light, on the banks of the Blackfoot River—when the KettleHouse Amphitheater hosts An Evening with Lyle Lovett & His Large Band on Thu., July 13 at 7 PM. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. MST Fri., March 31, and will be available at The Top Hat, online or by phone at 877-987-6487. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available online only from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thu, March 30. Sign up here. $35–$50 depending on seating.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Photos from Friday's Greensky Bluegrass show at the Wilma

Posted By on Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 12:03 PM

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Decemberists to headline two-day music festival at Big Sky Brewing Co. Amphitheater in August

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 12:15 PM

The Decemberists
  • The Decemberists

Big Sky Brewing Company Amphitheater just announced the inaugural Travelers' Rest, a two-day festival scheduled for Sat., Aug. 12, and Sun., Aug. 13, featuring the Decemberists, plus Belle and Sebastian, The Head and the Heart, Sylvan Esso, Shakey Graves, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Real Estate and Julien Baker. Big Sky Brewing says more artists will be announced later in the spring.

Decemberists' frontman Colin Meloy is spearheading the festival. He grew up in Helena, went to school at the University of Montana, and spent part of his college years playing music in a band called Tarkio that frequented the legendary Missoula venue Jay's Upstairs.

“Growing up, it drove me crazy how many national touring bands skipped Montana altogether," Meloy says in the Big Sky press release. "I'm glad we can do our small part to bring more music to the area."

The Decemberists plan to headline both nights, playing two distinct sets. The band is donating $1 from every ticket sold to ACLU Montana.

Weekend passes go on sale this Friday, March 24, at 10 a.m. at bigskybrewconcerts.com for $79.50. A VIP weekend pass option is also available for $149.50. Visit travelersrestfest.com for more info.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Photos from Monday night's Old 97's show at the Top Hat

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 4:07 PM

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A tribute to cantankerous, flawed, rock and roll genius Chuck Berry

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 11:11 AM

Chuck Berry
  • Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry didn’t invent rock and roll any more than any one person invented the electric guitar. He was simply the perfect conduit through which it flowed, and that current shot through me at an early age. It’s almost as if rock and roll was waiting for him to show up. He was young (although not as young as he claimed), a good-looking showman who played guitar and sang his own songs. The crushing poverty and racism he’d suffered in the South had him eager to duck-walk his way out of there. He synthesized blues riffs, country rhythms and guitar licks copped from guitarists like Muddy Waters, Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker into a new style, an unrelenting rhythmic framework to carry his evocative lyrics about cars, girls, school and work. He took over pianist Johnnie Johnson’s band in St. Louis and spent the next 60 years thrilling crowds and bending people to his will through intimidation, arm-twisting, capricious decisions and erratic behavior. But the man’s early music was powerful enough to help us overlook his sometimes abhorrent behavior later in life.

Chuck died Saturday at age 90, and social media buzzed with tributes and memories of his concerts. Celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, who’d once played in one of Chuck’s backup bands, paid his respects. I filled the house with his music and drank a toast to the true king. But Monday morning, there wasn’t a peep on the morning TV news shows about his death. Last year, when we lost Bowie, Prince, George Michael and Glenn Frey, the media paid proper attention. Without Chuck Berry, those artists might not have had careers at all.

The very term rock and roll is synonymous with Chuck Berry, but for all the influence he had, and all the adoration he received from fellow musicians and the screaming throngs at his concerts, the man never really received his due. The greatest indignity suffered by Chuck Berry was not the lawsuit filed in 2000 by Johnson, who helped him write many of his seminal hits and later demanded a big chunk of Chuck’s fortune (the suit was dismissed). It wasn’t even the robber’s roost of promoters, managers and record company execs who ripped him off early on, causing an obsession with money for the rest of his career. No, the biggest slap in the face to the man who is widely regarded as the father of rock and roll is the fact that his only No. 1 record came in 1972, a salacious piece of novelty schlock titled “My Ding-A-Ling.” It wasn't even his song. He’d copped it from a kids’ song and replaced the lyrics with double entendre jokes about his pecker. With all the brilliant hits he’d released, from “You Never Can Tell” to “Rock and Roll Music,” this was the only one that topped the charts. That had to stick in his craw.

But that’s a typical twist from a decidedly non-typical American life. If you know his story, you know he beat some damn long odds to fight his way to the top of the heap. His infamous touring method is widely known. He wrote very specific contracts and held promoters and club owners to every single detail, or else he’d refuse to play. If they failed to supply a pair of Fender Dual Showman amps, for instance, no dice. He didn’t travel with his own band, always playing with a local backing group. These musicians would ask the man which songs he planned on playing, and he’d turn to them and say, “Chuck Berry songs!” He flew alone with his guitar, rented a Cadillac to drive to gigs, and always got paid in cash before the first downbeat.

I got to see him in Seattle in the late 1980s, on a double bill with Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry Lee opened, and was a huge disappointment. He looked old, seemed cranky like he’d missed his afternoon nap, and showed none of the fire of The Killer who used to kick over benches and set pianos ablaze. Then Chuck took the stage and announced his presence with authority. He delivered his standard show (45 minutes, including exactly one duck walk) and the place went nuts. At one point he even invited requests. We all sang his songs back to him, and the thrill was almost unbearable. A few days after the concert I bought my first real electric guitar, a cherry red Lyle copy of the Gibson ES-335 Chuck has played for most of his career. I’ve been a hollow-body man ever since.

It wasn’t just his double-stop guitar style that grabbed me. His lyricism is a form of poetry I’ve always aspired to. His eye for detail and economy of language become razor sharp observations that paint a vivid picture. In “Nadine,” for example, the girl he’s chasing doesn’t just get in her car—he sees her “walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac.” His wordplay, fondness for alliteration and sometimes outrageous rhymes infiltrated my own style early on. The way he tended to place one syllable per beat is a technique that drives the way I write to this day.

He was revered by the Beatles, adored by the Stones, and respected by most of the great rockers who’ve come up since the early 1960s. If you’re an electric guitar player of any stripe, you owe some debt of gratitude to this cantankerous, unpredictable genius. The fraternity of rock’s original architects is shrinking, with only Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard still kicking. But Chuck was the king of them all. With his death, a door closes on an era, the first epoch of rock and roll. Bye bye, Johnny. Johnny B. Goode.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Photos from last night's Elton John show at the Adams Center

Posted By on Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 12:48 PM

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