Spokane’s annual PigOut in the Park is more than a chance to gorge on the offerings of some 40 local restaurants.
It’s also a free five-day musical feast, its menu packed with local musicians and visiting acts. There’s blues tonight with Portland’s Lloyd Jones Struggle, nostalgia with Beatlemania Live on Friday, West Coast R&B; with Lydia Pense and Cold Blood on Saturday, and rock and country-billy weirdness from Webb Wilder and the Nash Vegans Sunday.
Local acts perform each afternoon, and Monday is an all-locals day headlined by Citizen Swing.
The Lloyd Jones Struggle is known up and down the West Coast and across Canada. When asked to name one of his favorite up-and-coming bands, Robert Cray is likely to mention the band.
” … You know who’s really good is this guy named Lloyd Jones,” Cray told Musician Magazine. “He writes great songs, blues and R&B.;”
Jones is a powerful guitar player and raspy-voiced singer who can remind you of a cross between Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. A veteran of Portland’s blues scene, he’s worked in bands with such fellow luminaries as Paul DeLay and Curtis Salgado.
Jones is one of the few working bluesmen to have made the commitment to horns, and his tight, rocking band, the Struggle, moves with ease between country soul, driving funk and straight blues. They’ve opened for such acts as Bonnie Raitt, George Thorogood, Etta James, B.B. King and Jeff Healey.
Beatlemania Live presents the latest incarnation of the faux Fab Four show that’s been making the rounds for a decade or two. It’s a unique concept that could only revolve around the enormously popular and ever-changing music of the Beatles.
The show is divided into three sets, each representing a different period in the Beatles chronology. For the first set, the musicians are dressed in the tailored suits and white shirts of the Ed Sullivan era. In the second, they don the multicolored military outfits of the “Sgt. Pepper’s” period, and for the third, they dress down in the Salvation Army mufti of the “White Album” era.
Lydia Pense and Cold Blood were among the West Coast’s leading lights of the ‘70s R&B; movement. Between 1969 and 1976, Cold Blood released six major label records on Atlantic and Warner Bros. Records.
They were regular visitors to State Line clubs throughout the decade.
Pense reassembled the band Cold Blood a few years ago with an all-star lineup of Bay Area musicians who have played in the bands of Stan Getz, Hoyt Axton, Elvin Bishop, Starship, Ronnie Montrose, Etta James, Mickey Thomas and Funkadelics.
Sunday night’s show promises to deliver something different from what Spokane has seen before. Webb Wilder is the self-proclaimed “last of the full-grown men” and admits to having a deep love for the days when popular musicians were all-around performers.
“We don’t just give people music,” he says. “We give them some humor and entertainment. I’ve always liked the pre-rock time when everybody had to be a song-and-dance man.”
One thing is certain: Wilder is no ordinary singer. His outsized persona is laced with a wicked sense of humor and a love of great unknown rock songs from musicians as diverse as Waylon Jennings and Mott the Hoople, the Flamin’ Groovies and the Small Faces.
He may sing the James Bond theme “Goldfinger,” then turn to the country weeper “Streets of Laredo (Cowboys Lament).”
Entertainment Weekly gave Wilder’s last record a B-plus, Rolling Stone gave it three stars and the Associated Press calls him a “rock star for the 1990s.”
Billboard calls his show “part Georgia Satellites, part Dave Edmunds, part Elvis Costello and altogether wonderful.”
As for Wilder, he’s happy to be known simply as “the last of the boarding-house people. A four-eyed guy who doesn’t smile a lot, but who doesn’t frown much either. A man who will never be bald but never quite wall-to-wall, either. An outsider who feels as though he’s on the wrong side of the tracks no matter where he’s at, a guy who knows every thrift shop and plate-lunch joint in town.”
Spokane has been defined as a town that lacks a sense of irony; Sunday night, citizens get a chance to prove that wisdom wrong.
xxxx PIGOUT ENTERTAINMENT The following is the entertainment schedule for PigOut in the Park: Thursday Noon, Nancy Lynn Allen Trio 2 p.m., Staley/Thomsen 4 p.m., Paul Brasch 5:30 p.m., Too Slim & the Taildraggers 7:30 p.m., Lloyd Jones Struggle Friday Noon, Alex Bendini 2 p.m., Muko Jumble 4 p.m., Planet Lounge Orchestra 5:30 p.m., Spokane Jazz Orchestra 8 p.m., Beatlemania Saturday 11 a.m., Rob Vaughn 1 p.m., Group du Jour 2 p.m., Mumbo Jumbo 5:30 p.m., The Val Workman All-Stars 8 p.m., Lydia Pense & Cold Blood Sunday 11 a.m., Finness 1 p.m., Nightwind 4 p.m., Sammy Eubanks 8 p.m., Webb Wilder Monday 11 a.m., Craig Volosing Goodtime Band 1:30 p.m., Men in the Making 3:30 p.m., High Lonesome 5:30 p.m., Citizen Swing