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Hillstomp joins local favorites at new-look Sunset Junction

Fri., Jan. 15, 2010

Portland bluegrass duo Hillstomp performs tonight at the Sunset Junction.  Courtesy of Hillstomp (Courtesy of Hillstomp)
Portland bluegrass duo Hillstomp performs tonight at the Sunset Junction. Courtesy of Hillstomp (Courtesy of Hillstomp)

If the Sunset Junction had a Facebook page, its latest status update would probably read something like this: “Under reinvention.”

The bar that sits in the west end of Browne’s Addition is stepping into 2010 with a makeover for its live music, a facelift for the walls – and wireless Internet to make it easier for those Facebook updates.

With Platform Booking now in charge of its live music and events, Sunset Junction is offering shows every Friday and Saturday night, plus a Whammy Wednesday showcasing vinyl DJs.

It’s also swapping out the beer signs that make up much of the interior decor to make room to display works by local artists. This month, the wall space highlights pieces by local alt-artist Ruben Villarreal.

This weekend marks the first pair of touring acts coming through Sunset Junction, 1801 W. Sunset Blvd., with locals The Dearly Departed and Whiskey Dick Mountain opening for Portland bluegrass punk duo Hillstomp tonight.

Regional indie-folk duo Lower Lights Burning appears on Saturday, supported by Spokane’s Mon Cheri and Le Train Train Quotidien.

There are also plans to add live music on Thursday nights, said Patrick Kendrick of Platform Booking.

Kendrick said he hopes the addition of multi-genre live music, visual arts and general improvements to the space will help clean up Sunset Junction’s reputation as a seedy dive bar on the outskirts of downtown.

“I consider this to be a space for everyone, from bands coming through town and the locals who fit nicely with them to people with obscure taste in good music,” said Kendrick, who previously was responsible for sparking hot spots for live music at Caterina Winery and Rock Coffee.

Sunset Junction’s maximum occupancy is 200 in the main venue, with four pool tables, foosball, darts and multiple television screens, plus a spacious patio for outdoor shows in the summer.

There is also a second basement venue with 65 capacity that can be used for private events. Sprinklers are fully installed throughout the building.

“With the community’s support this in an opportunity for everyone to be creative,” Kendrick said.

“It’s something fresh for Spokane just when it was starting to feel like the ceiling was falling in on a lot of venues.”

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