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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A concert season that has something for everybody kicks into gear in June

By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

A very busy concert season with a number of highlights is on the horizon.

The Foo Fighters return to the sold out Spokane Arena is one of a number of can’t miss shows. Also on the list, two shows at the Gorge: Joni Mitchell’s first scheduled concert in 23 years and Dead and Company’s final tour. There are a number of farewell jaunts, such as Granger Smith’s final run and Buddy Guy’s last jaunt. There’s something for everyone ranging from outlaw country star Chris Stapleton to prog-rockers Dream Theater to the old school punk of Circle Jerks. It’s not a complete list, but there’s plenty here for everyone. Let the endless summer begin!

1. Granger Smith, June. 4, Knitting Factory

Let’s say hello to the summer concert season with a goodbye. Smith recently announced that his current tour will be the final one of his career. Smith is leaving the country music industry behind to serve as a minister at his suburban Austin church. Unlike many recording artists, who use “final” tours as a way to sell tickets, Smith, 43, apparently means that this is it. Would a minister deceive his fans? Unlikely!

2. Big Richard, June 4, Lucky You Lounge

The humorous bluegrass band makes its Spokane debut.

3. Brandi Carlile, Joni Mitchell, the Highwomen and Tanya Tucker, June 9-11, the Gorge Amphitheatre

When Joni Mitchell was feted at the Newport Folk Festival last summer, the iconic singer-songwriter surprised fans by performing throughout the show. Brandi Carlile, who set up the event, then scheduled Mitchell’s first slated performance since the summer of 2000. Mitchell is the featured attraction at Carlile’s annual folk fest, Echoes through the Canyon.

Carlile will headline the opening night and Mitchell will perform,along with Carlile, the following evening. A third “Echoes” night has been added, which features the Highwomen and the iconic Tucker, who will open. The Highwomen, which features Carlile and singer-songwriters Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby, will deliver songs from their 2019 eponymous debut as well as some new songs. Carlile certainly amped up “Echoes,” which is well worth the trip.

4. #IMomSoHard, June 10, Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Burned-out moms unite and take over as funny mothers Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley joke about raising children and somehow keeping their sanity.

5. Chris Stapleton, June 15, Spokane Arena

When Chris Stapleton broke out in 2015, it seemed as if he emerged out of nowhere. However, the ace songsmith had been writing hits for years for superstars such as Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan. Stapleton has hit paydirt by delivering varied country tunes. Some of his tracks are bluesy, some are rocking and there’s even a bluegrass waltz tossed into the mix. Arrive early to catch Spokane soul singer-songwriter Allen Stone as the opening act.

6. Yelawolf, June 15, Knitting Factory

The rapper turned country rocker will showcase his collaboration with Shooter Jennings, “Sometimes Y.”

7. Marlon Wayans, June. 16-17, Spokane Comedy Club

The youngest member of the comedy factory known as the Wayans brothers, Marlon Wayans will joke about what’s happening in his life and engage the audience with crowd work.

8. The Steel Woods, June 17, the Fox

Country tunes and roots rock will be delivered.

9. The Lone Bellow, June 22, Knitting Factory

The Nashville band combines country, soul and rich harmonies. The tunes are deep, dense and moving.

10. The Polish Ambassador, June 25, Knitting Factory

Quirky electronic dance music artist David Sugalski, aka the Polish Ambassador, will bring the energy and the tunes that he normally renders at festivals to the intimate Knitting Factory.

11. Railroad Earth, June 27, Bing Crosby Theater

The venerable bluegrass band with a dash of soul will deliver songs from its nine-album canon.

12. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, July 6, the Fox

The former Drive-By Trucker has become one of the finest alt-country singer-songwriters on the circuit. Hopefully Isbell will play some cuts from his terrific 2020 release, “Reunions,” which features some of his most poignant material.

13. Dead & Company, July 7, the Gorge

The last waltz, if you will for Dead & Company. It’s hard to believe that Bob Weir and John Mayer are calling it since the tour is so popular and the latest and last incarnation of the Dead works so well. Who would have guessed after Jerry Garcia died 28 years ago that this institution would still be at it?

14. Alabama, July 7, Spokane Arena

One of the most venerable country bands of all time is on its 50th anniversary tour. Expect the hits and arrive early to catch the Marshall Tucker Band, which has an array of its own familiar favorites.

15. Old Crow Medicine Show, July 9, the Fox

The Americana string band crafts strong original material, but its covers, pre-World War II blues and folks songs are exceptional. The band’s tribute to Bob Dylan, 2017’s “50 Years of Blonde on Blonde” is one of the finest cover albums.

16. Toad the Wet Sprocket, July 11, the Bing

The pop-rock act, which hit the charts with such mellow hits as “Something’s Always Wrong,” “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean,” is underrated.

17. The Disco Biscuits, July 12, Knitting Factory

The veteran jam band, which offers a mix of electronic and rock, is unpredictable live.

18. The Avett Bros, July 14, Northern Quest

The roots rockers, who offer bits of folk and bluegrass, have been morphing since forming more than 20 years ago in North Carolina. Some of the evolution can be witnessed in the wonderful bio-pic, “May It Last,” which is a revelatory film by Avett super fans, directors Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio. It’s a great way for those unfamiliar with the adventurous group to become acquainted.

19. Jimmy Eat World, July 14, the Podium

Infectious alt-rock is Jimmy Eat World’s calling card. Don’t be late since Manchester Orchestra is a criminally underheralded act that crafts catchy, left of center rock.

20. Rayland Baxter, July 14, Knitting Factory

The lanky alt-country singer-songwriter is out behind his latest album, “If I Were a Butterfly.”

21. Blues Traveler with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, July 15, Northern Quest

Both bands emerged during the ‘90s. The playful Blues Traveler hit with the upbeat “Run Around” and “Hook.” Vocalist John Popper is a harp virtuoso and a charismatic frontman.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters, who have had their share of hits, such as “Circle” and “Bittersweet,” will open.

22. Jason Mraz, July 17, Northern Quest

The Southern California singer-songwriter crafts mellow, acoustic guitar-driven tunes with nods to folk, hip-hop and rock.

23. Gogol Bordello, July 17, Knitting Factory

Ukranian singer-songwriter Eugene Hutz is the magnetic frontman of the frenetic band in which almost anything goes. Dub, cabaret, gypsy and punk are in the mix.

24. Dream Theater, July 17, First Interstate Center for the Arts

The kings of 21st century prog-metal offer tight, melodic and complex tunes. The New York based band is touring behind its latest album. “A View from the Top of the World.”

25. Charles Wesley Godwin, July 19, Knitting Factory

The country-folk singer-songwriter crafts songs that are pretty and rugged.

26. Charley Crockett, July 21, the Fox

Crockett has made his mark with an amalgam of blues, country and roots-rock.

27. David Koechner, July 21-23, Spokane Comedy Club

There’s another side to the actor-comic, who hilariously played Todd Packer in “The Office” and Champ Kind in the “Anchorman” films. Koechner is an amusing yarnspinner, who has seen it all in Hollywood.

28. Circle Jerks, July 22, Knitting Factory

The veteran punk band embarked on its first tour in a decade in 2021 and have yet to take a break from the road.

29. Morgan Wade, July22, the Fox

The country singer, who has as many tattoos as songs, will preview tracks from her forthcoming album, “Psychopath,” which will drop in August. Wade who broke in 2021 with her debut album, “Wilder Days,” is better live than in the studio.

30. Incubus, July 22, Spokane Pavilion in Riverfront Park

The pop-rockers, who mix hard rock riffs and bits of hip hop will perform. Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, will open.

31. Volbeat with Halestorm, July 23, Northern Quest

The Danish metalists will co-headline with Lzzy Hale’s muscular rock band.

32. Falling In Reverse, July 24, Northern Quest

Bombastic but at times bittersweet hardcore punk.

33. Trombone Shorty with Ziggy Marley, July 26, Spokane Pavilion

A cool double bill with the diminutive trumpeter, who delivers captivating jazz tunes. Marley, a reggae icon, will play the hits.

34. Jeff Tweedy, July 27, Panida Theater

The Wilco frontman will play a solo acoustic show at the intimate, 500-seat Panida Theater in Sandpoint. The fact this show is not yet sold out is kind of a miracle.

35. 3 Doors Down with Candlebox, July 27, Northern Quest

It’s a ‘90s night with the straightforward rockers 3 Doors Down and Candlebox.

36. Festival at Sandpoint, July 27-Aug. 6, War Memorial Field, Sandpoint

It’s an impressive lineup for the 40th anniversary of the Festival at Sandpoint. Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd will kick off the event. Guitar hero Gary Clark Jr., Pop-rockers Train (whose show is already sold out), jam band the String Cheese Incident, alt-rockers Michael Franti and Spearhead, classic pop-rockers REO Speedwagon and country singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde are the headliners.

37. Leo Kottke, July 28, the Bing

The acoustic guitar hero, who still has incredibly fast hands, even as he approaches octogenarian status, is a must experience live.

38. Boygenius, July 29, the Gorge

The hype is justified. Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker are a true supergroup.

The Rolling Stone cover girls, who tried to replicate the classic Nirvana cover from a generation ago, are out behind their debut album, “The Record.” which is a visceral indie rock release.

39. Foo Fighters, Aug. 4, Spokane Arena

The biggest show to hit town this year sold out in minutes. It figures since Foo Fighters are beloved throughout the Inland Northwest. The smallest venue on the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers tour will attract folks from around the country, if not the world. It’s the first time in six years since Dave Grohl and company came to town. Expect a long and special show.

40. Amos Lee, Aug. 4, the Bing

For those not headed to the Foos, check out the folk, rock and soul of Lee.

41. Ghost, Aug. 5, Northern Quest

If you miss rock spectacle, catch the Swedish act, which is extraordinary live.

The material is heavy but melodic, but it’s about the mesmerizing show.

42. The Head and the Heart with Father John Misty, Aug. 6, Spokane Pavilion

The Seattle band, which crafts Beatlesque indie rock with traces of country, will co-headline with Misty, who crafts varied, witty and at times languid tunes, and who is touring behind his latest, “Chloe and the Next 20th Century.”

43. Young the Giant with Milky Chance, Aug. 7, Northern Quest

Young the Giant is adept at crafting anthemic rock (“My Body”) and breezy pop. Co-headliner Milky Chance delivers quirky pop-rock.

44. Buddy Guy, Aug. 9, FICA

It’s the final tour for the venerable guitarist. The 86-year old icon means it, so if you want to experience the blues master live, this is your last chance.

45. Soulja Boy, Aug. 9, Knitting Factory

It’ll be an evening of hits with the Georgia rapper throwing down “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” Turn My Swag On” and “Bird Walk.” Prepare for a high energy experience.

46. Sebastian Maniscalco, Aug. 11, Northern Quest

The outrageous comic, whose latest movie, “About My Father” (co-starring Robert DeNiro), opens in theaters this weekend, normally plays arenas. It’ll be an intimate experience for one of America’s most popular humorists, who hits with his observational material.

47. W.A.S.P, Aug. 11, the Podium

Some thought the Parents Music Resource Center was going to take W.A.S.P. down during the mid-’80s but the veteran metal band endures. Where have you gone, Tipper Gore?

48. Band Maid, Aug. 12, the Bing

It’s not a look back at Band Aid, which provided assistance for Africa in the 1980s. Band Maid is a female Japanese rock band with a maid image modeled after Japanese maid cafes.

49. Noah Kahan, Aug. 18, Spokane Pavilion

The emerging folk-pop singer, who is influenced by Paul Simon and Counting Crows, is out behind his latest album, “Stick Season.”

50. Boyz II Men, Aug. 19, Northern Quest

There’s no vocal group quite like the Philly act. Their rich harmonies and terrific material are part of the reason Boyz II Men are the most successful R&B recording artists in history. “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You” and “Motownphilly” are just some of their many hits.

51. Gipsy Kings, Aug. 19, the Fox

Flamenco, salsa and rumba lovers will enjoy the tunes delivered by the venerable band from Southern France.

52. Spoon, Aug. 21, Knitting Factory

One of indie-rock’s most consistently exceptional bands since “Telephono” dropped in 1996. Britt Daniel doesn’t get enough credit as a songwriter.

53. Flogging Molly, Aug. 22, Knitting Factory

It’s hard to believe that Flogging Molly frontman Dave King once fronted hair metalists Fastway. That was never a good fit for King, who has found his calling with Celtic-rockers Flogging Molly, who are one of the better live bands out there.

54. Rebelution, Aug. 24, Spokane Pavilion

Mellow reggae rock from the veteran California based band.

55. Dierks Bentley, Aug. 27, Northern Quest

It’ll be one hit after another as Dierks’ has a staggering 18 songs, which have scaled the top of the country charts. “Come a Little Closer,” What Was I Thinkin” and “Drunk on a Plane” are just a few of the hits Bentley is sure to play.

56. The Beach Boys, Aug. 28, Northern Quest

Mike Love has it down to a science. The greatest band in American history plays hit after hit for two-plus hours. “God Only Knows,” “Surfin USA,” and “Good Vibrations” are just many of the classics that will please the crowd.

57. Billy Idol, Aug. 28, Spokane Pavilion

The ‘80s rocker is sure to play his hits, “Dancing By Myself,” “White Wedding,” “Eyes Without a Face” and “Rebel Yell” when he comes to Riverfront Park.

58. Dave Matthews Band, Sept. 1-3, the Gorge

It’s not Labor Day at the Gorge if the Dave Mattnews Band fails to perform. Matthews loves playing the Gorge so much that it’s a given that he’ll play three different sets each year. He regards the Gorge as his home away from home.