Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Column for January 27, 2010

We have a full plate of live music entertainment in Southeast Idaho this week, with all-ages shows at The Icon, acoustic favorites at local restaurants and bars and two exciting concerts by favorite regional bands in the area.

Tonight, Wednesday the 27th, Abandon Kansas, Children 18:3, The Deception and more are performing at The Icon, located on N. Main Street in Pocatello; doors open at 6:30 p.m. And tomorrow, Thursday the 28th, Fire In the Skies, These Cities Passing, Above And Below, Chelsea Grin and more are on the bill. Visit for current information and upcoming shows.

Also on Thursday, Elvis Has Left the Building is scheduled to play at Senang Bistro, S. 1st. Ave. in Pocatello starting at 7:30. Formed in 1996, founding members Angier Wills and Greg Mladenka are joined by Bill Chalmers and when available, Richard Inouye. The group plays a blend of bluegrass, American folk and acoustic rock.

Available for purchase from, Elvis Has Left the Building released a self-titled CD in 2007. For more on ELB, visit

Friday the 29th, Finn Riggins is in concert with locals Spawning Fondness at the Flipside Lounge, on S. Main St. in downtown Pocatello. Based in western and northern Idaho, Finn Riggins has been making Pocatello a regular stop.

Finn Riggins’ most recent release, “Vs Wilderness,” has been met with critical acclaim for their creative and elaborate indie rock. I find their music eccentric, pleasant, crafty, bright, fun and lively, and somewhat addictive (in a good way). For more, visit

Last week, you have have caught Unstable Ground at Portneuf Valley Brewing. If you missed that show, you can catch then again this Friday at Duffy’s Tavern on Main Street. Music starts at 9:00 p.m.; open to those 21+. No cover.

Based from Pocatello, Unstable ground is a four-piece band with guitarists Gene Taylor and Mark Holbrook, Chris Willock on bass and Eric Stanley on drums. They have a large list of cover songs from which to play, tailoring each set appropriately for the crowd and venue.

This time, I’d expect Unstable Ground to crank it up with songs from AC/DC, the Beastie Boys, Bad Company or maybe a Limp Bizkit tune. For more on Unstable Ground, visit them online at

Speaking of Portneuf Valley Brewing, the pub on S. 1st Avenue in Pocatello has two favorites on tap this weekend with Swingshift playing blues, jazz and pop on Friday night. And on Saturday, Bender is scheduled to play roots rock and reggae. Music starts at 8:30, no cover, and is open to all ages. Call (208) 232-1644 for more information.

Formed in 2008, Bender is an eclectic mix of musical instruments and styles. The bulk of their songs are original, a blend of American roots, rock, and reggae. They’ll also have a follow-up show on Sunday the 31st at the Pebble Creek Ski Area. Find Bender online at

And on tap at Taps Bar on Garrett Way in Pocatello this weekend, Kaught Lookin’ is scheduled to play classic rock covers on both Friday and Saturday nights. Music starts at 9:00 p.m., no cover and open to those 21+.

*Oops - this show has been canceled*
On Saturday, Lybecker is in concert at The Icon with Somewhere In the Middle scheduled to open. Doors open at 6:30. Lybecker, a trio based from Seattle, WA plays alt. pop rock similar to Coldplay, Third Eye Blind or Switchfoot. Their most recent CD, “As the Sun Casts a Falling Shadow,” will be available for purchase at the show. For more, see

Somewhere In the Middle has recently returned from a tour through Nevada and Southern California in support of their most recently recorded songs. Keep up to date at

And the highlight of my live music shows this weekend, Scratch and 2am Logic open for Royal Bliss at the Peppertree Lounge in Idaho Falls, Saturday the 30th. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., open to those 21+. Tickets are available at I missed them last time; I won’t this time.

Royal Bliss has been hard at work self-promoting their most recent release, “Live and Acoustic in Studio A,” recorded last year at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The CD is a limited edition, available for purchase online or at live performances.

Having received little support from their label, Royal Bliss continues to move forward and is currently recording their next effort. Expect to hear new tunes and old favorites. The band received great exposure playing at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT last week. For more, visit

Linda Alexander
a.k.a. Lana Banana for Idaho Live Music

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Column for January 20, 2010

A true-to-form Pocatello local live music this week, you’ll find a wide variety, a vastly eclectic mix of live music genres from which to choose for live entertainment in the area.

Friday the 22nd, Elvis Has Left the Building plays at Portneuf Valley Brewing on S. 1st. Avenue in Pocatello. Music starts at 8:30, no cover and is open to all ages.

Formed in 1996, two Elvis Has Left the Building (or ELB, for short) founding members are still a part of the band; guitarists Angier Wills and Greg Mladenka are joined by Bill Chalmers and when available, Richard Inouye. Their original songs are largely written by Wills and Mladenka, falling somewhere between bluegrass, American folk and acoustic rock.

ELB’s members are all avid ‘outdoor people,’ passionate about appreciating and preserving our natural resources. From their website ELB writes, “having members from different walks of life gives a well-rounded perspective to the group that is reflected in their musical styles and songwriting.”

Available for purchase from, Elvis Has Left the Building released a self-titled CD in 2007.

On Sunday the 24th, ELB has a mid-afternoon show at the Rock Bottom Saloon at Pebble Creek, starting at 4:00 p.m. They’ll be joined with special guest Jessica McAleese. For more on ELB, visit

On Friday the 22nd, The Clumsy Lovers make a welcome return to the First National Bar with The Bell Boys opening. Music starts at 9:00 p.m.; cost is $8 at the door and open to those 21+.

The Bell Boys, based from Portland, OR, are an acoustic / Americana folk group with Mike Quinter on vocals and banjo, Keef Simon on upright bass, guitarists Bear Parsons and Jay Cobb Anderson and Tyler Thompson on drums. Find them online at

The Clumsy Lovers are one of the best-loved returning music acts in Pocatello. Their energetic and upbeat performances never fail to get the crowd up and dancing – be sure to wear flowers in your hair; Birkenstocks optional.

The group’s most recent release, “Make Yourself Known,” will be available for purchase night of the show, or it is available online at

The Canada-based acoustic folk and bluegrass group frequents Idaho State University’s outdoor concerts. But in the winter time, seeing The Clumsy Lovers at The Nash is the next best thing. Find out more at

On Saturday the 23rd, Unstable Ground plays country rock at Portneuf Valley Brewing starting at 8:30 p.m. Based from Pocatello, Unstable ground is a four-piece band with guitarists Gene Taylor and Mark Holbrook, Chris Willock on bass and Eric Stanley on drums. All share in vocals.

Unstable Ground has a large list of cover songs from which to play, tailoring each set appropriately for the crowd and venue. Expect songs from the Eagles, Johnny Cash, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bob Seger and more. The band can crank out AC/DC too, but perhaps next time, eh?

For more on Unstable Ground, visit them online at

Also on Saturday the 23rd, there is an all-ages rock concert at the Elk’s Lodge on S. Main Street in Pocatello, with local bands on the bill. Sworn To Uphold, Forgiveness Denied, These Cities Passing and Above & Below play for just a $2 cover, starting at 7:00 p.m.

Of the Saturday night choices, I think the Elk’s Lodge would be my pick. Young local bands, playing for pennies, self-promoting … sounds like my kind of gig.

And a similar (although more pricey) all-ages rock show will be at The Icon on N. Main Street in Pocatello on the same night, with WatchOut There’s Ghosts, Elective Valentine and All Bright scheduled to play. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $10 in advance through

On Sunday the 24th, Silent Civilian, Blind Witness and Year of the Skies are the featured bands at the Icon, with These Cities Passing in an opening slot. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., open to all ages; tickets are $10 in advance, available at

Also on Sunday the 24th, Sweatshop Union, a hip-hop / rap group from Vancouver, Canada, is scheduled to play at the Benton Street Bar starting at 8:00 p.m. Call first to verify 232-2222; find out more at

And on Tuesday of next week, the 26th, Phat Bone, a locally-based funk and blues group is booked to play at Hooligans. Music starts at 9:00 p.m., open to those 21+.

L. Alexander

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Column for January 13, 2010

The local Girl Scouts troops are hosting a fund raiser and dessert event this weekend. On Friday, January 15, 2010, local music groups provide music entertainment during the event at the Whitman Apartments, 122 S. Main Street in Pocatello.

The Whitman was originally built in 1905 and is locally known as the Whitman Hotel. It was rebuilt last year and now houses one-bedroom and studio apartments with some retail space. The event is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., no cost to get in, but includes a silent auction of locally donated items; so bring your checkbook!

Feedback from attendees and a panel of community members will be on hand to judge and declare the best dessert.

The barber shop quartet, SoundScape, acoustic guitarist Tyler Linton and the Pocatello-based indie / ambient guitar duo Nyr Lif are scheduled to play music entertainment at the Girl Scout’s benefit show.

The men of the SoundScape Quartet are members of the Idaho Gateway Chorus, a chapter of the Rocky Mountain District of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Gary Dunn sings lead in this a cappella group, with Steve Erlandson singing tenor, Mike Louden singing baritone and bass singer Christopher Midgyette.

Formed in 2002, this group has had headlining performances in Idaho and Wyoming, and bookings in Utah, Colorado and Ohio. According to their website, SoundScape ranks in the top 7% of all quartets registered in the world with the Barbershop Harmony Society and is currently 9th in the nine-state Rocky Mountain District. In 2005 SoundScape won a prestigious scholarship to attend Harmony University in Columbus, Ohio where they studied with the best-of-the-best in the Barbershop world and were the featured quartet in the closing concert. Visit them online at

In 2008, Nyr Lif, with Casey Cathey and Shawn Barkdull, released a full-length CD, “Two Legs Broken,” to follow their previous EP, “Experimentallation.” The CD is available for purchase at for $9.99 download or $11.99 for the CD. Expect to hear calming music, modern electronic melodies blended with guitars and mandolin in the bluesy folk tradition.

I first started hearing about (and writing about) Nyr Lif more than two years ago, in January of '06. I wrote, "Nyr Lif’s music is a mix of indie rock and folk. There is acoustic layering of guitars, creative percussion, and great harmonies. Oh yeah, and they’re a group of good looking young men. That doesn’t hurt."

Formed six months before, Nyr Lif has played at venues all around Pocatello. They took first in ISU’s Guitar Unplugged Battle of the Bands. They are regulars at the local coffee shops, and then landed a coveted spot at ISU’s Halloween bash, Fright Night, playing in front of hundreds at Reed Gym.

Listen for some of their more popular songs: the bluegrassy “Capoed,” “Yani,” a harmonica blues song and “The Bicycle of Fate." In a recent interview with Nyr Lif, Cathey said, “all we ever hope for is to make a comfortable living doing something we think about every waking minute - except when we’re hungry.”

See for videos of Nyr Lif, and visit for recorded music and a full schedule of their upcoming dates.

Also on Friday night, the locally-based blues and rock band PhatBone plays Duffy’s Tavern on Main Street, starting at 9:00 p.m. There is no cover, and Duffy’s is open to those 21+. Phat Bone is Steve Sullivan on guitar and vocals, bassist Russ Sidel and Don Godfrey on drums. They are also scheduled to play Hooligan’s downtown on Tuesday of next week.

Visit for a full schedule of their local and regional bookings.

At Portneuf Valley Brewing on S. 1st Avenue in Pocatello this weekend, Recycled Rocks, a vintage rock n roll band from Lava Hot Springs is scheduled on Friday the 15th. And on Saturday the 16th, the urban folk rock band Hillfolk Noir, from Boise, ID, plays the pub. Music entertainment starts at 8:30 p.m., free and open to the public of all ages.

Linda Alexander
a.k.a. Lana Banana for Idaho Local Live Music

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Column for January 6, 2010

A quiet live music scene in Pocatello this week, I can only assume that everyone is still recovering from the holidays?

This afternoon, the locally-based Kratz Bros Band is playing at Kinport Coffee on S. 1st Avenue in Pocatello at 4:00 p.m. The entertainment is free and open to all ages. And on Saturday the 9th, the band will be playing at The Cellar, E. 17th Street, in Ammon, ID starting at 7:00 p.m.

The Kratz Bros Band started as a duo act with brothers John and Luke Kratz. Over time, they have evolved into a full fusion rock band that blends 60's- style folk songwriting with electric and acoustic world music sounds and rhythms. Find out more at

Tonight, Wednesday the 6th, a special show at Portneuf Valley Brewing on S. 1st Avenue in Pocatello: Thomas Paul is playing the pub’s stage from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m..

Thomas Paul is an indie folk musician based out of Boise, Idaho. He’ll be playing for tips at the brewery, so bring a few extra bucks. Locals may know and recognize Paul from his work with the locally popular folk band, Hillfolk Noir. For more on Thomas Paul, visit him online at

Tomorrow the 7th, the acoustic, punk rock band Tyranny plays a special set at Hot Topic in Idaho Falls, starting at 6:30 p.m. Hot Topic is located in the mall on E. 17th Street. They have a follow-up performance at the Idaho State University campus in Idaho Falls. For more on Tyranny, see

On Friday the 8th in Idaho Falls, 2am Logic plays the Peppertree Lounge on . The show starts at 8:00 p.m., is free and open to those 21+.

2am Logic is an alt. rock / post-grunge band who has seen enormous success with their freshman album. They are currently in the studio working on a follow up release. In the last year alone, the group has shared the stage with Alice Cooper, Great White, Rev Theory, Pop Evil, The Sammus Theory and more.

Fronted by vocalist Todd Thompson, this five-piece band has Cody Scheer and Dustin Thueson on guitars, bassist Kathy Brown and Shawn Ringel on drums. Find out more at

Portneuf Valley Brewing has a weekend of live music with Soul Full of Blues, featuring singer Ramona Awes on Friday the 8th. And on Saturday, Aaron Ball’s Somewhere In the Middle rocks the pub’s stage. Music starts at 8:30, free entertainment and open to all ages.

On the music industry, Aaron Ball said, “[It is] a very exciting time to be musicians; there are so many opportunities for independent artists to self-promote. The music industry as a whole is really evolving, and it will be interesting to see where it is in another couple of years.” Find Somewhere In the Middle at

On Saturday the 9th, Pocatello High School is hosting a fund raising dance for the Student Environmental Action Coalition. The dance is from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. Cost is $5, and everyone is welcome. Expect a variety of music and special performances by Blind Autumn and Seven Feet Below.

Blind Autumn is a locally-based fusion rock group with Isaac Frantz on alto saxophone, flute and keyboards, guitarist John Boy, Terran Engle on bass and Patrick Kennedy on drums. Learn more about the band at

Seven Feet Below was recently in the news for making the final rounds in a national road song competition. Although the band didn’t win, they made a fine showing in the competition, bringing much-needed national exposure to Pocatello’s live music scene, particularly for being comprised of musicians under the age of 18. Gentlemen, you did us proud. Find out more about Seven Feet Below at

There are some great concerts in the area coming up in the next few months. Fans of the progressive rock jam band genre of music will be pleased to hear that Umphrey’s McGee is scheduled to play at The Depot in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.

Just a few days later at The Depot, Big Head Todd and the Monsters are scheduled to play on January 23, 2010. On January 22nd, the legendary Bellamy Brothers are playing an intimate concert at The Outlaw Saloon in Ogden, UT.

And in February, Jack’s Mannequin is booked to play In The Venue in Salt Lake City. Tickets for these Utah shows are available at

Also on January 22, The Clumsy Lovers make a long-awaited return to the Pocatello area at the First National Bar.

Linda Alexander
a.k.a. Lana Banana for Idaho Live Music

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