Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Column for September 22, 1010

Good things happen in two’s? Poctello’s local live music scene has paired-up entertainment this week, Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday. Find a friend, buddy up and hit the town. Twice. Here’s where to be when.

On Thursday the 23rd, The FlipSide Lounge, located on S. Main Street in Pocatello, welcomes Phantoms, a rock band based from Seattle. Then on Friday the 24th, see Smoochknob headline with n.m.e. and special guests opening. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., open to those 21 and over. For more on the FlipSide, visit

Phantoms was formed in June of 2009, when singer / songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Johnny (just one name, like Sting or Prince) recruited guitarist John Luzzi, drummer Nick Anderson, Trong Nguyen on keyboards and bassist Doug Rehfeldt. With the support of a local Seattle-based radio station, Phantoms are playing to packed houses and touring the region.

Influenced by Jimmy Eat World, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional and Nirvana, expect Phantoms to play new and original music with a familiar, if edgy, feel. Listen for fan-favorite songs, “Take That, Karl Marx” and “Dust.” Find out more at

Smoochknob is a pop-punk band based from Portland, OR, led by dummer and vocalist Donnie Rife. He named the band after the Midwest slang for a suicide knob on the steering wheel of a car. His catchy tongue-in-cheek songs draw comparisons to Weezer or the Presidents of the U.S.A.

Smoochknob’s CD, “Jr. High Anthems,” is due for release in spring 2011. Find out more at

Rumors Bar on Garrett Way in Pocatello returns Twisted Deuce to their stage. Music entertainment is free and open to those 21 and over. Twisted Deuce, a locally-based duo using loop technology, plays covers of all your favorites. Call (208) 478-2525 for more information.

Marigolds Wine, located on Flandro Drive in Pocatello, has paired up two, locally-based singer / songwriter, acoustic guitar-playing soloists this weekend. On Friday, Scott Balsai performs his fingerstyle techniques on the guitar from 7 to 10:00 p.m., and on Saturday, Randy Johnson plays folk and Americana. Visit Marigolds online at

Scott Balsai two CD’s, collectively called "Acoustic Reflections," have been met with praise from Taylor Guitars. His first CD, “Waiting for the Sun,” was recorded in Pocatello in 1998 with the help of Steve Eaton. "Each piece," Balsai said, "reflects a sliver of my life, but taken together, they can be seen as musical diary of 'tone poems' which reflect my life as a whole." The second, “Falling Colors on Prairie Braid,” was recorded with the help of Dan Mihlfeith, in Pocatello in 2004. For more, visit

Randy Johnson has been a consistent player in Pocatello’s acoustic rock and folk scene. He has collaborated with other locally and regionally-based musicians Dan Hillebrant, George Asboe, Angier Wills and more, as well as having been a member of the now-defunct Greybeard band.

My final musical weekend pairing suggestion is Portneuf Valley Brewing, where the very popular Swingshift takes the stage on Friday night, and the party of the weekend will be hosted on Saturday. Music entertainment inside the pub is free and open to all ages

Swingshift, fronted by vocalists Ramona Awes and Mike Banks, play jazz, blues and light rock. Their regular last-Friday-of-the-month appearances at the pub are eagerly anticipated; I would suggest arriving early for the band’s 8:30 p.m. start time.

On Saturday the 25th, Portneuf Valley Brewing celebrates Oktoberfest with a street party, all along the 600 block of S. 1st Avenue in Pocatello. Gates open at 4:00 p.m., with live music from 5 to midnight, featuring Soul Full of Blues, Elvis Has Left the Building and Jonny and The Electric Polka Dots.

The annual Oktoberfest block party helps raise funds for the Pebble Creek Ski Patrol. The Ski Patrol will cook hamburgers and bratwurst outside, and the pub will be open with Oktoberfest food and beverage specials for the occasion. Tickets are $5 in advance, available in the pub and at Scott’s Ski and Sport, Raven’s Nest, Barrie’s Ski and Sport, College Market or the Grapevine, or $8 at the gate, kids under 12 are welcome free.

Fronted by Ramona Awes on lead vocals, Soul Full of Blues includes Robert Miron, Dan Lauer, Steve Howard and Kerry Pepper. Elvis Has Left the Building, a trio with Angier Wills, Greg Mladenka and Bill Chalmers, plays original acoustic Americana.

Find out more on Soul Full of Blues at; Elvis Has Left the Building is online at For more on Oktoberfest, visit

Linda Alexander

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