Cursive dates announced in Missoula, Billings

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Indie rock band Cursive just released its seventh full-length album, Mama, I'm Swollen.

Omaha-based indie rock band Cursive has confirmed shows in Missoula and Billings in June. The quartet, hailed as one of the most exciting and inventive rock bands today, is currently touring in support of Mama, I’m Swollen, the band’s seventh album.

Released March 10 on Saddle Creek Records, Mama, I’m Swollen progresses the Cursive formula of thoughtful albums wrestling with life’s complex themes, showcasing the vivid writing of lyricist Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar) mashed with the band’s complex, explorative rock.

The band is scheduled to perform June 20 at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. in Billings and June 21 in Missoula at the Other Side. Tickets for the Billings show are available May 8 at www.1111presents.com.

Triple indie rock bill tonight at the Railyard

Denver rock band Photo Atlas performs tonight in Billings.
Denver rock band The Photo Atlas performs tonight in Billings.

The Forecast, 1090 Club and The Photo Atlas are joining forces for select dates through the west, and the three bands come together tonight for an all-ages concert starting at 6 p.m. at the Railyard.

Denver-based band Photo Atlas is touring in support of the newly-released sophomore album, “To Silently Provoke the Ghost,” released nationally April 21 and produced by J. Robbins (Against Me!, Jets To Brazil, Murder By Death).

1090 Club is close to wrapping its two-week tour in support of their newest, “Natural Selection,” with a Missoula and Seattle date left in this leg of the tour.

Peoria, Illinois’ band The Forecast, whose last performance of layered harmonies and boisterous rock melodies in Billings was on Labor Day 2007, is co-fronted by vocalist and bassist Shannon Burns, guitarist Dustin Addis and drummer Matt Webb.

The three bands also perform together at the Union Hall in Missoula Tuesday and Studio Seven in Seattle Wednesday. 1090 Club returns home for a performance  with Murder By Death on May 1, and The Forecast and The Photo Atlas continue touring the west together through early May.

BSO wraps 58th, announces upcoming artists

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Alisa Weilerstein opens the BSO's 59th season on Sept. 19.

The Billings Symphony ended its 58th season with lush performances of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms on Saturday. The event featured the Korean violinist Chee-Yun performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major.

Without slowing down, the BSO announced its 59th season this week. Alisa Weilerstein, who left her audience clamoring for more after her impassioned performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 at the BSO’s season finale in  2008, returns to open the 2009-10 season.

Weilerstein will perform Schelomo, a composition known for its richness of passion and poignant spirituality, written for cello and orchestra by Ernest Bloch. The symphony will also perfrom Rossini’s Overture to The Thieving Magpie, which is heard in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.”

Other guest performers announced for the 2009-2010 season include Jason Suchan, a finalist in the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition, Broadway singer Doug LaBrecque, celtic artist Christopher Layer on Irish uilleann pipes, and the season finale with pianist Andrew von Oeyen performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Single tickets for the 2009-2010 season go on sale August 17.

Trapt singer injures vocal chords, cancels Billings show

Alt rock band Trapt canceled its Billings appearance tonight due to illness.

The lead singer of the California alt rock band Trapt injured his vocal chords and requires medical attention, and the band will therefore not be performing at tonight’s show at the Shrine Auditorium with RED, Halestorm and Inept.

Chris Taylor Brown posted on his blog that he was having problems with his voice during the weekend and has sought out a specialist for the issue.

“I’m incredibly disappointed that I have been unable to perform at San Antonio and now Billings. There’s nothing worse than having to let people down, especially all of you,” Brown posted.

The concert will still take place alternative rock band RED headlining. Concert promoters 11:11 Presents and Jade Presents are offering ticket holders a $5 cash rebate at the door if they still want to attend the concert or a full refund of the ticket price if not.

Trapt resumes their tour in Spokane on April 22.

Tracking my drunken friends at Coachella via Twitter

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When Jon Bell and Andrew Fitzgerald hit the road on their way to Coachella, they made sure all their friends could watch with intrigue as their drunken adventure unfolded.

Jon, who has refused to join to social networking sites, remaining absent from friend lists on MySpace and Facebook, joined the ranks of thousands of new twitterers on April Fools Day. Andrew, a casual online social networker, has been twittering for a little under a year, informing his small following of his diet choices, which seems to consist of nachos, snack nuts, tea and beer, and other mundane details of his daily existence.

However uneventful their daily lives may seem, tracking these two on Twitter has become quite contagious. I log on each morning to see what the night brought the calamitous pair.

From their second stop, a motel in Vegas, the two began a onslaught of interesting factoids: “Our hotel is between a strip club and a super huge porn store. Vegas is #1 awesome.” “Enjoying our first drink of the night. A long island, of course.” “Drink holder in the urinal! What’ll they think of next!?!?” “Jon found something else to lose at: a star trek slot machine.” “Crikey! If live keno was a hot chick i’d totally marry her.”

Leaving Los Vegas, Jon twitters: “Two nights without death or incarceration. Eat it skeptics.” After rolling into Coachella, an annual music and arts festival held in Indio, California, last night, the two wasted little time and set up their tent.

“We finally made it! Our gear is set up and we’re ready to rock,” Andrew informed us. “The music stops at 4am at a crazy rave dome now. Those who predicted Japandrew and I’s deaths may have been right. No sleep til Brooklyn,” Jon added. 40 oz of vodka later, Andrew and Jon broke into the rum.

As they made their way to the “thunder dome,” showcasing their dance moves and weighing their band choices based on the set list, I can only wait jealously for the next update.

Lyle Lovett adds Billings date to Montana tour

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Lyle Lovett is scheduled to perform three shows in Montana in May.

County crooner Lyle Lovett announced a May 19 concert date in Billings, the first in three appearances in Montana.

A concert featuring Lovett at Missoula’s Wilma Theater May 21 was announced earlier this month, and this week’s lineup additions include a Bozeman performance May 20 at the Emerson Cultural Center and the Billings performance at the Alberta Bair Theater with his band, being billed as the Lyle Lovett Acoustic Trio. 

Tickets for the concert are available at the Alberta Bair box office or online at jadepresents.com and 1111presents.com.

With buckets and spoons, Hillstomp returns to Montana

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Portland's Hillstomp last performed in Billings at the Railyard in January.

Portland blues band Hillstomp are passing through Billings next week on a regional tour that includes Washington, Idaho and Montana.

The band recently released a live album, After Two But Before Five, showcasing their self-titled genre of “junkbox blues,” a hodgepodge of folk, punk, blues and bar busking.

Vocalist and drummer John Johnson performs on upturned plastic buckets with a washboard strung around his neck and a maraca taped to one of his hands. Guitarist and vocalist Henry Kammerer cycles through a half dozen guitars while on stage, as well as banjo.

Montana tour dates include April 16 in Missoula at The Palace, April 17 in Billings at Railyard Ale House, an in-store at Cactus Records April 18 in Bozeman as well as a show that evening at the Filling Station.

MP3: Goin’ Down South

Conor Oberst books Missoula date

Conor Oberst performs with The Mystic Valley Band at Bones Brewing in Billings July 25, 2008. (Photo by Casey Riffe)
Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band last performed in Montana at Bones Brewing in Billings July 25, 2008. (Photo by Casey Riffe)

Conor Oberst is bring his Mystic Valley Band back to Montana, performing June 22 at the Wilma Theater in Missoula.

Oberst made his first stop on last year’s North American tour right here in Billings, unveiling The Mystic Valley Band, made up of five longtime Oberst collaborators and friends.

The band is gearing up to release its new album Other South on May 5, recorded the album late last year at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillio, Texas.

For archives of Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band coverage in Montana coverage, visit www.penandpaige.com/portfolio/bright-eyes.

Black Flag, SST founder Greg Ginn jams at Railyard

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Greg Ginn plays bass with his band, the Taylor Texas Corrugators.

Amongst the Chacos and the Chucks, Greg Ginn, best-known for his guitar work with Black Flag and for founding SST Records, performed to an audience piqued with curiosity and unsure what would unfold Saturday night. 

Admittedly, I has no idea what to expect, except not to expect Ginn’s former hardcore sound. Without announcement or embellishes, Ginn on bass, a drummer, and a mandolin player rolled into nearly an hour of bluesy jams before addressing the audience.

“You probably need an explanation,” Ginn said into the microphone. He announced the band was named the Taylor Texas Corrugators and introduced its members, and said, “All right. That should cover it,” and continued the rambling jam. 

After a short break the group rejoined, this time with Ginn on guitar and under a different monicker: Jambang. Darker with hardcore undertones, the songs began simple, building layers of sound into a trembling anxiousness, added to with a drum machine. Ginn’s head rolled back and forth, his legs in a Clash-like London Calling stance, talent jetting from his resilient fingers.

Described as a deliberately cliché on their website, perhaps to mislead the drones of punk followers hoping to capture glory days or a cover of “Rise Above,” Ginn and his band were anything but unoriginal. Able to interject freestyle jazz and blues melodies with a harsh undercurrent of hardcore Ginn pioneered, the Taylor Texas Corrugators were an offbeat group that defied categories, just like the old days.

Canadian pop band The Envy stranded in Billings

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The Envy's 1988 bluebird bus, which has stranded them in Billings.

Toronto’s The Envy haven’t had much luck in the wild west. Their bus broke down several times before stranding them in Billings. The band has been keeping their fans updated while enjoying the city’s hotspots: brews at YVBC, coffee at Rock Creek, and Monday they’ll play a “Help Pay For Broken Tranny” show at the Railyard.