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ANCHORAGE PRESS

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


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beers on tap | 21 & over | food ‘til late

TheSitzmark.com MUSIC GUIDE 2015


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W

ELCOME to the Anchorage Press 2015 music guide! We’ve compiled an extensive—yet by no means definitive—list of local musicians, venues and promoters designed to highlight Anchorage’s rich and varied music scene. This is a work in progress, and our online version will continue to grow, so keep checking back with anchoragepress.com, and let us know if there is a band or venue that you merits inclusion. Another feature returning to our website this week is Press Basement Tapes, where local musicians perform mini-concerts in our creepy basement. This time we convinced Orion Donicht, a solo artist, member of Life Ain’t Fairview, and beloved bartender at Spenard Roadhouse to play a few tunes. He rocked it, like so many of the entertainers listed in this guide do on a regular basis. If you complain there’s nothing to do in Anchorage, take a look at our music guide. We’re betting we’ll prove you wrong.

GIRL POWER

Loud and proud at girls rock camp

BY NITHYA THIRU

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FAST AND ANGRY

quin State Meet Anchorage metal band, The Harle MCCUMMINGS BY ZAKIYA

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BAND BIOS

A guide to local musicians

VENUES 15 Local show spots

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METAL METTLE

Family Tree Productions

BY ZAKIYA MCCUMMINGS

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SHOWDOWN LOWDOWN

Growing the scene

BY ZAKIYA MCCUMMINGS

GOT TICKETS?

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MUSIC GUIDE COVER ILLUSTRATION BY

TIGER TASKER

NECKER, TEEKA MUSIC GUIDE COMPILED BY KATIE PESZ BALLAS AND PRESS STAFF

MUSIC GUIDE 2015

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REDEEM GAME CARDS

NOW!

PROGRAM ENDS APRIL 26TH

www.thealaskaclub.com

8 different Whistling Swan Shows!

Josh Ritter

Opening artist Anna Lynch T April 17 - Discovery Theatre 7:30 p.m. April 18 - Glenn Massey Theatre 7:30 p.m.

end

eek

W his

“One of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters” - Paste Magazine “... among the cream of the young singer-songwriter crop.” - New York Times

Rhiannon Giddens

Grammy Award winner with 3 members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. May 3 - Discovery Theatre 7:30pm May 4 - Glenn Massey Theatre 7:30pm “Rhiannon Giddens has become one of the most promising voices in American roots music...Tomorrow Is My Turn is a feminist tour of the canon...Giddens imbues these classics with a freshness and vitality that feels right at home in 2015.” - Rolling Stone “What’s most striking about Giddens’ voice is its seemingly effortless ability to adapt to different musical styles” - The Los Angeles Times “On her first solo album, Giddens sends her voice soaring, diving and soaring again through all kinds of songs...A gorgeous voice worth hearing today.” - People Magazine

Keb’ Mo’ and his band 3 Time Grammy Winner, as well as Three 2015 Grammy Nominations. June 5 - Glenn Massey Theatre 7:30pm June 5 - Atwood Concert hall 7:30pm Modern master of American blues and roots music. His songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker and Robert Palmer. Keb also performs the theme song for the smash sit-com Mike & Molly and was music director for TV’s Memphis Beat.

The Revelers Eilen Jewell JUST ADDED!

June 12 Musk Ox Farm, Palmer 7:30 p.m. Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell and her band will appear at the Musk Ox Farm on Friday June 12 at 7:30 pm. Watch for tickets to go on sale soon for an evening of music and musk ox in one of the most fantastic concert settings in the state!

Subscriptions Still Available!

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JUST ADDED!

April 29 - Taproot Public House 7:30 p.m. The Revelers, founding members of the Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys... “unquestionably the two groups at the vanguard of the Louisiana cultural renaissance” have joined together to form a Louisiana Supergroup which combines Swamp-Pop, Cajun, Country, Blues and Zydeco into a powerful tonic of roots music. The dance floor will be open!

whistlingswan.net Like Us On Facebook

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


Savannah West gets ready to take the stage at Tap Root during the Girls Rock Camp 2014 final performance. COURTESY PHOTO

BY NITHYA THIRU

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HIS JUNE, GIRLS ROCK CAMP ALASKA will be hosting its second annual summer music camp. The week-long experience gives girls ages nine to 17 an opportunity to form a band, write a song and perform for an audience of family, friends, and camp counselors. Along with music classes and band practice, participants attend workshops that cover a range of topics including women’s empowerment. The camp program is guided by the belief that young women have a right to be proud of their identities, be creative, and speak up. Local music teacher Monica Lettner founded Girls Rock Camp Alaska last year. Lettner decided to start the program after teaching in Seattle in 2012 and 2013 at a camp associated with Girls Rock Camp Alliance, a national organization that coordinates girls’ music camps across the United States. Girls attending camp are not required to have prior musical experience. Instruments (drums, guitar, and bass guitar) are provided, and participants are set loose with their peers to produce an original song. Though Lettner is an avid musician, for her the camp is much more than a purely musical experience. “We’re really trying to spark creativity and individuality, and let them know that they have a voice, that their opinion matters,” Lettner explains. “They don’t have to conform to anybody else’s idea of what a girl is supposed to be.” Over the course of the week, girls attend age-appropriate workshops aimed at fostering discussion on gender. Lettner remembers an activity from last year that brought history and pop culture together, “Last year we had them role play, y’know, what would happen if Martha Washington had a conversation with Lady Gaga?” Lettner says. “We really just ask them to think about what would women back then think of women today. Who’s more progressive, what were they fighting for in their time, and what did they stand up for?” While many forms of music can be empowering, Lettner sees

rock music as a particularly potent form of expression for women. “Girls are not encouraged to be loud. So, even when they’re encouraged to play music, if you just think about your elementary or high school experience, there’s lots of girls in choir, there’s lots of girls playing piano or flute. There’s not a lot of girls playing the big drums, or the deep big tubas,” Lettner says. “When they always have to live under that ‘be lovely, be ladylike’ bubble, rock music is just one vehicle of saying you get to be loud.”

West also enjoyed the amount of freedom they were given in making the band their own, “I think our band name was Guacamole cause we couldn’t really think of anything cooler, and so we were just like, ‘Guacamole, why not?’” But for West, like Lettner, the ultimate power of the camp came from its message of empowerment. “Girls are pretty kick-ass,” West says, “Guys are like, ‘Oh, a girl can’t play guitar.’ Well a girl can play guitar and Girls Rock Camp just really reinforces that.” A mother of two camp attendees, Shannon Earl was proud to see the impact that the camp had on her daughters. Earl says. “They were all amped up when I would pick them up, and about women’s rights...They came home from camp and my youngest daughter, she decided she was going to write a letter to President Obama about the importance of women’s rights, and it was so cool.” The camp ends with a performance at Tap Root. Earl explains she honestly didn’t expect the music to be great, but was blown away by what she saw. “It’s not like, ‘whoa! Sign these kids to a label!’ It was way, way cooler than that. I mean it’s watching these kids, so you have young groups of kids and older groups of kids, and they are just so free.” n

“We’re really trying to spark creativity and individuality, and let them know that they have a voice, that their opinion matters.”

MUSIC GUIDE 2015

Savannah West, 15, attended camp last year, and plans to return this June. West first signed up with encouragement from Lettner who had just started giving her lessons at the time that the camp began. West played drums and loved it, despite no prior drumming experience. She was surprised to find how easily her band members were able to help each other through the process of songwriting. “We really all just came together on it, and we all wrote it together, and it was definitely like a team effort,” West says. “It wasn’t just one person writing the song or anything like that, it was all of us.”

Girls Rock Camp Alaska is currently accepting applications for their summer program June 1 through 6. Tuition is $400 The organization is also looking for volunteers. For more information visit girlsrockcampalaska.org.

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The Harlequin State is (l-r) Alberto Alcala, Joshua Springer, Kyle Schnese, Devin Paquette and Argel Isaguirre. PHOTO BY RACHAEL PELTIER

It’s 9:30 on the dot and everyone is shouting out goodbyes from the middle of the street. Another Sunday practice over and done.

BY ZAKIYA MCCUMMINGS

Taking the Stage

Garage Band

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N A SUNDAY NIGHT around 7, four of the five members of The Harlequin State gather in drummer Kyle Schnese’s garage. Inside, black sound-dampening foam encircles the small practice space. There are two folding metal chairs propped to one side, and vocalist Alberto Alcala is offered one by Schnese after expressing a desire to sit rather than spend the next two-and-a-half hours on his feet. To my left guitarist Argel Isaguirre checks to make sure I’m comfortable on an old, sunken green couch. He settles with a dark brown, mahogany electric guitar on his lap and an easygoing smile. Guitarist Josh Springer is wearing a muted grey band tee with pop-punk artists State Champs’ logo on it. “Here,” he exclaims, extending his arm to offer me a plastic clamshell container. “You’re gonna want some of these.” Inside is an assortment of disposable earplugs. There’s no ambling about; Springer tells them all what song they’ll start with, and with a four count of Schnese’s drumsticks they’re off in a hailstorm of heavy riffs and thrumming drum kicks. I expect chaos and calamity going into the practice; my idea of metal music is a lot of screaming guitars and wild drum playing. Instead, I learn there is a method to this madness just like any other art form. Even the most hard-hitting songs have a distinct melodic undertone. The run-through finishes with guitar chords tapering off, and immediately music gives way to composition discussion. Alcala isn’t singing this practice, but he is far from absent. His voice is solid and cuts through the room to give praise to his band mates, even offering suggestions for altering the drum part with phonetic sounds. Springer is a natural leader; he commands the practice while still leaving room for others to give suggestions and direction, and he has a keen ear for music. Immediately, during a second song, he stops them when Isaguirre’s guitar playing isn’t gelling with the rest of the song, and they all agree to rework it. Schnese is the most soft-spoken and a perfectionist, wincing when he fumbles through a section of music and determined to get it right. Isaguirre is the magic man; his skill on the guitar is unfathomable and he can easily flow from a freestyle solo back into the set melody. Despite their professionalism, they are still in their 20s, and fans of video games as much as they are of music. The topic of devolution today is the new Dragonball Z game they’re all currently obsessed with. Five minutes into their heated conversation about game play Springer turns to me with a goofy grin. “This is what the other 20 percent of our band practice consists of.” Practice is officially over at nine-ish, but everyone hovers in the garage for another half hour, trading stories about their weekends and working out upcoming days they need to request off work. As everyone pours out of the garage into the main foyer, there is a plan set in motion for all but Schnese to meet up at a mutual friend’s house for the night. A conversation about Springer’s shirt suddenly shifts the attention to me. “Do you like State Champs?” Alcala asks me excitedly, “Do you like pop punk?” I haven’t heard of them but am a fan of the genre. “Go home and listen to them right now!” he reprimands.

It’s a special night for The Harlequin State. Their best friends and fellow local band, Noise Brigade, are playing one last show in Anchorage and Harlequin’s opening the show to demonstrate their support. There is little down time from the moment they step onstage to the moment the first chord is struck and they’re off in a flourish. The mosh pit is a sea of bodies and hair thrashing about. The energy exchanged between the band and crowd is palpable. “This is the last time we will play this song,” Springer says seriously, “So enjoy it.” Fan favorite “Circadian” is one of their older songs you can’t find online, and it was truly performed for the

Anchorage Rocks for Autism event the next day. The entire band shows up, with bassist Devin Paquette sitting at the far end of the lumpy green couch quietly. He brings a calmer personality to the band, one that seems to balance out the mix of introverted and extroverted members. The quintet had ample time to get to know each other; the history of The Harlequin State dates back to their freshman year in high school. Alcala, the vocalist, met Isaguirre, the lead guitarist, after he played a battle of the bands competition with his cousin. “He asked me to join his band, and then Kyle and Josh happened to be like ‘Hey, we like the same music!’ They wanted to start a band at the same time, and then we were like ‘Hey, why don’t we all start a band?’ And that’s how we got started,” Isaguirre explains. There was a period of time they were just a group of kids who got together and played music. During this time they called themselves Hearts of the Renegade and played Southern metal. Schnese describes their skills as “pretty bad.” When the group decided to play seriously, however, a name change came about, followed by an audition with ShowDown Productions co-founder, and former employee of The Downstairs at Club Millennium, Hellen Fleming. “Hellen came to a band practice to make sure that we didn’t suck so she could give us a show,” Springer laughs. Since playing their first show, the Hoedown Showdown in 2011, The Harlequin State has been busy booking gigs and making music. Their earlier EPs lean more towards a posthardcore sound with Alcala contributing both clean and unclean vocals. These days, however, their sound is, in their words, “fast and angry.” “It’s kind of hard to do both singing and screaming live,” Alcala admits. The lack of clean vocals in their newer music doesn’t necessarily take away from their sound. The band’s last EP, Deadweight, is direct in its execution. While you may not know how to label them as far as genre goes, their music now has a definitive sound. “The natural progression was that we got faster, much more aggressive, and much angrier,” Springer shares. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re not putting ourselves in a box anymore. When you first start a band you look for an identity, and we started as a Southern metal band so everything we wrote came out with a twang.” From there the band experimented with melodic hardcore and metalcore. And while they were releasing music their fans were receptive to, once they let go of trying to label themselves their musicality grew exponentially. Most impressive is the direction their music appears to be heading in the future. The Harlequin State has reworked their methodology in terms of music composition. For the most part what’s going on behind the scene is under wraps. What I can tell you is that the band is in its early stages of constructing their debut album. One of their new songs, called “Burner,” features heavy hitting guitar riffs and some stellar drumming from Schnese; it’s been in their live set list for their past two shows. When asked what advice they’d give to high school kids who want to start a band, their response is simple: just fucking do it. “I didn’t play drums until we started the band, so even if you don’t play an instrument, you can learn,” Schnese says. Springer adds, “There’s definitely an inner circle when it comes to [the Alaskan] music scene. But the catch with that is it’s not non-inclusive: we will include you. The more people involved, the stronger the scene is.” n

The mosh pit is a sea of bodies and hair thrashing about. The energy exchanged between the band and crowd is palpable.

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fans; you could feel the vivacity in the air as kids sung their hearts out and took turns jumping off the stage. There’s something different about each of them when playing live. Alcala gives all of himself to his vocal performance; in between songs you can see that he is tired but as soon as Schnese counts them in he’s back at it like they never stopped. Schnese himself comes out of his shell onstage, where his drummer’s oasis seems to give him a space to let loose. At one point during the show he pours water over his face; when that’s not enough, he throws his shirt off. Bassist Devin Paquette rounds out the band’s dynamic. He somehow manages to whip about and completely lose himself in his playing while still maintaining a cool stage presence. The highlight of the night is a surprise cover of Taking Back Sunday’s “Liar, Liar.” One of the best things about live shows is getting the chance to hear bands perform songs you might not get to hear them play otherwise. It’s not a perfect rendition, the vocals sometimes drowned out by the guitars, but it doesn’t matter because the music takes you there. The iconic line ‘liar, liar, if we’re keeping score’ is amplified by 100 voices screaming back at Alcala.

Jumping Out the Box If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time following The Harlequin State, it’s that for this group of men there’s no such thing as a vacation. The following week the band holds a special Friday afternoon practice preparing to perform at the annual

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


Alaska Thunder Funk PHOTO BY JOEL ADAMS

Blending rock, hip-hop and funk, ATF never fails to get arms in the air and booties shaking. Rarely seen around town these days, but a sighting’s not completely unheard of. Find them on Facebook.

Big Fat Buddah Jamming together since 2010, Big Fat Buddah specializes in marathon live shows filled with funk, rock, soul and even a few hints of bluegrass. Look them up on Facebook or at bigfatbuddah.com.

Cliff & Ivy Describing themselves as Alaska’s only goth band, Cliff & Ivy definitely have a one-of-akind sound. Ivy’s voice is low and demands your attention when you listen, and their music rolls from one note to the next, taking you on a journey. Website: cliffandivy.com

Damage Done There’s something lowkey about Damage Done’s music. It’s the kind of aggressive sound that sneaks up on you and before you know it you’re head-banging in your car. They mix clean and unclean vocals in a way that really accepts the simplicity of their guitar riffs. Find them on Facebook. Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/damagedone907

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EEL LIKE DANCING? Then keep an eye out for DJ Rikki Tikki Tavi at Anchorage venues. This DJ gets around, spinning at recent years in spots ranging from wine bar Killjoy Tasting Room to Humpy’s Alehouse to Fourth Ave. weekend spot The Avenue. In interviews DJ Rikki Tikki Tavi has hesitated to assign a one-size-fits-all label to his sound. Listen for down-tempo, trip-hoppy stuff, but don’t be surprised if he throws in house or electronica. And maybe some old school hip-hop. Or some indie pop. In other words: good music, and danceable music.

Denali Cooks Although this band considers their sound feel-good, Alaskan rock, we like to think of them as an oddly perfect mix of blues and rock, weaving piano in with soulful guitar playing. Great hippie jams! Find them on Facebook or at denalicooks.com

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The Diamonds

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ABARKO DEFTLY DELIVERS intense, riff-driven indie rock to Anchorage audiences. The band includes Andy Tholberg on vocals and guitar, Cody Jones on guitar, Eric Neet on bass and Wes Hartlieb on drums. “We’ve been together three years and are the product of Andy Thorberg’s genius and the other members’ talents,” Hartlieb said. Hartlieb said Dabarko’s shows are “lively and loud,” and the band draws savvy, music-loving fans who are well tuned to the local scene. Debarko’s music is nearly entirely originals but an occasional cover makes an appearance. Debarko is “inspired by bands like Ween, Weezer, and Queens of the Stone Age,” Hartlieb said. The group often performs at Tap Root, Chilkoot Charlie’s and Anchorage Community Works. Fun fact: the band name, Debarko, is after a street that Thorberg lived on in Oregon. Coming up, the band plans to continue delivering local shows, and is working on an album.

Funk, soul and serious danceability, The Diamonds are a five-piece band that exude a good time and have been making fun for Alaskans since 1984. Find them on Facebook.

The Dirty Hands Good ol’ fashioned blues. Gravel n’ grit vocals, soulful horns, honest rhythm, and a reliable organ, this band delivers exactly what you want from a modern blues band—bad assery. Find upcoming shows and hear live tracks at thedirtyhandsmusic.com.

DJ Gre Specializing in moombah—a mixed genre that fuses house and club music with some dubstep—DJ Gre can spin and mash up just about anything. Find him on Facebook.

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DJ Jacob Mattie A spinner of sounds, grooves, ambience and tunes, Mattie is an audiophile of impressive magnitude. Find him on Facebook. Hear his creations on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/jacobmattie

DJ Tony H House and techno mixes right and proper. Featured on the Vol. 5 House Kingdom CD, Tony H. hails from Panama City, where he was named the seventh best DJ. Soundcloud: soundcloud. com/dj-tonyh

DJ Victamone Well versed in funk, soul, hip-hop and break, DJ V is the winner of DJ Battles. He also serves Anchorage as a B-boy, is part of the Illaskan Assassins crew and can be found spinning around the city on the weekends. Find him on Facebook and give him a listen on Soundcloud. soundcloud.com/victamone

Dutchess A four-piece band that accurately ascribes to the genre dream rock, Dutchess invokes a sense of calm with resolved introspection, yet does not shy away from straight forward rock with mature grooves and versatile male vocals. Find them on Facebook. Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/dutchessmusic

Emma Hill This Singer/songwriter girl from Sleetmute has a voice like an echo in a deep wooded canyon. Her songs are familiar but fresh, and a real treat is when Bryan Daste sings and plays with her. Website: emmahillmusic.com

MUSIC GUIDE 2015

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J SPENCER LEE—aka Spencer Shroyer—is a one of Anchorage’s go-to DJs. His adaptable style has playfully filled open air block parties, rocked throngs of late-night dancers in popular clubs, and provided a loungy backdrop to fashion shows and corporate soirees. His versatility comes from years of labor, sometimes balancing DJing against day jobs, other times making a solo go of it, but always making sure he had a sonic footprint on the Anchorage scene. 
“I bought my first turntables and mixer from Decibel Records in fall of 2001 and started performing in 2002 as ‘DJ Encyclopedia Brown,’” Shroyer said. He changed his name to DJ Spencer Lee in 2013, a rebranding carefully managed to retain his hard-earned fan base that already extended out of Anchorage to communities like Seward and Homer, his hometown. “I’m an open-format DJ, meaning I’m not tied to a particular genre or style of music,” Shroyer said. “In the course of an event, I’ll normally play everything from Motown classics to ‘80s pop, nu-disco, rock, rap, soul, R&B, house, funk, disco – you name it.” The sudden and surprising shifts in genres and tempos, punctuated by his signature siren sound effects, are known for packing dance floors at local nightspots. Shroyer currently spins every Friday and Saturday at Flattop Pizza + Pool and just came off three years doing a “throwback Thursday” night at the Pioneer Bar, where he still occasionally performs. He’s also a musical mainstay at Skinny Raven Sports’ races and events. “When I’m not gigging out, I stay busy creating mixes that I upload to my website,” Shroyer said. “I have a couple more nights and events in the works that I can’t get specific on yet, other than to say that some will likely involve The Sawbuck, a craft cocktail club I’m a part of.” For more information, check out djspencerlee.com or thesawbuck.com. “I believe every town gets the scene it deserves,” Shroyer said. “Support the music, bands and DJs you like if you want to continue to see them. Something we’re missing? Book a show and put us onto some game.”

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Evan Phillips A distinctive and familiar voice in the Anchorage music scene, Evan Phillips has been making music for over a decade and continues on with four different projects. His solo efforts have a campfire, folky feel that highlights his rough but clear tone. Listen for yourself at evenphillips.net

Gimme Gimme Gimme This five-piece punk rock cover band are in fact a tribute to the famous cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimme Gimmes. They cover music of all genres and turn them into punk rock tunes. Find them on Facebook.

Griffith Self-described as aggressivecore, these “five grumpy dudes” from Anchorage (who really aren’t that grumpy) catapulted into the spotlight with their 2012 EP Polarizer. Since then, they’ve gained a loyal following and a distinct sound that can be heard on their latest EP Nothing Is Sacred Nothing Is Safe. Bandcamp: griffithband.bandcamp.com

Hannah Yoter Band Replete with upright bass, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and percussion, Yoter mixes folksy Americana/country vocals with a mountain music sound. For upcoming shows and booking, or to hear their music, visit hannahyoter.com.

The Harlequin State Hardcore with a sweet, fast side, this band blew some minds at the Anchorage, Warped Tour show last year. See their feature in this week’s paper for an in depth look at the band. Bamdcamp: theharlequinstate.bandcamp.com

H3 Anchorage’s one and only island and roots reggae band has been soothing souls and satisfying grooves in Anchorage for years. Replete with island rhythms, synths, and solid vocal harmonies, H3 never fails to inspire dancing and joy. Find them on Facebook.

Jared Woods Americana singer/songwriter rocker, Woods is one of the hardest working fulltime musicians in town. If he’s not recording his own music, crooning with other folksters, or rockin’ out with his band, he’s working hard slinging cover tunes. Listen and find out more at jaredwoods.com.

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T’S HARD TO MISS THE ETERNAL COWBOYS these days. The ubiquitous trio is constantly performing, playing bars, clubs and restaurants with punk exuberance flavored by folky rock, delivering music with a merriment and mischievousness of music gone rogue. The band is made up of Chris Hennig, with his rich, gravelly vocals and guitar skills; Josh Olsen as percussionist; Scott Gephardt on guitar; and David Cacy on bass. The whole band pitches in on vocals. The Cowboys have been around for more than a decade. The original incarnation started back in 2004, when Hennig and Cacy teamed up to play some cozy gigs at now-defunct Insurgent 49 in Anchorage and punk rock house shows in Eagle River. They exclusively played covers from punk band Against Me!—a band that happened to have an album called Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy. The “Eternal Cowboy” resonated, and a band name was born. For a while, the band “wasn’t a super serious thing and we were just doing covers back then, playing for our friends and parties and stuff,” Hennig said. Then, at an open mic at Anchor Pub, he met Olsen who told Hennig “hey, if you play some guitars, they’ll get us beer and we won’t have to buy it.” He returned to jam with Olsen the following week and the bartender offered them $75 for a weekly gig. “That’s really how the band started again,” Hennig said. They were noticed by Delmag frontman Mike Gorder, played a few shows with him, and started booking more appearances, Hennig said. “Big gigs started coming in.” Hennig has labeled their style as an “outlaw sound” that remains upbeat and danceable. Their country-meets-rock twang has a driving rambunctiousness to it, the kind of music that kick-starts a slow party. “I’d like to think we’re really good at reading rooms,” Hennig said. “If we’re going to be there playing background stuff we can do that and make it fun. We’re really interactive with the room too. We like to talk back and if we’re going to be heckled, we heckle back.” Cowboys’ shows are fun and rowdy. Expect an energetic, youthful crowd with other musicians often in attendance. The band regularly performs at venues around town, including every Wednesday at Pioneer Bar. What’s next? “We’re always trying to create something new,” Hennig said. “We just want to keep playing. We’ve got to keep it fresh, learn all the new pop covers and keep writing new material so we don’t fade away.”

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


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The Jephries The four Jephrie members have invented Gangster Folk, a genre of music that entangles contemplative lyrics, organic grooves, acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies, strands of rapid fire spoken word, social commentary and sometimes a hint of rockabilly. Find them on Facebook. Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/thejephries.

Joey Fender and the 55s Rockabilly, tried and true. Despite playing around anchorage for decades, Fender is elusive and a sighting is rare, but seriously worth tracking down. He’s hot and there’s not an ass that doesn’t shake when he and his boys throw down. The only social media he ascribes to is his website: joeyfender.com.

Laura Oden This singer/songwriter first started making her way into Anchorage hearts more than a dozen years ago with her Americana female duo Pagan Cowgirls. Now, with vocals reminiscent of early Joan Baez, she pulls together some of the city’s finest musicians to deliver earbending shows. Hear her album at lauraoden.com.

Life Ain’t Fairview/Orion Donicht

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OR A HEADY DOSE of Southern and classic rock colored by deep, dark themes, Anchorage has the Jack River Kings. Founder and vocalist Matt Herman has said Alaska inspires the band’s music in all it’s largess and beauty, but also what he described to one reporter as “a dark, weird and often creepy place—everything that lends itself to songwriting.” The Jack River Kings’ band members rank high on the musical pedigree scale: singer/songwriter Herman, with Martin Severin on bass, Aaron Benolkin on lead guitar and pedal steel, and Patrick McLaughlin on drums. Herman is credited with inspiring the band after releasing a solo album with encouragement from The Whipsaws’ Evan Phillips. “I’d written a bunch of songs and I shared them with him, and he said, ‘you gotta make a record,’” Herman told the Press. The band describes its rowdy and rhythmic sound as “Alaska rock and roll” with country and pop influences. Bands they listen to include Drive-By Truckers, Wilco, CCR, and the Allman Brothers. “It’s loud rock and roll with an occasional pedal steel,” Severin said. “I have this weird relationship with the pedal steel. I decided a few years ago that it’s the best thing man has yet invented. Refrigerators are nice and all, but pedal steels are really cool.” While not a frequent name on the music calendar, Jack River Kings have become a staple on the Anchorage scene, and fans with a taste for that Southern sound, driving guitar and sweet melodies would enjoy their memorable performances.

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Donicht’s got strong Tom Waits-gravelly chops, a hillbilly punk sound and sense of humor that can be arresting. Throw in some drums (Jason Lessard, Historian) and piano (Alex Cruver, Alex Cruver Jazz Trio) and you’ve got a back alley trio that begs speakeasy whiskey and long slow body groping dances. The trio hasn’t been seen around town lately, though all the players have, so maybe a little begging will get them to play for ya. Hear Donicht at reverbnation.com/oriondonicht and the full trio at reverbnation.com/lifeaintfairviewtrio

Lulu Small The grande dame of Alaska music festivals, Small has been performing in her wacky style for 35 years, bringing a sweet voice and sassy humor to the stage. lulusmallmusic.com

Melissa Mitchell Mitchell may very well be Alaska’s strongest, most stylistically defined, accomplished singer/songwriter. She also jams like a badass with a full band. She’s opened for enormous acts, like KD Lang, and played on countless stages. Check out her website melissamitchell.org.

Michael Howard The kind of voice that was made for folk music, Michael Howard has a way of keeping his production perfectly in tune with his voice. He knows it’s best with a one-of-a-kind sound like his to let his lyrics do the talking. Find him on Facebook. Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/ michaelhowardak

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Shifter In the vein of experimental metal, Shifter has grooves more common in the days of early metal—melodic but forceful—but with thrash vocals that inspire shouting, fist-raising and enthusiastic head-banging. Find them on Facebook and Reverbnation.

Snarley Brown Hip hop and rap carried with rapid-fire profanity, sexuality and street side social commentary with a sweet mash up of jazz and funk grooves. His music can be found at snarls. bandcamp.com. He can be found on Facebook.

Sophia Street Alt pop, ukulele, electronic, beat box, looping queen, Street delivers vocals that invoke tears, nostalgia and elation. There’s really no one in Alaska doing what she’s doing, but she plays well with others and is an excellent addition to any lineup. Hear her old EP on bandcamp, or check out cuts from her forthcoming CD on Kickstarter.

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AMPLIGHTER IS A LOUD, aggressive band that some folks are likely to complain about—and the group members are damn proud of their explosive intensity that spurs that kind of response. “Lamplighter is that band where parents say, ‘Turn that off, it’s just noise, you can’t even understand what he is saying,’” said Daniel Kirwin, vocalist. “They’re definitely not wrong.” 
The band consists of vocalist Kirwin, Avery Irish on drums, Edward Guzman providing “guitar and noise,” and Aric Hanley on “bass and noise.” Their roots trace back to collaboration between Kirwin, Hanley and Guzman in 2013, with Irish completing the lineup in early 2014. 
Kirwin hesitates to assign the band’s music a traditional label, readily calling it “aggressive,” and eventually agreeing on a ‘metal, hardcore’ genre. All Lamplighter’s songs are originals. 
A typical Lamplighter show: energetic, chaotic and emotional, Kirwin said. “We’ve been told our shows give people anxiety. Aric (Hanley) once said, ‘Lampighter is angry so we don’t have to be.’ It really is where we get all our aggression out.” 
Look for Lamplighter at metal Monday’s at Tap Root and at Anchorage Community Works. The band is currently focused on upcoming shows and releasing more music.

Thunderfish Neo-classic hard rock is hard to come by these days. Thank god for Thunderfish, a fourpiece from Anchorage doing hard rock their way. Listening to Thunderfish is like taking a night trip down memory lane, with a modern twist. Find them on Facebook. Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/thunderfishak

Teenage Daydreams Topically, TD is alt rock/dreamy subpop; relevantly, it’s an arena of sound, layers of audio textures and youthful but wrecked vocals all created by Aidan Christopher Haughey. Recordings can be found on his website, teenagedaydreams.com

Terraform Death metal is alive and well in Anchorage. Replete with furious head banging—the type that keeps chiropractors in business—Terraform delivers uncompromising thrash metal. These four young guys tear it up old school style. Find them on Facebook.

Mike Gorder/Delmag

The Modern Savage A feel-good kind of band that makes you want to bop back and forth, the smooth sounds of The Modern Savage are only amplified when songstress Jenni May starts to croon into the mic. For their full discography and tour dates visit themodernsavagemusic.com

Moonicorn

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Singer/songwriter Gorder has a refreshing raspy edge to vocals that deliver sweet, contemplative lyrics. Find his album at mikegorder.bandcamp.com. Delmag is the nearly famous combination of Gorder, Erik Kross and Eric Braund. Over the past five or so years they’ve amassed a large following in the Lower 48; a sighting is a golden opportunity. Find them on Facebook and iTunes.

Part punk, part dreamy psychedelia, Moonicorn is a favorite among Anchorage hipsters, though a sighting is almost as rare as the creature they’re named after. Find them on Facebook. Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/moonicornwasalreadyinuse

Optimistic Garage rock at his finest, Optimistic has mastered the art of clean production that sounds like it’s being played right in front of you at a house party. Their vocals are raspy and almost whisper into your ear. Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/optimisticak

PJ Franco and the Burnouts Mud rock, sludge punk—PJFATBO is a badass band led by PJ Franco, a madman with two drums, determined vocals and an insane amount of energy. Over the past seven years, this band has amassed a very eclectic underground cult following. Find them on Facebook.

Plagiarist Bass-driven rock. This female-led four piece band has a sound oddly reminiscent of The Bangles but with Joan Jett’s serrated knife-driven intent and The Blackhearts’ hard rockin’ vengeance. With a brand new EP, they can be found on Facebook and heard at plagiarist.rocks

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ULDOON MANNY—born Emmanuel Webster—is one of Alaska’s most established hip-hop artists, whose work has earned national attention and keeps growing in local popularity. Manny grew up in Muldoon, on Anchorage’s east side. Hip hop played in his house growing up and inspired him to try his own hand at it. He started writing young, a way to achieve big dreams and even inspire others. Today, Manny writes his own music, and has showcased his talents Outside, even recording in Miami at the world renowned Circle House Studios, and also recording with VH1’s Love And Hip Hop star Lil Scrappy. Manny earned four nominations in 2014’s Alaska Hip Hop Awards 2014 and took home honors for Artist of the year, Album of the Year and Video of the Year.

4637 Old Seward Highway Anchorage, Alaska 99503

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MUSIC GUIDE 2015


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LASKA’S RESIDENT SKA BAND IS STILL GOING STRONG. At festivals, fairs, and on local stages, Nervis Rex fills a unique niche with their dependably energetic style—AlaSKA, as the band cutely refers to their sound. The group first formed in 1996 with low expectations for ska’s popularity in Alaska. But as original member Scott Emery told the Press in an interview, he thought, “We’re gonna do this, nobody’s gonna like it, but we’re gonna do it anyway.” Turns out, Alaska liked it. The national popularity of bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt helped propel Nervis Rex’s popularity locally, and by the time ska slipped from it’s pop-music pedestal, local fans were hooked. The group today includes Emery on drums and vocals, Carlos Martinez on guitar and vocals, Justin Somaduroff on horns and vocals, Dan Whitfield on trumpet and vocal, Cody Kiem on electric bass and Ted Stearns on trumpet and vocals.  At a Nervis Rex show, expect loyal fans and new converts to dance, dance, dance to the band’s high-tempo tunes, motored by hard-hitting drums and trilling, speedy horns. With a blend of original songs and covers, a Nervis Rex show sets the stage for a fun night with a mixed-age, feel-good crowd.  “Every time you play it’s a blast, because you didn’t just do it last night,” Emery once told the Press. “Also, the audience is psyched, because they didn’t see you last night.”

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RETTY BIRDS THAT KILL is dynamic duo Bobby Ziegler and Stefanie Vigoren, two musicians who have cornered the Anchorage market on garage electro pop. The band Pretty Birds has been around “since 2007ish,” but the collaboration between the two started in 2009 when they met at a house venue and realized their shared interest in electronic indie pop. Ziegler covers guitar and vocals, with Vigoren on keyboards, backup vocals and the drum machine. Critics have praised this low-maintenance set-up, and Pretty Birds’ accompanying ability to pull off such psychedelic sounds. Picture new-wave electronica mixed with bluesy garage rock and guitar rhythms. “We have expanded from our self-described garage-electro-pop sound, still pretty lo-fi, but with an electronic flair,” the band said in a recent email exchange. “We play mostly originals but have a couple covers, and will do extra covers every once in a while for fun.” The duo has toured the Lower 48, logging long hours on the East and West coasts. They returned to Alaska several years ago. The vibe at their shows depends on the venue, but some of their events can turn out pretty rowdy, especially with the later bar crowds. The Spenard neighborhood provides their usual venues—recently opened Flying Chinook, Tap Root and sometimes Koot’s. Lately Pretty Birds performs most frequently at bars, but they still love playing house shows, and also enjoy all-ages shows, particularly at the very urban, shared artist space of Anchorage Community Works in Ship Creek. Check out their new music video “Caturday” or listen to them online at prettybirdsthatkill.bandcamp.com/

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FTER A LONG HIATUS, Indie rock band Pikal is back on the local scene with its unique power-pop sound that draws out long-time loyalist fans grateful to hear the band grooving once again. 
The band first formed in 1994, played together for years, then lay dormant for most of the 2000s. Coming together again in 2014 marked a pretty large reunion of musicians: founder Rick Kinsey writes songs, plays rhythm guitar and sings; Michael Holtz is on guitar; Nina Brudie provides vocals; Jason Burdette plays bass; and Danny Reeves is on drums. Along with Kinsey, Holtz and Brudie have been around since the early days. “We are old friends and love playing together,” Holtz said. “I hope that love shows through the music and makes people happy.” Kinsey said the music is “sometimes hard and sometimes sweet.” Holtz called band-founder Kinsey “a great songwriter” and said Pikal’s music, in his opinion, is “90s revival music. We remind me of a mix of Beatles, Violent Femmes, Built to Spill, REM.”
Pikal shows are social with a familiar crowd of fans who have loved the band’s music for years. “The music is very groovy,” Holtz said. “The people that come to our shows are usually old friends so we get to be their soundtrack.” 
Some may remember when Pikal hosted an annual music showcase called the Spenard Independent Music Spring Social. These days, the band opens for national acts, plays festivals and bars, and will perform “pretty much anywhere someone asks us to play,” Kinsey said. Next up: Pikal is poised to record an album that mixes new songs with formerly recorded ones that have been dusted off and revived.

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OR A DECADE AND COUNTING, the Rebel Blues Band has delivered marathon shows in Anchorage and beyond—shows that soak soulful and wandering blues songs with comedic license and riveting solos. “Our sound has been described as a blues band with a funk addiction, with generous helpings of boogie-woogie, honky-tonk piano, harmonica honking, virtuosic bass slapping, and ‘80s hair band-approved guitar soloing,” said Jesse Ferman, Rebel Blues’ resident guitar player.  Also in the lineup: Rob Woolsey on vocals, keyboard, and harmonica; Donald Hill on vocals and percussion; Ron Brown on drums; Joe Eunice on bass; and Bruce Skolnick playing harmonica.  Woolsey typically leads off the band’s bluesy and boisterous shows, tickling the ivories while dropping comically timed comments. His style leans toward playful and feisty, while Hill’s sweet, deep crooning is melodic.  A typical show finds a diverse crowd. Some dance, others lean back and enjoy the mix of Rebel Blues originals and covers.  Ferman hopes the experience gives the audience “an interest to attend more live shows and see what this local music scene is all about. They should feel united, as we try to involve them in our shows. It’s not just us on stage, playing to people watching. We joke, we talk. We want them to drink and dance and have fun.” Indeed, the band’s onstage banter is testimony to their familiarity and bond afforded by the fact that most of the members have spent years playing together.  Watch for scaled-down shows at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Reilly’s and SubZero, and for the full band to perform at venues such as Humpy’s, Tap Root and Chilkoot Charlie’s. During summer, the band regularly plays around Alaska in locales including Seward, Denali and Fairbanks.

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May 22-24

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Animal Eyes, Ghost Town Gospel, Thee Hobo Gobbelins, 80 Acres, Endless Entertainment

Tickets on sale at Planet X Spenard, The Rusty Revolver Spenard, The Shack Wasilla, Grassroots Guitar Fairbanks, Sugar Magnolias Soldotna, Trapper Creek Trading Post, The Fringe Homer Tickets include All 3 days April $50, May $60 Advance $75 www.facebook.com/bootsbisonranch

Todd Grebe & Cold Country A five-piece country swing band with long-time-Alaska blue grass roots, Grebe & friends are back after a recording stint in Nashville. They’ll be celebrating their new release with a statewide tour this summer. Hear the new single on the website, toddgrebe.com/cold-country.

Trajectory There is something magical about the mix of soulful indie vocals and fast-paced, lively guitar. Trajectory’s debut album, Discarded Thoughts, highlighted their musicality and reminds one of the alt-rock sounds of early You Me At Six. You can stream and purchase their album at trajectory.bandcamp.com

Turquoise Boy Gathering from a number of styles and genres, Turquoise Boy delivers a musical product that infects the ears with addictive melodies over synth, guitar and rhythm that inject an ‘80s rush. Find them on Facebook. Soundcloud: turquoiseboy.bandcamp.com

The Washboard Abs Self proclaimed Bedroom Pop, the interesting amalgamation of players that back frontman Clarke Sonderman creates a dreamy, introspective rock, like a moody David Lynch soundtrack. Find them on Facebook and hear their new EP at washboardabs.bandcamp.com.

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ORGANIC OASIS (3X7.5 FPC)

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HE GUYS WHO MAKE UP SERACS are united in their love for heavy metal, and deliver on this passion through intense, high-tempo shows packed with original songs. “The easiest way to describe our sound would be old school heavy metal,” said Mark Eppihimer, bass player. “We blend a bit of our most favorite genres – black, death and thrash metal. The scene is typically loud and a bit rowdy. We love audience participation and a screaming crowd.”  Seracs includes Eppihimer, and Rob Hardcastle and Willie Ambrose on guitar, Jeff King on drums and Mason Pillion on vocals. Hardcastle and Ambrose have played together nearly a decade, and the band came together in summer 2013. Their performances have garnered a loyal following in a town where metal is embedded in the cultural fiber. Offstage, the guys are equally likable, with their own talents outside of music; lead singer Pillion, for example, is a sought-after artist at Anchorage Tattoo, while Willie enjoys painting, and brawny Eppihimer competes in strength sport competitions.
“We typically play at Anchorage Community Works, Koot’s, the Carousel, but we look forward to playing in other venues throughout the state,” Eppihimer said. A highlight so far was playing the Egan Center at a 36 Crazyfists show, and plans are underway for weekly summer metal shows in Wasilla.  Next up: Seracs are prepping to record its first full album, following a three-song demo released last year.  

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HE WHIPSAWS are an Anchorage music mainstay, delivering dependable rockabilly with a below-the-surface coolness, and a mesmerizing mix of big sounds and lullaby melodies. Frontman Evan Phillips is on guitar and vocals; Aaron Benolkin plays electric guitar, lap steel, pedal steel and also lends vocals; Ivan Molesky plays bass; and James Dommek Jr. does drums and vocals. The band has played together 13 years now, with most-recent addition Molesky around since 2006. “We’ve almost made it to 15 years as a band,” Phillips said. “If we get there, then we’ll shoot to make it 20 years.” The long-time connectivity of the Whipsaws members shines in the intimacy of their performances and in the intuitive way they musically relate to each other on stage. Said Phillips, “If Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Dr. Dog made a baby, it would sound like The Whipsaws.” Whipsaws’ shows tend toward the rowdier side – rambunctious dancing, lots of whiskey, harddriving rock and aggressive musicality tempered by country crooning and sweet twang.  “People like to dance and drink a lot at Whipsaws shows,” Phillips said. The band largely performs original music. “We like to throw in more obscure covers when we play shows,” Phillips said. “Recently, we played The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ from start to finish at a New Year’s Eve show.” The Whipsaws have already released three albums of original music and are working on a fourth, with plans to record in September 2015. Look for them at Tap Root, Bear Tooth, and other bar and festival gigs. MUSIC GUIDE 2015


MUSIC GUIDE 2015

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OWERFUL, FUNKY AND ALT-FOLKY, the Super Saturated Sugar Strings put on a mesmerizing show. Theirs is a very special, sweet sound—they call it “chamber rock.” Their gypsy-country vibe has won the group high honors in the annual Press Picks contest and stirred a loyal congregation of worshipful fans. “Each show is very different, be it at an art gallery in Homer or a festival stage in Cordova or a raucous crowd at the Tap Root,” the band said in a recent email exchange. “The crowds are diverse, from moms to train hoppers to college students to grandpas getting cramps from dancing too hard.” The group formed in 2011 and includes Carlyle Watt on guitar, Theresa Watt on cello, Miriah Phelps on violin, Logan Bean on trumpet, Kevin Worell on bass, and Kat Moore on piano, keyboard and percussions. The Sugar Strings’ look and sound is nostalgic with a hum of antiquity. There’s an element of carnival sideshow meets back-alley speakeasy to this group’s groove. The Lower 48 has noticed, too, with Sugar Strings playing shows with Outside bands like Devotchka and The Builders and The Butchers. Local musician and Whipsaws frontman Evan Phillips calls their music “theatrical, sorrowful, vivid, and enchanting.”

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LL THREE MEMBERS OF THE SWEETENERS grew up on the gloomy Washington Coast in a small town called Aberdeen, known best for being home to Kurt Cobain. But this trio’s sound is a long way from moody grunge. Known for high-energy rock-androll shows, lead singer and guitarist Chad Reynvaan, bassist Mark Nelson and drummer Eric Neet pack an enthusiastically joyful punch of live music. The punk rock of their youth is evident in the speed and energy they bring onstage, with boisterous, bounding performances. “We don’t stand there and stare at our shoes and play our songs,” Reynvaan said. “We jump around and scream and get crazy and still try our best to do a good job playing our instruments. We try really hard to write songs that we’d want to listen to from another band. When I go out to see someone I want to see them having fun, I want to see them smiling, I want to see them rocking out and we try to be that band.” The Sweeteners are unusual from a chemistry perspective because all three of them grew up together Outside. The bond between them is almost brotherly, Reynvaan said, and their enthusiasm onstage isn’t an act. “It’s not a character for us, or a game face we put on, it’s natural for us to do that because we’ve been doing it for so long and it feels good.” The Sweeteners released their first album in summer of 2013 and are plotting their next five- or six-song EP. Look for them at Tap Root and the Sitzmark.  n

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


Alaska Airlines Center

3550 Providence Dr. | alaskaairlinescenter.com/

Anchorage’s shiny new 5,000-seat venue is housed in a stand-alone sports complex on the UAA campus with a restaurant and bar on the upper level. Configured for live music, the arena’s capacity is around 3,500. Sports complexes that double as music venues are notorious for problems with sound quality. That’s not the case here. The facility’s designers invested in a fancy, computerized sound system which corrects for the less than ideal acoustics and provides audiences with a rich, authentic sound. Since opening last September, the venue has hosted Tim McGraw and Alabama Shakes, both shows were enthusiastically received. The only concert currently on the horizon is Brad Paisley’s April 26 show. It remains to be seen how many national acts the AK Airlines Center will host annually and whether promoters will find the venue an affordable option for showcasing local talent. Hours vary per event.

Al’s Alaskan Inn

7830 Old Seward Hwy

Though for a long time known only as the ultimate destination for a karaoke experience in multiple rooms, Al’s bar now mostly keeps the Donna Summer and Kid Rock wannabes in the back room, while DJs and cover bands rock the front with danceable cover tunes in hip hop, rock, rap, country and more. Open daily 8 p.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Anchorage City Limits Music Café

239 W. 4th Avenue. | anchoragecitylimits.com

Possibly one of the strangest settings for a music venue—a former Holiday Inn—ACLL has one of the best stages in town for live music. The brainchild of three well-intentioned small time investors/southern rock lovin’ guys, this venue not only has sweet aesthetics with its guitar-adorned walls, a piano, lounge tables and 1950s archways, it’s also got a kick ass sound system. Serving beer and wine only, City Limits is perfect for acoustic acts, and music that requires listening more than moving; Tuesday nights they feature a blues-themed open mic. Open 5 – 9 p.m., though hours vary for some shows.

Anchorage Community Works

349 E. Ship Creek Rd. | anchoragecommunityworks.com

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OCATED IN A RENOVATED WAREHOUSE, Anchorage Community Works (ACW) opened its doors in August, 2013 in the hopes of providing Anchorage residents with a collaborative and creative space for artists and musicians to come together. ACW regularly hosts music events in their space, which is described by co-founder Brooklyn Baggett as “experimental, open, and colorful.” Some events are specifically catered to a 21 and up crowd, but many are open to all ages, which according to Baggett, gives ACW a unique edge over other venues in town. They do not have a liquor license, but often will have outside caterers sell beer and wine, and the open, industrial-like space is perfect for dancing. ACW has hosted a number of bands across a wide range of genres including jazz, bluegrass, indie, and metal. They also regularly host First Friday art shows with accompanying musical performances.

Blue Fox Cocktail Lounge

3461 E. Tudor Rd.

This bar is the closest thing Anchorage has to a university hangout, mostly due to its proximity to campus. There is often live music, and it’s generally pretty eclectic. The stage is small and the sound depends on the act and where you sit, but it’s been the seat for randy bands like The Sociables, and earnestly awesome performers like Spiff and Melissa Mitchell.Open daily, 11 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Brown Bear Saloon

Mile 103 Seward Hwy., Indian

The Brown Bear is a full service dive bar located outside of Indian featuring full-on Alaskana decor with a hint of biker bar. Taking a quick trip down the Seward Highway to catch a set at the Brown Bear feels like an escape from Anchorage into the real Alaska. Park your motorcycle out front and grab a few beers on the outdoor patio. If you’re really enjoying your escape from Anchorage, the Brown Bear has an attached hotel so you don’t have to drive back to town. Open noon to 2 a.m.

Carousel Cocktail Lounge

3206 Spenard Rd.

Smaller, darker, divier venue on Spenard that maintains a mostly rock and metal scene with a corner stage and dance area. Great for hanging out and having a cheap beer and a shot if you like to watch bands, unfortunately seating is in short supply. Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.; weekends 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Chilkoot Charlie’s

2435 Spenard Rd. | koots.com

Founded in 1970, ‘Koot’s is a labyrinth of multiple bars, stages for music and comedy, and Anchorage’s pick-up paradise for the single crowd. Cover bands play late all week with local and national acts performing on the weekends. Shuffleboard and sawdust, you’ll meet a little bit of everyone down at world-famous Chilkoot Charlie’s. Open daily 10:30 am – 2:30 p.m.

621 W. 6th Ave. | myalaskacenter.com

The biggest concert venue at the Performing Arts Center, Atwood Concert Hall plays hosts to just about every Broadway production that comes to Alaska and a variety of live performances of musicians from around the world. Most recently they showed Million Dollar Quartet, with Sister Act closing out the theater season in May. Hours vary with events.

Discovery Theatre

621 W. 6th Ave. | myalaskacenter.com

Located at the Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts, this theater is predominantly used for touring acts with the Anchorage Opera, Alaska Junior Theatre, and Anchorage Concert Association. At least a few times each season, however, local classical, jazz and world music groups amass on this excellent stage. Hours vary with events.

Egan Convention Center

555 W. 5th Ave. | anchorageconventioncenters.com

420 W. 3rd Ave. HIS LARGE, UNCOMPLICATED OPEN SPACE can comfortably host hordes of people, or more intimate shows in the upstairs area. Currently booking fresh national acts (Riff Raff, Slow Magic, Yela Wolf) and large production shows, this location has been a favorite stop for those who love the downtown scene. Open during event times.

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Avenue Bar

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Blair describes the Chinook as an intimate venue, “We are a small bar so we are more friendly, and we are like, family. Everybody knows each other. So we have more human interaction.” As a new business, that kind of interaction is key to the Chinook’s daily bar operations. Their Facebook feed is filled with constant and personal thank yous to bands and event attendees. It’s a bar that feels completely focused on its patrons. Musical entertainment at the Flying Chinook includes open karaoke every weekday night. The bar also offers a full Chinese dinner menu, ideal for the hungry concertgoer in search of not-so-traditional bar fare. Open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

GRANDAD AT THE FLYING CHINOOK | COURTESY IMAGE

Hard Rock Café

415 E St. | hardrock.com/cafes/anchorage/

The new venue in town has seen a few large acts since its initial opening, but it’s mostly a consistent spot for local artists to play. Upstairs has its own dedicated full bar with craft selections, plenty of seats, but more importantly—actual music. Open Sun. – Thur. 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Fri. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse

610 W. 6th Ave. | humpys.com

Proud of their seafood and copious beer selection, Humpy’s is a great venue to start the night. Many favorite reggae, rock, and singer-songwriter groups grace the moody interior’s small stage, keeping the evening lively. Family-friendly up until 9 p.m. Sun. through Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Fri 11 am - 2:30 am; Sat 10 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.

L.E.D. Ultralounge & Grill

901 W. 6th Ave. | ledultralounge.com

Anchorage’s newest nightclub and restaurant, with space for 250 people, features a nightly DJ on the lounge side with a featured artist taking the stage live once a month. Also, Motor City plays Motown hits every Thursday from 9 to midnight. The club has multiple dance floors and a separate room dedicated to south of the border sounds such as salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, and other Latin genres on weekends. The lounge side is open daily, 4 to 2:30

McGinley’s Pub

645 G St. | mcginleyspub.com

This venue is exactly what one would expect from its name: loud, exuberant, whiskey and Guinness-slugging, fish-and-chips-eatin’ patrons. It’s also a great venue for equally loud, crowd-pleasing, cover bands. Open Sun.-Wed. 11 a.m.- midnight, Thur. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Moose’s Tooth

3300 Old Seward Hwy. | moosestooth.net

The younger, drinking crowd prefers metal and electronic dance music at this downtown bar featuring a pool table, dart boards and a great jukebox. Things start kicking by 9 p.m., earlier on the weekends, and the second Thursday of each month is ‘80s night. Open daily 1 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., and until 3 a.m. on weekends.

The first concerts at Anchorage’s pizza and beer juggernaut were in a modest tent attached to the original building. Since then Moose’s Tooth has more than doubled in size, they’ve taken over adjacent lots to expand their parking and their concert events now attract up to 4,500 people. Their annual anniversary celebration is a “can’t miss” event for Anchorage’s party people and always features an impressive headliner. This year is no exception as Moose’s Tooth just announced that Jane’s Addiction will play their 19th Anniversary party on July 25. Event hours vary.

Bear Tooth Theatrepub

1230 W. 27th Ave. | beartooththeatre.net

MUSIC GUIDE 2015

4610 Spenard Rd. | flyingchinook.com HE FLYING CHINOOK is a new addition to the Anchorage music scene. Located in Spenard and attached to the Barratt Inn, this bar and grill prides itself on supporting and catering to local bands. Music on any given night ranges from blues to indie synth pop. The bar was opened by business owner Jesse Blair in November, and since then, has hosted a number of local favorites including Joey Fender and Pretty Birds that Kill.

The largest and most modern convention center in town, the Dena’ina offers space for national and local events featuring vendors and booths. While it often plays hosts to banquets and fancy formal events, the Dena’ina has also been known to put on comedy shows and smaller live music acts. Hours vary with events.

338 W. 4th Ave.

The Bear Tooth is 12,000 square feet of urban fun. The space, with a contemporary, hippy vibe, has two restaurants and a 400-seat movie theater serving fresh food, beer and wine during shows. With all the tables removed, the movie theater transforms into an excellent live music venue, holding up to 1,000 patrons; over the years, a diverse selection of national acts, from Cowboy Junkies to Wiz Khalifa, have graced the stage. In addition to their annual handful of national concerts (they aim for one a quarter), the Bear Tooth hosts a First Tap concert series presenting a mix of local and Outside acts. Although the theater and café are open for regular business hours, hours vary for concerts and special events.

The Flying Chinook

Dena’ina Center

The Fiesta Room

Atwood Concert Hall

One of Anchorage’s best-kept secrets, this pseudo dive bar offers oldAnchorage personality, good bar grub, full bar, a huge dance floor and lots of dance-happy patrons. It’s a great venue for danceable country and rock cover bands, with a large stage and simple sound system. Open 11 a.m. -2:30 a.m. weekdays, Fri, Sat. 11 a.m.- 3:30 a.m.

600 W. 7th Ave.

Fugazi. Dishwalla. Violent Femmes. Suicidal Tendencies. Blues Traveler. Naughty by Nature. Destiny’s Child. What do they have in common? They’ve all performed at the Egan Center. Plunked right in the heart of downtown Anchorage, the Egan Center is 85,000 square feet of bland convention space that, under the right conditions, transforms itself into a vibrant, pulsing concert venue. The Egan Center doesn’t get many concerts these days. Recent shows—like Nelly, War w/Cheech and Chong, August Alsina— that would have played there in the past, instead went to the new Dena’ina Center (also managed by SMG). But, given the right band on the right night, the Egan Center can still come to life and surprise you. Event hours vary.

SASSAFRASS AT ACW | PHOTO BY RACHEL NEWELL

Flight Deck Bar & Lounge

842 W. International Airport Rd.

SLOW MAGIC AT THE FIESTA ROOM | PHOTO BY KERRY TASKER

Flattop Pizza + Pool   

600 W. 6th Ave.

As the title states, pizza and pool—the official food and sport of 20-somethings—are the main focus in this narrow space. As the weekend closes in, the cold, calculating jukebox is replaced by human DJs energizing the night. Open Sun. – Wed. 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Thur. – Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

O’Malley’s on the Green

3651 O’Malley Road | anchoragegolfcourse.com

The restaurant at Anchorage’s public golf course is one of the city’s few jazz venues. On Friday nights they offer three hours (6 - 9 p.m.) of live jazz by artists like Rick Zelinsky and Diane Hall and blues/ rock by bands like Silver Train. Full bar is available, minors must be accompanied by an adult. Open Fridays 5-10 p.m. with extended summer hours.

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Organic Oasis

2610 Spenard Rd. | organicoasis.com

SubZero Bistro & Microlounge

Pioneer Bar

The upscale setting boasts a smart bar menu and expertly made drinks. Downtempo lounge, jazz and blues artist make due on a pop-up stage every Wednesday. Get there early, seats are few in this small establishment. Open weekdays 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; weekends 4 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sun. 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Foremost a health food restaurant and juice bar, Organic Oasis’s stage offers a more contemporary selection of tunes throughout the week for the early evening dining crowd. Think piano and acoustic guitar, nothing to distract you from your food. Open Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun. noon - 5 p.m.

759 W. 4th Ave.

A downtown favorite for a social conglomeration of hipsters, service men and women and young pseudo frat guys, this full bar mostly just features a standard jukebox. However, on Tuesday nights they always host a local band, performer or DJ. As that’s a slower night of the week at the often too-raucous-to-hear-a-conversation venue, it makes for a good listening environment. Open weekdays 10 a.m. 2:30 a.m., Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. - 3:30 a.m.

Silvertip Grill

Girdwood Town Square | Silvertipgrill.com

This tiny Girdwood restaurant and sports bar has live music every weekend (bands like Melissa Mitchell and Todd Grebe) as well as open mic night every Sunday. Open daily, 9 p.m. to midnight or later.

Sitzmark Bar & Grill

100 Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood | thesitzmark.com/

A great ski town requires a great après-ski bar and Girdwood’s is The Sitzmark. Built in the ‘70s, with high ceilings, exposed wood and spectacular mountain views, the Sitz oozes mountain culture. It’s an integral part of Girdwood’s social scene and, with reasonably priced live music every weekend, also draws a crowd from Anchorage. The bar has a capacity of 425, so shows are small enough to be intimate but large enough to generate great energy. Bigger names sell out quickly—so get tix before making the drive from town. Being Girdwood, hippy jam bands are always a big draw, but management makes an effort to bring in other genres as well—Young Dubliners and Keller Williams both recently had sold out shows. During the summer the Sitzmark offers free live music every weekend. Open Sun. - Thur., 11 a.m. to midnight, Fri. and Sat. closes at 2 a.m.

Snow Goose Restaurant and Brewery

717 W. 3rd Ave | alaskabeers.com

Snow Goose is a large downtown brewpub with a lot going for it. A gleaming brewery, an outdoor deck with unparalleled views of Cook Inlet and Sleeping Lady, and an inviting upstairs pub, which often features live music –usually laid back acoustic sets. On top of all that is the Snow Goose Theatre, a 200-seat special event venue with a proper stage. The theatre is used for both music and plays and can be set up with rows of chairs, tables and chairs, or standing only. Open Tues. - Thur., 3 to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. closes at 11:30 p.m.

612 F St. | subzerolounge.com

other local artists. Although Tap Root is primarily a bar, minors may attend weeknight events if accompanied by a legal guardian, or on weekends, accompanied by a legal guardian prior to 10 p.m. As for Tap Root’s style, Phillips says, “I would describe the atmosphere as rustic Alaskan and hip. Lots of hoodies and Xtratufs around here.” Open Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Sullivan Arena

1600 Gambell St. | sullivanarena.com/

The Sullivan Arena is the granddaddy of Anchorage music venues having hosted an impressive list of acts since it opened back in ‘83. In its heyday, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Ozzie Osbourne, Marilyn Manson and No Doubt were just a few of the memorable acts who performed there. Due to the shifting economics of the music industry, Anchorage doesn’t get as many big name concerts as we did back when we were “the crossroads of the world,” but, the right show can still sell the place out. Elton John’s 2008 shows sold out in record time and Red Hot Chili Peppers sold out two shows in 2013. With a capacity of over 6,000, the Sullivan is still Anchorage’s largest venue and, in addition to concerts, hosts trade shows and ice hockey games. The Sully opened 2014 with a very successful run of Cirque De Soleil’s Dralion. Event hours vary.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

320 W. 5th Ave., Ste 100 | sullivanssteakhouse.com/anchorage/

The bar area of this upscale downtown dining establishment is a place to enjoy loungey jazz, blues and a little rhythm. Great place for a martini and apps, attire is Alaska business casual, meaning fleecefriendly. Open Mon. – Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun. 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

EASTON STAGGER PHILLIPS AT TAP ROOT | PHOTO BY KERRY TASKER


Tilted Kilt

8001 Old Seward Hwy | facebook.com/tiltedkiltanchorage

The newest franchise in town, Tilted Kilt is Hooter’s with a Celtic twist. It’s a full service restaurant that also offers a bar and most recently, live music. Of course, the main attraction to an eatery like this is the scantily clad women who make up its staff. Open Mon. – Sat., 11 a.m. to midnight, Sun. closes at 11 p.m.

Town Square Park

Tap Root Public House

3300 Spenard Rd. | taprootalaska.com AP ROOT HAS BECOME a nightlife staple on Spenard with musical events including local bands and national tours of every genre imaginable. Tables and booths surround a small, open space, a great spot for dancing in an environment free from the grinding common to many of the bars downtown.

T

According to event coordinator Evan Phillips, Tap Root hosts more than just dance-oriented concerts, “We also do dinner-style shows like Mr. Whitekeys, Parlor in the Round, and Arctic Siren Cabaret.” These events are a sit-down affair, usually hosted earlier in the evening as both an entertainment and dining experience. Tap Root offers a full dinner menu with your standard salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, and some killer yam fries. Taproot also hosts an open mic every Tuesday night, beginning at 8 p.m., perfect for musicians looking to share their talents with

544 W. 5th Ave. | anchoragedowntown.org/

Host to a wide variety of local music outside in downtown Anchorage, the most popular event, is the free summer concert series Live After 5 ,which happens every Friday and includes food and a beer and wine garden. The crowd consists of any passersby, some diehard fans, but mostly the office crowd trickling out from their respective workplaces.

Wendy Williamson Auditorium

2533 Providence Dr. | uaa.alaska.edu/wwa/

The sloping seating arrangement allows for a rather pleasant, uninterrupted view with great sound from the expansive stage. With a capacity of 910, this is a more intimate space for larger acts, such as the Anchorage Folk Festival, national acts, and University recitals and plays. Open during event times. n

Sarah Pederson of Family Tree Productions PROFILE BY ZAKIYA MCCUMMINGS

F

AMILY TREE PRESENTS is the go-to production company in Anchorage if you’re looking for a good rock show. Founder Sarah Pederson was first introduced to metal music as a teenager. “When I was young I was into top 40, R&B, blah, blah, blah,” Pederson laughs. “When I was 16 I had a boyfriend who was a metalhead, and he got me into Metallica.” Originally from Minneapolis, Pederson moved to Alaska in 1993 to attend college and quickly fell in with a group of Alaskan metalheads. She left Alaska after her university years, living in Portland, Oregon for a time before heading back north.

“The fans and bands really seem to appreciate what I’m doing. Even on low attendance nights everyone there is thankful.”—Sarah Pederson

Sarah Pederson (l) in the crowd at a Guns and Hoses show PHOTO BY LEIF RAMOS

knew,” she explains. But word of mouth, and the allure of the Great White North attracted plenty of Outside interest. These days booking agents are reaching out to her because their bands want to come to Alaska. “For some bands it’s been the last place they haven’t been, so I try and play tour guide. I try and get bands to stay an extra day and get that extra Alaskan experience.” The formula is one that works well; after Pederson was used to the thriving music scene of the Pacific Northwest, and immediately recognized there was a lack of vari- coming to Alaska, Norma Jean’s lead vocalist Cory Brandon talked ety for metal fans in Alaska. She started Family Tree in 2007 hop- up Family Tree to tour mates and friends in Night Verses, getting the ball rolling for what resulted in two shows in Anchorage. ing that bringing shows to Alaska would help grow the local music Although Pederson started the production company with the viscene. Breaking into the music business “was a little difficult at first,” sion of one day turning a profit, seven years later she has more rePederson admits. “When you go to a booking agent for the first time alistic expectations of her work. “I don’t do this to pay the bills. For their very first questions is ‘What shows have you done?’ I had a me, as long as I break a little above even over the year, I’m happy.” friend in Portland, a former manager of 36 Crazyfists, who helped For Pederson, being in the music business, especially in Alaska, is me book shows at first.” a labor of love. Family Tree’s first show was the New England heavy metal band Pederson is the only paid employee of Family Tree Presents, but God Forbid in March of 2007. Initially, Pederson admits, most of the bands she was looking at were bands she liked. “It was what I says she’s got a good group of dedicated volunteers helping her put

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on shows. “Our music scene is really tight knit,” she says. “It’s a unique situation we have up here. The fans and bands really seem to appreciate what I’m doing. Even on low attendance nights everyone there is thankful.” Their gratitude is very vocal; at a recent goodbye show for pop-punk band Noise Brigade, the crowd broke into a chant of “Sarah! Sarah!” following a shout out from guitarist Doug Jones. Right now, however, Pederson has her eyes on the future. Posthardcore band Vanna will be in Anchorage for two shows May 15 and 16. The last official show of the season will be punk/hardcore band Cult Leader on May 29 and 30. Pederson has also planned a special three-day festival in celebration of her 40th birthday in July. After the summer, she has plans for shows in September, October, and December, with another band in the works for November. “My mom died a couple years ago,” Pederson says. “Since then I kinda just—I didn’t stop, but y’know, I took a little time off and never really went back into it full bore. So I’m excited to be looking out far enough to plan for the fall, and excited to get back into the fold.”n

MUSIC GUIDE 2015


Growing the Scene PROFILE BY ZAKIYA MCCUMMINGS

S

HOWDOWN PRODUCTIONS, established in 2013, is one of the most active production companies in Anchorage. Co-founders Hellen Fleming and Raymond Flores started the company, in Fleming’s words, over “a few too many glasses of wine,” and a dream of creating a production company focused on bringing up artists who are strong performers. “I think for years people have just learned to expect mediocrity [with out of state acts],” Flores says. “We wanted to bring up new fresh acts that people can still identify with. They’re highly accessible and marketable, but haven’t really been introduced to our market and demographics.” ShowDown stands out in the Alaska music scene because they’ve consistently booked Outside acts from various genres of music. In November rock duo ’68 performed at both Chilkoot Charlie’s and Anchorage Community Works. Most recently, electronic dance music powerhouse Slow Magic sold out a show at the Fiesta Room. “The reason there’s a wide array of acts is because ShowDown is essentially a collective. Obviously, Ray and I are in charge, but we have so many friends that bring shows to the table and we really all decide as a group,” Fleming explains. No artist is considered lightly when it comes to talent. Fleming and Flores never blind book, and always

From a working relationship, a friendship developed and spawned a partnership bonded through a mutual love of music. see an artist live themselves before inking a deal. “There’s months of thinking. We don’t make rash decisions. We just want to bring top notch stuff to Alaska,” Fleming stresses. The pair’s love for music has deep roots. Fleming, who used to manage the all-ages venue The Downstairs at Club Millennium, has been involved in the scene for 11 years. She’s worked with various promoters and currently also works at the Alaska Airlines Center. Flores was once a part of a popular local band Twelve O’Clock High, and for the

MUSIC GUIDE 2015

ShowDown Productions presents Dillon Francis PHOTO BY JOEL ADAMS

past seven years has been the owner of Shirts Up! Serigraphics & Solutions. The pair’s paths first crossed during Flores’ band days when Fleming became Twelve O’Clock High’s manager and booking agent. From a working relationship, a friendship developed and spawned a partnership bonded through a mutual love of music. Love for music has to be at the forefront of any Alaskan production company, because the scene, especially the all-ages scene, is in constant flux. Fleming remembers a time when all-ages shows at The Downstairs were pulling crowds of 300-plus kids. These days it’s not so common. “We generally always try do an all ages show. You don’t make as much money, but it’s such a better experience for the kids,” Fleming explains. “You need that [as a teenager]. You need to go to shows and be exposed to national acts. We had so many national acts come to The Downstairs and it bettered the local scene. They were able to inspire people.” Still, sometimes ShowDown has to take one for the team in order to improve their turnout the next time around. “The first Slow Magic show [in 2014], we had to give half our tickets away for free. And we said, ‘Okay, we’ll do it for free this time, we’ll break even, and then we’ll do better next time,’” Helen admits. But that faith in word of mouth paid off. The second Slow Magic show this past March doubled in ticket sales. Word of mouth not only gets more people going to shows, but also more artists interested in coming to Alaska. “We’re bringing up artists who want to come to Alaska,” Fleming says. “I’ve done one show

where the artist didn’t care about coming to Alaska, and I’d never do it again.” Despite this one bad experience, ShowDown has had a lot of positive feedback and made friends in the industry for showing people the beauty of Alaska, and demonstrating there is a market up here for national acts. “Just being able to even start the conversations with artists I’ve looked up to or wanted to bring up for years and years and have them take notice of what we’re doing is amazing,” Flemings says. Flores adds that they’ve also had major national and international promoters and agencies get in contact with them about bringing acts to Alaska. ShowDown has big plans for 2015. May 1 post-hardcore band Touché Amore, who just announced a management deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, will be performing at The Fiesta Room. Most recently, they announced a concert featuring electronic dance music artist Black Tiger Sex Machine on May 29. They won’t reveal plans further out in any detail, but did allude to a big announcement coming up that includes working with a brand new venue. Beyond the summer, fall will bring monthly concerts from the production company. “Bottom line, Ray and I are music nerds first,” Fleming says. “We’re not greedy; we’re not in this to make money. We make sure our ticket prices are exactly enough for us to go a little bit above breaking even. We’re not here to fill out our pockets. We’re just here to grow. Grow as people, grow the scene, and grow friendships.” n

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MUSIC GUIDE 2015


MUSIC: Josh Ritter/ Fri. Apr. 17, 7:30 p.m./ Discovery Theatre/ $45/ centertix.net for tickets. Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter picks cleverly on guitar strings and sings his thoughtful lyrics in a distinct narrative style. The results are large, near anthem Americana with incredible personal depth. PERFORMANCE: Macbeth/ Fri. Apr. 24 to Sun. May 17/ Cyrano’s Off Center Playhouse/ $23-$25/ centertix.net for tickets. Macbeth is known to most as the word you never, ever say in a theatre. Cyrano’s will be modernizing the classic Shakespearean play, with touches of politics, multimedia elements, and… heavy metal? Sounds rad. PERFORMANCE: The Gruffalo’s Child/ Sat. Apr. 25, 2 p.m./ Discovery Theatre/ $14$27/ centertix.net for tickets. Based on Julia Donaldson’s first book, The Gruffalo, the play follows the titular young mouse and he discovers just how big and bad he can be using brains instead of brawn.

MUSIC: Brad Paisley/ Sun. Apr. 26/ Alaska Airlines Center/ $79 - $139/ alaskaairlinescenter.com or Alaska Airlines Center box office for tickets. Country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley is already on tour after the release of Moonshine in the Trunk in August. Noted for his expertise on guitar and good humor, Paisley’s live shows have been described as personable and exciting. MUSIC: The Revelers/ Wed. Apr. 29/ Tap Root/ $23.75/ centertix.net for tickets. Born from the founding members of The Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys, The Revelers are the combined efforts of both bands to create a Louisiana supergroup that specializes in swamp-pop, Cajun, country, blues and zydeco sounds. Presented by Whistling Swan.. DEBATE: Oxford vs. UAA/ Thur. Apr. 30/ Discovery Theatre/ $20-$25/ centertix.net for tickets. This is kind of a big deal. UAA’s internationally ranked debate team is going up against Oxford. Yeah. You better be there. You won’t find a better argument. MUSIC: Touché Amore/ Fri. May 1, 8 p.m./ The Fiesta Room/ $20 advance, $25 at the door/ All ages/ 21+ section available/ tixr.com/showdown

for tickets. Hardcore/punk band Touché Amore is fresh off Coachella and making their first appearance in Alaska. Local opening acts include Griffith, Glass Halo and Lamplighter. MUSIC: Rhiannon Giddens/ Sun. May 3/ Discovery Theatre/ $35/ centertix.net for tickets. A founding member of the Grammy award-winning group Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens is coming to Alaska for the first time as a solo artist. Her music is a mix of folk, blues, country, classical, and Irish dance. MUSIC: Big Gigantic/ Thur. May 7, 9 p.m./ Bear Tooth Theatrepub/ $30/ 21+/ beartooththeatre.net for tickets. If you’ve been to any of the big festivals Outside you may have seen the Big Gigantic perform their instrumental livetronica, hip-hop and jazz sounds. PERFORMANCE: Sister Act/ Tues. May 12 to Sun. May 17/ Atwood Concert Hall/ $49.25-$80.50/ centertix.net for tickets. The Anchorage Concert Association has knocked it out of the park this time. Broadway hit and basis of the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, this is a musical comedy that will definitely leave you laughing.

Your

MUSIC: Vanna/ Fri. May 15, 7 p.m., Anchorage Community Works, All ages/ Sat. May 16, 8 p.m., Chilkoot Charlie’s, 21+/ $20 in advance, $25 at the door/ flavorus.com for tickets. Melodic hardcore band Vanna has been around since 2004 and are no strangers to the Alaskan music scene. Their latest album, VOID, was released by Pure Noise Records and is available on iTunes and Amazon. MUSIC: Michael Franti/ Thur. May 21/ Bear Tooth Theatrepub/ $36/beartooththeatre. net for tickets. An artist who likes to go against the grain, Michael Franti blends hip-hop with funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock to create a unique sound and experience. He will be joined by Jay Bowman and Carl Young. MUSIC: Blues On the Green/ Sat. May 30, 3 p.m./ F Street/ $50 in advance, $60 day of show/ 21+ show/humpys.com and etix.com for tickets. Surprise! Blues on the Green is back! Featuring Blues Traveler, The Edgar Winter Band, Soulman Sam, and The Diamonds. MUSIC: Keb’ Mo’/ Sat. Jun. 6/ Atwood Concert Hall/ $49.50/ centertix.net for tickets. A three time Grammy awardwinner, Keb’ Mo’ is a modern master of American blues and

roots music. He has collaborated with artists like Bonnnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, and jazz diva Cassandra Wilson. Lately Mo’ is best known for performing the theme song for the sit-com Mike & Molly. MUSIC: The Head and The Heart/ Sat. Jun. 6/ Moose’s Tooth/ 21+/ $47.50/ beartooththeatre.net for tickets. The first big party of the summer is First Tap, hosted at Moose’s Tooth this time around. This indie folk band from Seattle will be playing music from their first two albums and sharing the love with Anchorage. MUSIC: Seriously Fun! Fest Music Festival + Mud Factor/ Sat. Jun. 13 & Sun. Jun. 14/ Kincaid Park/ seriouslyfunfest. com for ticket pricing and more show information. Craft beer, live national acts, and the ever popular mud obstacles are all back for this feel good summertime festival. This year’s line up includes Dirty Heads, Matisyahu, Watsky, We the Kings, and DJ Soulman. One day passes and combo passes available. MUSIC: Nahko and Medicine for the People/ Thur. Jul. 2/ Bear Tooth Theatrepub/ $30/ beartooththeatre.net for tickets. July’s first tap features Nahko and Medicine for the People, a world music collective fronted by Nahko Bear that

aims to blend various cultural music influences. He is joined by lead guitarist Chase Makai and hand percussionist Hope Medford. MUSIC: 19th Anniversary Party with Jane’s Addiction/ Sat. Jul. 25/ Moose’s Tooth/ $52.50/ beartooththeatre.net for tickets The best pizza joint in town is celebrating 19 years of being too damn packed to just walk in and sit down. Helping them celebrate is the classic four-piece rock band Jane’s Addiction, credited with founding the annual Lollapalooza Festival. Nothing’s shocking, indeed!

MUSIC: Salmonfest/ Fri. Jul. 31 to Sat. Aug. 2/ Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds/ $65$115 until May 31/ salmonfestalaska.org for tickets and more information. An annual festival of music, beer, and camping is back and better than ever before, with Emmylou Harris headlining. Come for one day or stay the whole weekend. Either way, get your tickets now to cash in on the early bird special before it expires.

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MUSIC GUIDE 2015

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MUSIC GUIDE 2015

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