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Metro‘s top A&E picks for March 2009:



3/21 So you’re headed to the k.d. lang show March 21 at The Fox. Why not skip your usual date-night standard and try something new? We’ve got a few tips for making it a night to remember—on any budget.

Getting There

$ Be part of the transportation revolution
Get creative to cut transportation costs—take the bus downtown, then plan to meet up with friends for a drink after the concert and ride home with them. Ask one of them to act as designated driver and offer to return the favor next weekend.

$$ Park for (almost) free
Gas may be more affordable than it was a few months ago, but parking downtown can hike up the tab for an evening on the town. Allow a few extra minutes to find street parking among the city’s some 2,900 metered spaces—free after 7 p.m. If you must park in a lot, prepare for a walk: the farther you are from the city center, the cheaper the parking.

$$$ Ride in Style
Rather than hire a taxi, call Executive Transport to travel in style. The Lincoln Town Car ride will cost about $25 for a seven-mile trip. Call James at 509.217.6175 a day in advance to schedule your pick-up.

Fueling Up
$ Monterey Café @ 9 N. Washington St.
Soak in the ocean vibe while you feast on the best meal-deal downtown—killer pizza by the slice. At $3 apiece, or two for $5, you can grab a couple beers and still keep dinner under $10 per person.

$$ Steelhead Bar & Grill @ 218 N. Howard St.
Show up before 6:00 for five-dollar drinks—schooners, specialty cocktails and top shelf martinis. Light pours on the mixed drinks can be overlooked for the price. Hors d’oeuvres are $5.55 during happy hour. Most entrees are under $10, so stay for dinner.

$$$ Mizuna @ 214 N. Howard St.
Dinner and drinks for two may run you a hundred bucks, but your senses will thank you. Organic Northwest ingredients make for a fresh experience, complemented by a serene, intimate atmosphere.

$ The Baby Bar @ 827 W. 1st Ave.
Ideal for a small group of friends, this cozy bar is adjacent to late-night snack spot Neato Burrito. We repeat: this is not the place for a large crowd—seating is limited, but drinks are cheap and the atmosphere beats that of many larger bars.

$$ Zola @ 22 W. Main St.
Arrive before 12:30 to catch Hot Club of Spokane’s jazzy tunes. Burn off left-over energy on the dance floor or tuck a larger group into one of Zola’s booth-and-table rooms.

$$$ Wild Sage American Bistro @ 916 W. 2nd Ave.
Stop in after the show for tapas and late-night happy hour. From 9:00 to close, some bottled wines are 30 percent off. $4.50 will buy a glass of “featured wines” or a cocktail, and draft beers are $3. Mouth-watering tapas are priced between $2-$7. – Erika Prins


Ain’t Misbehavin’ … or are they?
ruben3/19-22 • Remember Ruben Studdard? The guy that beat Clay Aiken to become the second-ever American Idol back in 2003? Sure, he only won by 134,000 votes out of 24 million, but a win’s a win.
And compared to his fellow Birmingham homie and American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, Studdard did pretty well for himself in his post-Idol life—family drama and legal issues aside. His debut album, “Soulful,” shipped platinum and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The gentle giant’s “Sorry 2004” single reached No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. And, Studdard was nominated for a Grammy for best R&B male vocal performance. Even his more niche gospel album, “I Need An Angel,” went gold and topped gospel charts.
While he readies his fourth full-length album for release in late August, Studdard is making time to tour the country as the star of the Fats Waller Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” alongside American Idol alums Trenyce Cobbins and Frenchie Davis.
Davis was a crowd favorite on American Idol, though she was bounced off the show when it was learned she had posed topless for an adult Web site six years prior to her appearance on American Idol.
Davis recovered from the scandal, garnering an extensive run on the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Rent”. In 2007 Davis starred as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the Hartford Stage production of the one-woman play “Sing, Mahalia Sing.”
Considered one of Broadway’s most well-crafted revues, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” celebrates the music of legendary jazzman and comic Fats Waller through the treatment of 30 songs and piano solos. Conceived and directed by Richard Maltby Jr., “Ain’t Misbehavin’” originally opened in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s East 73rd Street Cabaret in 1978 and featured singer Irene Cara. The show launched the career of the late Nell Carter and her performance earned the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Performance by a Featured Actress. Isamu Jordan

Ain’t Misbehavin’ starring Ruben Studdard, March 19-22. Times vary. $33, $46 and $53. INB Performing Arts Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.; 509-325-SEAT;


Celtic Music Takes the Stage This Month at O’Doherty’s

Photo by Rajah Bose

Free Whiskey - photo by Rajah Bose

Pitchers of beer, plates of shepherd’s bread, hand drums and acoustic guitars pepper the tables. The program on the Irish-only television in the corner goes way beyond that shower soap commercial from the 80s. The heads on the screen are speaking the Goidelic language that originated in Ireland, but is now used by only 3 percent of the people living there.
It’s a freezing Saturday afternoon in the conference room in the back of O’Doherty’s Irish Grill, and Celtic culture is alive in downtown Spokane. A group of professional musicians meets at O’Doherty’s monthly to learn and to teach each other Irish language and culture. An informal meeting of people who don’t wait until St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate all things Irish, it’s mellow compared to the weekly jam session at O’Doherty’s on Tuesday nights.
There’s still beer and food and music all over the place. But the language is a little less refined when the sun goes down. That’s indicative of the two essential schools of Irish musicians in Spokane. The pub bands. And the concert players.
At least one member from the chaotic Celtic folk-pub-rock sextet Free Whiskey is always on hand to help host the weekly Tuesday jam at O’Doherty’s. The aim is to get the audience to forget the rigors of life.
“Have fun, revel, DANCE, and maybe later they’ll get the urge to research something they heard us play,” says Free Whiskey’s lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Seann O’Ceallaigh.
Not that all of the Celtic bands in town fall into one box or the other.
Debbie McLelland helped kickstart the Saturday monthlies at O’Doherty’s with her bandmates in the Spokane Celtic Band. She also serves on the board of Celtic Music Spokane, which has a quarterly concert series. McLelland participates in all forms of Celtic music—session, concert, dance—but admits that she leans toward the more baroque styles.
One of the most popular Irish rock bands in town, An Dochas has no problem filling The Bing, so it was a natural venue for their February CD release concert. Yet with rowdy, whiskey-swillin’ jigs in their repertoire, they’d be right at home at any tavern in town.
Another local fixture, the Celtic Nots use borderline humor between songs, but the global presence in their music can easily pack a concert hall, even when it’s just a three-piece band (Spokane Symphony and Spokane Jazz Orchestra bassist Eugene Jablonsky often appears in performances as the unofficial fourth Not).
Nots leader Carlos Alden uses the Appalachian banjo for Irish tunes. Resident Englishman James Hunter plays whistles and lots of other objects not intended for music. James McMurtery is a spectacle on the box drum. They don’t have a fiddle.
Their newest album, “Three Jolly Rogers,” strives for that delicate balance of the familiar paired with the exotic, much like the allure of Celtic music in Spokane.
“Appalachian music gave way to bluegrass and country forms,” Alden says. “So it’s all connected.” — Isamu Jordan

For a listing of events where you can see these musicians and others—plus video, audio and more—visit


Our Next Big Thing


Image by Blush Photo

3/1 • Kaylee Cole is Spokane’s new indie-music darling. In just a year of performing publicly, the self-taught chanteuse has charmed much of the Northwest with her contradictory old-soul essence, button-cute banter and enchanting—at times downright haunted—lyricism. Cole made her first trek across the mountains for a mini-tour in January 2008, and came back with a record deal on an indie label based in Seattle.
In Spokane she was an instant hit with the local media, and continues to be the lauded crowd favorite. The local media’s infatuation has been reaffirmed by a juggernaut of hype from the West Side, where the 22-year-old singer-songwriter appeared in the lineup at the super-hip Capitol Hill Block Party last summer. There, The Seattle Weekly fell head over heels for Cole, as did Seattle Sound magazine. And the highly influential, Seattle-based Web site Three Imaginary Girls chose her full-length debut album, “We’re Still Here Missing You,” as the No. 3 best release in the Northwest for 2008.
Back home, Cole became the first artist ever to win two Sommys in the same year, as online voters chose her for Best Singer-Songwriter and Best Album at the local music awards last month.
“I am forever grateful for my family, friends, fans and the amazing and surprising, Spokane music community,” Cole said. “I truly believe that the music scene here is something to be proud of, and in the next little while will prove to be a serious force to be reckoned with.” 7 p.m. March 1, 7 and 19. The Empyrean, 154 S. Madison; 509.838.9819; Visit — Isamu Jordan

Event listings are compiled free of charge and independent of advertising (with the exception of Metro Musts). If you have an event that might be of interest to our readers, please contact our calendar editor at If you would like us to sponsor your event, please contact Director of Marketing Eric Klamper at

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