at Targhee, surprises well into the night

By Jim Stanford on July 29, 2013

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Brittany Howard, right, gave an impassioned performance with Alabama Shakes. Yes, that’s a tattoo of Alabama on her arm.

Last Sunday’s performance by Alabama Shakes was the most highly anticipated set at Targhee Fest, and the young rockers from Athens, Ala., did not disappoint.

“Are you scared to wear your heart out on your sleeve?” the quartet’s lead singer and guitarist, Brittany Howard, sang late in the show on “You Ain’t Alone.”

Howard poured her heart all over the Targhee stage, wailing on vocals and guitar on achingly beautiful songs like “Hold On.” A crowd of nearly 4,000 swayed and danced in appreciation. After a 90-minute set, the band returned for a four-song encore as the sun sank low over the distant hills of Idaho.

While the red-hot Shakes were a highlight as expected, what made the ninth annual Targhee Fest such a stirring weekend were unexpected high points seemingly around each bend.

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Caldera Fest erupts

By Jim Stanford on August 20, 2012

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Andrew Bird and his band perform Saturday at the inaugural Caldera Festival.

In a summer loaded with great music, Jackson got yet another treat Saturday with the outdoor Caldera Festival.

Andrew Bird wowed the crowd on the lawn outside Center for the Arts with his singing, guitar playing, fiddling and whistling. The show — part of a two-day event built around art — was an indie-lover’s dream. And with Bird wide-eyed at the beauty of Jackson Hole, the feeling appeared to be mutual.

“No one had to coerce me to come here,” he said, in a nod to the surroundings. “There was no twisting of arms.”

Bird shuffled between instruments, often looping the sound of one as he began playing another. He and opening artist Sharon Van Etten also used a rotating device called a “warbler” for distortion and other effects.

The festival, which began with a fashion show by Abbie Miller, marked a small triumph for Teton Artlab, which has hosted art-themed gatherings in recent years but had been seeking to put on a larger public event. If the enthusiastic response was any indication, there will be more like this to come.

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in memoriam: Factory Studios

By Jim Stanford on February 10, 2012

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Travis Walker of Teton Artlab took to Facebook earlier this week to announce that Factory Studios will be closing at the end of the month.

Situated in the old Huckleberry Mountain Candy factory on Gregory Lane, the artists’ enclave had become a hive of creative activity and occasional social hub. The run-down, industrial feel and labyrinthine layout were part of the charm but also caught the attention of the fire marshal, who flagged the building for numerous violations, including lack of fire exit signs.

The space housed the Artlab, painters Wendell Field and Peggy Prugh, designer Abbie Miller, The Deadlocks band and Dedicate clothing, among others.

Photographer David Stubbs made this short video when Factory Studios celebrated its first birthday last month. In a town still dominated by traditional Western art (read: animal portraits, cowboys and Indians) Stubbs was drawn to a contemporary scene tucked out of sight, reminiscent of New York City warehouses in the 1980s, he said.

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Art of Flight takes off in NYC

By Brad Desmond on September 10, 2011

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(Ed. note: With Wyoming snowboard star Travis Rice bringing big air to the Big Apple this week, we asked former Jackson resident/DJ/shredder turned NYU grad student/hipster Brad Desmond for a report. Besides studying the music biz, Brad writes about music and other topics on his blog, My Sunday Sweater.)

A peek inside the Beacon, before the premiere of Travis Rice's The Art of Flight.

When I first watched Brain Farm’s That’s It That’s All at its Jackson Hole premiere in 2008, I was blown away. And not just because I won the raffle twice (Quiksilver coat and belt), but because it was clear that Brain Farm was breaking new ground in the world of ski porn. As my chest vibrated with the soundtrack’s bass and pupils dilated to take in the scope of IMAX/Planet Earth-quality cinematography, I was surprised to feel something other than the usual image-induced stoke. That desire to run to the nearest chairlift was there, however matched by a sense of awe and wonder that I had yet to experience from an action sports film.

Naturally my excitement for Brain Farm’s follow-up built as The Art of Flight began to garner media hype last winter. I was even more excited when I found out the film’s world premiere would take place in New York City, a place I recently migrated to from Jackson. But this excitement fizzled when the show quickly sold out (I guess I took the Jackson habit of last-minute ticket buying with me). A quick look on Craigslist revealed tickets selling between $50 and $100 (retail was $20, plus Ticketmaster fees). It was clear that whatever marketing Brain Farm, Quiksilver and Red Bull were doing was paying off.

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free tickets to MarchFourth Marching Band

By Jim Stanford on February 20, 2011

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After an uproarious week of music, the Knotty Pine perhaps has saved its best for last. And what better way to mark Presidents’ Day than with a marching band, especially if you prefer American holidays a little tweaked.

Part jazz orchestra and part circus, MarchFourth Marching Band marches into Victor tonight from Portland. We’re giving away two free tickets ($30 value). Again, to enter, in the comments say you’re in, and the winner will be chosen in a random drawing at 5 p.m. Be sure to check back here to see if you’ve won.

“Imagine Duke Ellington meets Sgt. Pepper in an international big-top Fantasia,” the band says on its website. “Imagine a 1920s speakeasy where Mr. Bungle meets the Shogun Warriors in a PG Clockwork Orange.”

I happened to catch MarchFourth at Voodoo Fest last fall, and the set turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend. I don’t know how much of the trapeze swinging, stilt dancing and fire breathing the band will manage at the Knotty, but it’s sure to be a wild time.

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