Reba & Kelly: Odd couple or match made in heaven?

As reported last week, country singer/TV star Reba McEntire and “American Idol” pop-rocker/Clive Davis irritant Kelly Clarkson will roll into Taco Bell Arena on Oct. 9. It’s an extension of this winter's “2 Worlds 2 Voices” tour, which did fairly well despite appearing to be — at least on the surface — a bizarre combination. Tickets go on sale June 20 at Select-a-Seat.

When I first heard about the team-up, it made little sense yet perfect sense. Reba is a gifted entertainer, as I’ve noted in the past. But why would she want to hang with Clarkson? Because Clarkson is young and somewhat hip? And spunky and fun, perhaps? Clarkson, on the other hand, needed a mentor like McEntire; Clarkson’s cancelled tour, weak third album and management disaster proved that. As it turns out, Clarkson wound up hooking up with Reba after joining a management company run by McEntire’s husband.

Last night's 'Other Studio'

-Nine Inch Nails, "Discipline"
-The Cure, "The Only One"
-Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse, "Valerie"
-Duffy, "Mercy"
-Adele, "Chasing Pavements"
-Kate Nash, "Foundations"
-The Duke Spirit, "The Step and the Walk"
-Kate Perry, "I Kissed a Girl"
-Scarlett Johansson, "Falling Down"

"The Other Studio" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM "The River."

Ani DiFranco to play The Big Easy

Folk-rocking Grammy winner Ani DiFranco hasn’t performed in Boise for years. Look, she’s been busy. The famously prolific feminist icon releases a new CD what seems like every 10 minutes. Plus, she owns a legitimate business, Righteous Babe Records.

DiFranco has found time to return to The Big Easy on July 23 -- which had dang well better be called the Knitting Factory by then, right? Tickets go on sale for $32.50 at 10 a.m. Friday at TicketWeb.

Should local musicians play Alive After Five?

Well, should they?

It's an annual debate that I purposely avoided in today’s Scene column about Alive After Five. In the past, nothing BUT local bands played the free weekly bash at The Grove. Beginning in 2005, the Downtown Boise Association began hiring out-of-state acts in an effort to revitalize the party. Simply put, Boiseans weren’t turning out in droves anymore to see the same groups they can see any time at bars or weddings.

Should Alive After Five book local acts again?

It’s not an easy question. In recent years, a handful of vocal musicians have made a stink about it. I have no problem with anyone who argues that area bands should be booked – in fact, I agree that they could be booked on a limited basis. (More on that in a moment.) What drives me nuts is when certain indignant musicians become unpleasant and territorial about the disagreement, as if they’re entitled to play Alive After Five. Calling for a boycott of Alive After Five is not the right way to approach this issue. (Yes, a couple of local bands actually suggested that last year.) And let's face it: LOTS of Boiseans are obviously pleased with the touring bands being booked. It's fun to see new music. And there are definitely diehard fans of proven acts such as Asylum Street Spankers or Pato Banton.

George Lopez to play Morrison Center

Go figure. Now that Boise doesn't have a comedy club, we start getting a bunch of comedians.

Actually, Boise should have a comedy club open by the time Mexican-American comic George Lopez performs waaaaay down the road at the Morrison Center: Nov. 23. It's a confirmed concert. I'll post ticket information when I have it.

Lopez is a big name in comedy. Until recently, he starred in his own ABC sitcom, “George Lopez,” which now airs in reruns on cable channel Nickelodeon.

Update: Tickets will go on sale in late August or early September, according to the Morrison Center.

Wilco to perform at Winery at Eagle Knoll

OK, now The Winery at Eagle Knoll is really, REALLY becoming an alt-country mecca this summer.

Wilco — aka the “five-letter Chicago band” to you crafty blog readers — will perform there Aug. 20, adding to a schedule that already includes Steve Earle (July 11, acoustic gig) and Neko Case (Aug. 29).

No, the Wilco gig isn't at the Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise — early indications had pointed that direction — but I doubt fans will complain about the short drive. The Winery at Eagle Knoll is a picturesque spot to see outdoor shows. Wilco is touring in support of its latest album, fittingly titled “Sky Blue Sky.”

Tickets to the concert will go on sale May 30 for $28 advance, $31 day of show, at the Record Exchange, Egyptian Theatre box office, Boise Co-op, or by calling 387-1273, or 345-0454 to leave a message.

Here's Wilco with "Jesus, Etc.," from their much-loved album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

Neko Case to perform outdoors in Eagle

The Winery at Eagle Knoll is becoming an alt-country mecca this summer.

In addition to Steve Earle playing out there July 11 (ticket details will be in Scene this Friday), singer-songwriter Neko Case has been booked Aug. 28 Aug. 29. (Update: Promoter Idaho Concerts inadvertently provided the wrong date.)

Yes, Neko! It's easy to appreciate Case’s work in her alt-rock band, The New Pornographers, but many fans find her country-laced solo albums infinitely more compelling. (The fact she recently lent her voice to my favorite Cartoon Network series, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” makes her untouchable in my book.) And in case you're wondering, yes, Case will bring her backing band to the winery, which is located at 3705 N. Idaho 16.

Otep: Another sick band skips show

05/19 UPDATE: This show has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 30. All previously purchased tickets will be honored at the door.

Metal frontwoman and, um, "poet" Otep Shamaya — who has taken to spelling her band's logo as "OT3P" — has axed the group's gig Sunday at The Big Easy. This includes the opening bands. There will be no concert, period.

Vanna, please spin the wheel for Big Easy band excuses: "Transportation issues" ... "Due to illness" ... "Bus hits herd of elk" ... and ... and .. and it's "Due to illness!"

The concert will reschedule shortly, according to the promoter.

Comic Brian Regan to perform at Morrison Center

Hilarious comic Brian Regan has been booked June 28 at the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. Regan, a regular on both "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien,” is notable not just because he’s reaaaaally funny, but because he excels without resorting to raunchy humor. Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at Select-A-Seat.

Upcoming music at local nightclubs

-It appears that the new owners of Shorty's Saloon mean business about booking touring country acts. Singer Joe Diffie is slated to perform June 27 at the Garden City bar. Diffie has enjoyed 17 Top 10 country hits, including No. 1 smashes such as "Home" and "Bigger Than the Beatles." Nice job, Shorty's! Fans of the country genre will need to support concerts like this in order for Shorty's to keep spending big bucks on name performers. Update: Shorty's says this isn't confirmed yet, even though Diffie's publicist tells me it's happening.

-Synth-powered, new-wave revivalist band The Faint will return to The Big Easy on July 31. The Omaha band, which lured about 500 fans to its Boise show last June, cranks out a dance-friendly sound that has a lot more to do with rock than pop. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for $18.50 at TicketWeb.

-Two Sub Pop bands in one night? Believe it: Grand Archives and Sera Cahoone will perform May 29 at Neurolux. That one is $8 advance at TicketWeb.

-Beginning this week, local singer Paul Peterson, who was sidelined recently by a heart attack, will return to the stage Tuesdays at Ha’Penny Bridge Irish Pub in Boise. Peterson and his band — Rico Wiseman, Lawson Hill and Bill Liles — will perform blues and possible oldies and surf music. The affable Peterson is calling it his "Not Quite Dead Yet 2008 Tour.” Music runs from 8 to 11 p.m. All ages, no smoking, no cover charge.

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