Concert review: Sarah Johns, April 12, Shorty's Saloon

“Have any of you girls been cheated on?” Sarah Johns asked the audience at Shorty’s Saloon on Saturday night. “I’ve been cheated on!”

This, obviously, was good news. Smiling broadly, Johns made an obscene gesture and sang her first single, “The One in the Middle,” a rocked-up country anthem about flipping off an ex-boyfriend. Too rarely, someone in the crowd would return the single-digit salute. (It’s supposed to be fun, people.) Several couples hit the dance floor energetically. Many simply nodded along to the beat in their seats.

About 370 fans attended, according to Shorty's, but it felt smaller. If Johns was disappointed by the modest-sized turnout in Garden City, she didn’t let on. Johns, who spent the last four months opening for country titan George Strait, delivered an hour-plus set that showed she has the tools to succeed on a large scale. Even if the 20 folding chairs set up in front of the stage never completely filled.

"Other Studio" playlist

The music from Sunday's show was selected from two new compilation albums on Soundway Records — "Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues 1970-6" and "Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79":

-"Ayamma," The Anambra Beats
-"Arraino," Popular Cooper & His All Beats Band
-"Will of the People," T-Fire
-"Lagos City," Asiko
-"You've Gotta Help Yourself," Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies
-"Amalinja," The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination
-"Koma Mosi," The Harbours Band
-"Mota Ginya," Voices of Darkness

"The Other Studio," a one-hour rock talk show, airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM "The River."

Weekend concert pick: Sarah Johns

Country fans rarely see anything but arena shows in Boise, so it's a treat to have a talent like Sarah Johns playing Saturday night at Shorty's Saloon (9:30 p.m., $20 advance). Johns' album, "Big Love in a Small Town," has grown on me quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of cowboys playfully flipping Johns the bird in Garden City. It will certainly be a change for her; she's been opening for George Strait the past four months.

Nashville outsider: David Allan Coe

Knitting Factory confirms that David Allan Coe will play the Boise club Sept. 24.

Coe, 68, whose songs have been recorded from artists ranging from Johnny Paycheck and Tanya Tucker to Kid Rock and the Dead Kennedys, is a unique individual. A Coe concert should excite outlaw-country fans and bikers, even if he is looking a little rough these days.

Got milk?

White Gold, "One Gallon Axe"

Believe it or not, White Gold has an entire video channel. It's like Tenacious D, Spinal Tap and a bellowing Holstein rolled into one.

Concert review: Dumpstaphunk, April 8, The Bouquet

Funk music is often dismissed as disposable fun — a dance-floor circus of bug-eyed men with long dreadlocks, popping bass guitars and ridiculous, made-up names like, well, Dumpstaphunk.

Ivan Neville’s quintet lived up to, yet crushed, those stereotypes Tuesday. The three-hour, two-set concert illuminated a New Orleans band with jaw-dropping musical chops, hopeful lyrics and a reverence for classic rock, funk and soul.

Disappointingly for Boise, this show had the ingredients of a dud. Only a few dozen people showed up at first. Seated in front of a Hammond B-3 organ, Neville grimaced as sound problems delayed the start. Enthusiastic guitarist-bassist-singer Tony Hall broke a string during the second song, a wicked instrumental called “Stinky.” Moments later, heavyset Raymond Webber, probably the best drummer to ever stomp a double-bass pedal at The Bouquet, dropped a stick during his solo.

Album review: Nine Inch Nails, "Ghosts I-IV," three stars

Imagine a two-hour Nine Inch Nails instrumental “album” like this: Each track is the sonic equivalent of a silver orb hovering in your living room. After vibrating, it explodes into a million shiny balls of mercury that splash to the floor before trickling, magnetically, back into a large round mass. This, in turn, slowly rises and restarts the process. Repeat 35 times. In fact, in the online version of this review, can we just repeat that sentence 35 times? That's the terrific, horrific freedom of the digital age: There's room for everything. Industrial rocker Trent Reznor, a.k.a. Nine Inch Nails, is able to create a "soundtrack for daydreams" in 10 weeks, then self-release all three dozen tracks in multiple formats, including a $5 MP3 download.

Welcome back, Josh Ritter

Moscow-based singer-songwriter Josh Ritter — who put on a fantastic show last year at the Egyptian Theatre — will return to Boise for a concert July 21.

Ritter will play the Big Easy Knitting Factory in a co-headlining slot with singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. (Yes, that probably means Ritter will play a slightly shorter set than last time.)

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. May 9 at TicketWeb. They will cost $23 advance, $25 day of show.

Confirmed: The Big Easy's new name

UPDATE II: The Big Easy Concert House will be renamed the Knitting Factory this spring.

The first public hint came Monday when Pollstar, a concert-industry trade publication, began listing Big Easy shows as Knitting Factory events.

Jared Hoffman, president of New York-based Knitting Factory Entertainment, said Tuesday he has no idea why Pollstar started doing that. Knitting Factory, which had hoped to keep the new name under wraps, did not intentionally provided Pollstar with any information regarding the change, Hoffman said.

Pop Quiz: Want free tickets to Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk?

UPDATE: The contest has ended. Congratulations to the winners. Your names are at the door. Enjoy the funk tonight, kids.

Answer the question, and we'll bring the funk. The Idaho Statesman is giving away several pairs of tickets to Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. The concert is at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at The Bouquet, 1010 Main St.

To enter the random drawing be an automatic winner, e-mail the correct answer to the following Pop Quiz question to

Ivan Neville played on two Rolling Stones albums. What are the names of those albums?

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