Michael Deeds: Fair entertainers, Hawks beers and Steve Earle

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comAugust 18, 2013 

Guess Who the two remaining original members of this Canadian rock band are? Hint: They’re playing at the Western Idaho Fair, and their names are Jim Kale (bass) and Garry Peterson (drums).

As long as the beer is cold as ice, most folks at the Western Idaho Fair probably won’t even care how many original members are still in Foreigner.

That doesn’t mean music snobs won’t take a critical eye to this year’s grandstand entertainment.

Look, we all get it: The concerts are free with paid fair admission, so what can we expect?

Based on previous years, let me answer that: Plenty of has-beens and few surprises.

The good news: With the added diversity of regional Mexican act Los Cuates de Sinaloa (Aug. 18) and Christian-rockers Kutless (Aug. 19), there are more concerts this year.

But the overall quality? Um.

In 2012, highlights included “Weird Al” Yankovic and Styx — solid, fair-circuit entertainers.

This year? Young country fans will flock to see Brantley Gilbert (Aug. 22), although he played at Taco Bell Arena less than a year ago. Seasoned country enthusiasts will enjoy ’90s favorites from Clay Walker (Aug. 23).

But rock fans are sorta hosed.

The Guess Who (Aug. 21) should be called The Guess Who Is Still In This Band. Like Foreigner (Aug. 20), it’s a shell of its best-known incarnation, and also getting long in the tooth.

Foreigner still includes one original member, founder and guitarist Mick Jones. But how “Hot Blooded” can a “Dirty White Boy” really be when he’s pushing 70? It’s a cruel world for rock stars.

Most of these musicians probably figure that their fans are so burned out after all these years that they won’t notice who’s actually on stage — or remember names such as Lou Gramm or Burton Cummings.

That said, Foreigner will be just fine as a pseudo-tribute band. Bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio) is a hell of a musician. Plus, the group is donating $500 to the Timberline High School choir, which will perform during “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

Besides, there’s always next year. Maybe we’ll get someone awesome to return then — like Creedence Clearwater Revisited.


Key observations from an entertaining 13-2 Boise Hawks romp over Eugene on Aug. 14:

1) What? No local beer is sold at Memorial Stadium? Since we are supposedly in the “Northwest” League here, might I suggest at least selling an IPA — such as Payette Brewing’s Outlaw IPA or Sockeye’s Dagger Falls IPA?

“We definitely want to have some local flavor out here in the future,” agrees Boise Hawks president and general manager Todd Rahr, “and (we) will be working on it soon!”

In other words, I suspect, next year. In the meantime, the closest thing offered by the Hawks is a craft-beer imposter called Third Shift Amber Lager. It’s a MillerCoors product. It isn’t terrible.

2) The Eugene Emeralds’ road uniforms rock. The green, Jerry Garcia-inspired tie-dye is somehow both ridiculous and cool. Based on the errors in the infield, however, I’m wondering if the equipment manager should make sure they aren’t made out of some special THC-saturated hemp.

The Boise Hawks only have half a dozen home games remaining. The final one is Sept. 2.


Summer really is almost over. Alive After Five at the Grove plaza will wind down with Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express (Aug. 21), Polyrhythmics (Aug. 28, don’t miss it) — and last but not least, singer-accordionist C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band (Sept. 4).

Chenier’s last-minute performance was revealed this week. It’s the “special show” booked by the Record Exchange.

Chenier might not be quite what some Boiseans expected after the long wait for an announcement, but he’ll bring a zydeco party.


After staying clear of Boise for most of his career, singer-songwriter Steve Earle appears ready to make us a regular stop. He’ll return Sept. 25 to the Egyptian Theatre with his band, The Dukes. The Mastersons open.

Rockers Shinedown and Skillet will perform Sept. 17 at CenturyLink Arena.

And no word yet on a possible rescheduling of Josh Ritter’s Aug. 14 show at River Run in Sun Valley, which was canceled because of air quality.


Tim Johnstone and I will spin this year’s candidates for “song of the summer,” plus take a look at new releases and live shows coming to Boise. We’ll also argue about Miley Cyrus.


• It’s the hottest ticket of the summer in Boise: Pop-rock band Fun hits the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Outlaw Field.

• The Modern Hotel and Bar probably isn’t the first place you think of when you’re considering dining out. Maybe it should be.

Michael Deeds’ column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. Email: mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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