Words & Deeds

Sold-out concerts, Blu-ray players, new country deejay

From the notebook: Procrastinators are getting burned by sellouts at The Big Easy. It happened last month at Built To Spill (which, according to an e-mailer, resulted in at least one pair of tickets getting flipped outside for $100).

Now both Social Distortion (July 12) and Panic! at the Disco (July 25) have sold out in advance. (Hint: You can still snag VIP tickets to Social D through Rants & Raves on page 2.)

Ween (July 26) is looking like the next headache for lollygaggers. About 700 tickets have already moved. The Big Easy holds 999 concertgoers.

Metal band Tool has been confirmed Aug. 27 at The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Tool fans are the sort who will drive to see their revered band. But should they? Tool has been mentioned as a possibility at the Idaho Center Amphitheater this summer.

Gas up the car. The Treasure Valley might get a Tool concert, but it isn't panning out for summer, according to promoter Bravo Entertainment. If it happens — and that's a big "if" — it would be no earlier than fall.

Perhaps even more so than rockers, rappers can be difficult for concert organizers to handle. Many want money up front. Short sets are common. A few just don't show up. Kool Keith's June 13 gig fell through, reports Neurolux owner Allen Ireland, because the rapper got into a financial disagreement with his tour manager. The tour basically imploded: Keith pulled a no-show at other venues — including The Big Easy in Spokane the night before.

So for whatever it's worth, the scheduled Keak Da Sneak concert July 7 at the Mardi Gras Ballroom is the real deal, I'm told. For you newbies to West Coast rap: Keak allegedly coined the hip-hop term "hyphy" and makes a contribution to E-40's popular single, "Tell Me When To Go."

"My Country 104.3" listeners will get that afternoon deejay that's been promised since the station flipped formats from oldies to country in January. "Shotgun" is slated to start July 10, live and local.

Shotgun? Sounds like a shell of a deejay. Just kidding! Maybe I'll stop by sometime, hoss; I'm a barrel of laughs. We'll take aim at the Dixie Chicks.

Adding local talent is smart business. But in this hotly contested country radio market, Shotgun probably will have Red Ryder-like impact against the competition — at least initially.

Movies called "Water" and "Wah-Wah" both open at The Flicks today. That thought makes me laugh as I type this sentence.

My wallet is nervous. Best Buy in Boise unveiled its first Blu-ray disc player ($999) Wednesday — right next to the format's direct competition, an HD DVD player ($499) that hit the market in April. I sped down to the store to compare picture quality, but Best Buy's Blu-ray unit was playing a lousy standard-definition DVD. The demo disc hadn't arrived yet. Argh!

Conveniently, Best Buy isn't allowed to just tear the cellophane off a high-def Blu-ray movie and play the thing. The demo arrived Thursday — right before this column's deadline — and looks incredible, a sales rep told me by phone. Best Buy will start selling Blu-ray players Sunday — all one of them in stock. More should trickle in soon.

That's fine, because consumers have lots of time. HD DVD and Blu-ray are the next-generation DVD equivalent of Betamax vs. VHS. There's no telling who will win the battle. Many people don't even own HDTVs yet. I'm betting on Blu-ray because of its larger disc storage capacity. But savvy consumers will wait months before they consider owning one of these next-generation DVD players. Keep an eye on Samsung, which hasn't ruled out launching a dual player that would handle both HD DVD and Blu-ray. That would most likely happen in late 2006 or early 2007.