Monday, August 22, 2011

Food Updates

Two New Missoula Eateries

The latest entry on the Zootown food scene is Philly West, now open less than two weeks. These guys claim to be the only authentic Philly cheese steak in the area, and that is evidently not an idle boast. I base my opinion on the rapidly growing, and happily munching, lunch crowd I've seen.

I had the mandarin salad with chicken, which was a tasty combination of, "mixed greens with toasted almonds, mandarin oranges, red onion, chow mien noodles & balsamic vinaigrette." Next time, I hope to have a bigger appetite and try the namesake cheese steak sandwich.

Where is it? Next to Fedex, where La Parrilla used to be.

Being prepared to discuss some aspect of the Philadelphia sports scene will help you fit in. The place is closed on Sundays, open 11am to 10pm Monday through Thursday, and 11am to 2:30 am on Friday and Saturday. The weekend, wee hours gotta eat something now people will find this a convenient addition to their late night resources.

A tourist asked me where he and his wife could get a "buffalo burger." I didn't lecture him about the proper use of buffalo/bison, but I did embarrass myself by my ignorance. The only place I could think of with bison on the menu was the Pearl, which is too pricey for me to sample, and out of the price range our visitor was looking for.

Only later, did I find the Blue Bison Grill, which includes bison on its menu. Feeling guilty about giving that tourist a bum steer, I promptly had a bison dish served with frybread, Flathead cherry BBQ sauce, purple cabbage coleslaw and soup.

Other bison dishes available included soup, bison with rice, sandwiches, burgers and bison chili.

Where is the Blue Bison? Look for the sidewalk sign, above, on Front Street 1/2 block west of Higgins, or for this sign on the south side of the street.

It's been right there in Stockmans for about two months, and let's hope it stays.

Hours are 11am to 10pm Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bon Voyage, Angie

Angie Biehl has left Missoula for Kalamazoo, Michigan, to work on a master's degree in musical therapy. As a farewell party, several of the bands she plays in appeared at the Top Hat, on Monday, August 15, 2011.  The symphony probably wouldn't fit, but she had just played with them the night before down in Caras Park. Did you hear her play the glockenspiel?

Tom Catmull, John Sporman

The one band not featuring Angie was Tom Catmull and the Clerics. Bands which included Angie were Stellarondo, the Tulis, New Hijackers, Slowly but Shirley and Broken Valley Roadshow.

New Hijackers: Caroline Keys, Angie Biehl and Travis Yost

 Angie and brother, Nate Biehl

Angie with Broken Valley Roadshow

Friday, August 19, 2011

Big Music Night

I usually start Friday mornings with KBGA listening to Swim Lesson with the Mermaid. This morning's show featured an interview with 10yoGF (10 year old Girl Friend), who will appear tonight at the Badlander as part of the Total Fest program. This may be one of your last opportunities to see this band,

because the drummer is leaving town. 

What these other creative folks will do without him, only the future will tell.

These images came from their Endathon performance on February 18, 2011.

Total Fest is the biggest event of this weekend, and expands beyond the Badlander/Palace complex to fill some other venues with the multi-faceted music its famous for. The complex will be jamming tonight from top to bottom, the Palace, the Badlander, Central, Golden Rose, the Savoy Casino, music, food and alcohol.

Japanther returns to Missoula, tonight, and will be over at Zoo City Apparel with four other bands, including Goddammitboyhowdy.  This, too, is Total Fest.

Goddammitboyhowdy is another local (or are they back in Browning again?) band I've enjoyed listening to and photographing.

Zoo City Apparel, in addition to iconic t-shirts, is making a name as an underground music venue. They are providing space lost with the closing of the BSMT and other shifts in the local scene.

This is one of those days when there is too much available in Zootown, and hard choices must be made.

Tom Catmull will be on the Union Club Stage tonight, beginning at 9:30.

Mudslide Charley will be at the Top Hat, along with the Frederico Brothers and Full Grown Men.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Friday--August 2011

I began August First Friday at the Missoula Art Museum. I was there to see the opening of Wendy Red Star's show.

Her work featured montages of nine photographs grouped by subject and quilts with photos woven into them. Subjects included the government issue houses of the day, church buildings, vehicles, signs and family gatherings. Most of the photos were taken by Wendy's father in the 70s. A few in one quilt were of him performing with the Maniacs, evidently quite famous on the Crow Reservation.

A sweat lodge  completed the installation, sitting in front of nine images of sweat lodges.

Strolling Higgins, I found Jeffrey had company on his corner in front of the Dark Room.

Meanwhile, three incredible women, and one incredible drag queen prepare to perform a religious, sacrificial ritual in the name of street art and other holy concepts. This piece was titled Escape Velocity and performed only once, on First Friday in August, 2011. 

Even Tank Girl showed up for this event, and she delivered a mighty blow.

The beast was worshiped, bashed and prayed to. As rituals go, it was cathartic and satisfying in so many ways.

Later, I found the Lil Smokies (well some of them anyway) making music behind the Old Post.

And then I called it quits. Not even dark yet, but I returned home to the book I was reading, and let the rest of that night run away on its own.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Top Notch Zootown Music

Where did all the musical talent in Zootown come from? For a small burg like this, it's a large, diverse and deep pool. The previous two posts high lighted a couple of upper echelon local bands. There are so many quality groups performing around Missoula, it would be impossible to name them all. You can read back through this blog to find others I praise. Here are some others I want to mention again.

Secret Powers

Downtown Tonight's weekly event on Thursday, July 7, 2011, featured the Independent's Best Of winners. Secret Powers and Reverend Slanky played, after being announced as finalists in the Best Band category. 

I must insert a photographer's note here: the light really sucks at most of these daytime events in Caras Park. I am not good at shooting sky, and my camera weighs me down in the hot weather. I'm going to quit carrying my camera and just dig the music, the crowd and the smell of food. Indoor events are more my cup of tea, anyway.  

Here are a few shots taken in the Top Hat on Friday, February 11, 2011. 

Secret Powers rates bonus points with me for producing so much original material. Shmed simply cannot rest on his laurels and charges into the next project almost immediately after the last one is done. 

Fans know these guys can handle covers, too, as their amazingly textured Beatles' work has shown. Let them practice a bit, and they can do most anything. 

$4J = Cash for Junkers 

$4J the ads say, as this group appears all over the map, including a monthly gig at the Union Club. These practiced musicians know their stuff and quickly fill any dance floor. Their crowd-pleasing allure has to place them among Missoula's best bands.

Cash for Junkers is intertwined with Broken Valley Roadshow, as Nate Biehl is in both bands, and other members trade off and fill in.

Nate Biehl with Caroline Keys, BVR at the Top Hat, Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nate Biehl and John Rosett/$4J @Union Club 

Tom Catmull and the Clerics

 When top bands are discussed, Tom Catmull and the Clerics have to be mentioned. They appeared in Caras Park at the Downtown Tonight event a week after winning Best Band for the fifth consecutive year. Tom was again a double winner as Best Musician.

Mudslide Charley

Mudslide Charley @Bernice's Bakery July 7, 2011

This being the first Thursday of August, Mudslide Charley will be playing their monthly "Blues and Bread" event at Bernice's.  It's a benefit for the Missoula Food Bank with fresh hot rolls on sale inside, and hot blues outside. This is smack you in the face authentic style blues with classics any blues fan will recognize, and a growing number of original tunes. 

 Mudslide Charley @Old Post July 15, 2011

Mudslide recently had a CD release party at the Old Post, and for that event back-up singers were added.

As usual, there are sets of images on flickr of all the bands mentioned here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Movement is good, proves we're alive and brings new learning. The last edition of open mike at Brooks and Browns occurred on July 12, 2011. There was the usual mix of regulars and new faces, and the event was outside on the patio, until the weather threatened. The light went weird, before the sky began to grumble and flash. It was a suitable ending for the run at Brooks and Browns. The next week, Louis and Teri were  scheduled in the same Tuesday 7-10pm slot at the Lucky Strike Casino.

 Louis Bond

Teri Llovet

Brooks and Browns had been home to this open mike crew for about two years. There was always back-up waiting for any performer desiring assistance in the form of guitar and bass players, drummers, and occasionally dobro, saxaphone and other instruments. Bands formed and reformed among the instruments and mike stands in the Holiday Inn's bar. 

Now, the locale has changed, and many of the regulars have already relocated.

 Ciara @Brooks & Browns, June 28, 2011

 UFOkies @B&B, June 28, 2011

 Sister Fix with Roger on the drums and Sue guesting on fiddle @B&B July 5, 2011

 Ciara invites Kristin, her old Slowly but Shirley partner, onstage at the Lucky Strike, July 19, 2011.

 Suddenly, there are photographers coming out of the woodwork, as a group of RMSP students break out their gear. They are shooting everything from every angle.

 Sister Fix @Lucky Strike, July 19, 2011

 Big Sexy and the Meanfingers @Lucky Strike, July 19, 2011