It’s official—a coupla Spokanites are playing the 8th annual SASQUATCH! MUSIC FESTIVAL at the Gorge this Memorial Day weekend! Local celeb JAMES PANTS will play Sasquatch’s newly minted “dance tent,” and amidst the other stars of the three-day fest—including Kings of Leon, Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, TV on the Radio, Erykah Badu and Ben Harper—will be our heroes on the national scene, HOCKEY, featuring local Brian White! According to my records, a Spokanite has not yet graced the ‘Squatch stages, so a hearty congrats for those above, as well as to you, Spokane—you‘ve got some music on the hype radar.

On to March, and hello, BARRY MANILOW promising “the Hits and then some…” at the Star Theatre on March 14! When Manilow released this set of dates for his spring tour, I made everyone in my office listen to “Could it be Magic” at full volume and convinced them all that Manilow is, in fact, the Man. And I suggest you do the same. Manilow is a legend in my household (which includes ME). Go.

Something that deserves a (bit more serious of a) shout is the annual TAKE ACTION TOUR, which yearly sends a handful of pop/punk-leaning up-and-comers out on the road in support of a great cause. This year, its 8th year in action, sees Cute Is What We Aim For, Breathe Carolina, Meg & Dia and others raising money for DOSOMETHING.ORG, a non-profit with the tagline “Using the power of online to get teens to do good stuff offline,” and dedicated to inspiring youth around the nation to stay active in their communities via service projects from clothing drives and food drives, to disaster relief and green initiatives. The Tour will be in Spokane on March 23 at the Knitting Factory.

In new-to-pay-attention-to news, I was tipped off by that purveyor of all things Platform Booking of a star on the rise in the local music fam, PLEASE DRAW IN ME, which, tongue (brain?)-twister name aside, is churning out some great tunes in the vein of former scene favorites Flee the Century (minus the shout-sing vocals). No report on the live show just yet, but March 14 sees them at CATERINA WINERY with the absolutely-bizarre and inexplicable A Gun That Shoots Knives from across the mountains in Seattle.

Also of note is some fantastic action at EMPYREAN this month, which has started hosting poetry slam nights (thanks Chrisy Riddle!), and will do so on March 12 and 26, alongside singer/songwriters like KEVIN LONG (March 29) and prog-rockers such as the ever-popular CYRUS FELL DOWN, who will celebrate the release of their sophomore full-length on March 13 with METEORITES ATTACK.

In the interest of follow-up, Band of the Year honors at this year’s Sommy Awards went to local mainstay Pat McHenry/Wayne Patrick and his new crew, MON CHERI. They’ve got a couple of shows early in the month at Empyrean and Whitworth, but plan to spend the spring finalizing an album. Sommy historians will remember that McHenry’s previous band won the coveted, albeit with a bit of sarcasm, “Lifetime Achievement Award,” last year. Though it may speak volumes of a variety of Spokane musical trends, let’s focus on the positive and issue a note of congratulations for moving on… and up!

And finally, a bit of a personal plug, I’ll be joined by PLATFORM BOOKING and the Inlander, along with a host of others, when my pet company (for all intents and purposes we’ll dub it “the Wig”) turns 5 and celebrates with a two-day extravaganza called WIG BASH which includes Saturday, March 28 at the Blvd, featuring SHIM, Cyrus Fell Down, See Me River and Truckasauras.