Once upon a time in a rock ‘n’ roll dreamland far, far away (Los Angeles, specifically, or was it somewhere in Utah?), there lived a young man named Bert McCracken. Bert was a hard-working, hard-wailing, formerly straight-edged kid from Utah with a hit song and a young pop princess girlfriend. The song, “The Taste of Ink,” charted and paved the way for well-received follow-up, “Buried Myself Alive,” and the girlfriend, Kelly Osbourne—daughter of the Prince of Darkness himself, better known at the time as a dog-owning family man—gave the band a kind of visibility relatively unknown at the time: REALITY TELEVISION (in this case, MTV’s beloved “The Osbournes.”).

What may be most interesting about this story, though, is how it continued. Think THE USED disappeared with “The Osbournes”? Remember, friend, the Osbournes never actually left us. And neither did McCracken’s creepy/vacant(/SCARY — was anyone else scared? I was scared) sneer.

Consider this: the debut eponymous album with aforementioned tuneage charted at 63 in 2003. It’s follow-up, 2004’s In Love and Death, hit number 6. WHAT? Yep. Sophomore luck? Not exactly. The next one, Lies For the Liars, number 5, and even the most recent album, Artwork, released in late 2009, hit number 10. Those are freakin’ impressive numbers. It’d be easy to cast aside a band of screamers, easily thrown under that “emo” bus of the era (I hated that bus), and a songwriting frontman whom Rolling Stone claimed had “cheese-ball tendencies,” but, albeit curious, the staying power is enviable. As well, “The Taste of Ink” is still totally good, I swear! McCracken and crew will hit the Knitting Factory on April 29, 8pm, $25 in advance, or day of show.

Local wailers CYRUS FELL DOWN shot an email my way that they’ve found a new lead singer to replace David Plell. That man is Pat O’Neill, formerly of Mylestone, now with big shoes to fill but certainly headed in the right direction. The band’s posted a one track demo of the new sound that you can check out on their MySpace. Best of luck to the dudes in their new chapter!

Early in the month on April 2, a host of locals have a very slick event happening for First Friday. Live performances from PLEASE DRAW IN ME, Ze Krau, Jaeda and DJ Likes Girls and LIVE BOXING (??) will complement the art of local collectors Leah Bickerton, Stacy Bruce, Ben Cater, Bruce Hormann, Patrick Kendrick and Sasha Turner. The event runs from 7pm at Spokane Boxing, 1826 E. Sprague Ave., and costs a mere $5. Empyrean welcomes NURSES on April 6, and Spokane Arena hosts the final tour of country music legends BROOKS & DUNN on April 30.

The Arena ALSO plays host to the totally-cool WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, April 7-11. I have two completely irrational fears in life: taxidermy, and dinosaurs. I never made it into Walking with Dinosaurs when it appeared on my side of the mountains, but I definitely wanted to (when else would one be able to face this fear outside of Universal Studios’ Jurassic Park ride?–which I have, screams and slight tears notwithstanding). LITTLE HOUSE OF THE PRAIRIE: THE MUSICAL featuring Melissa Gilbert (!!!) runs at INB Performing Arts Center, April 8-11, just in time for the sold-out CONAN O’BRIEN’S LEGALLY PROHIBITED FROM BEING FUNNY ON TELEVISION TOUR, which arrives on April 16.

Finally, a bit of obligatory self-promotion! Along with Platform Booking, the Som Show and Check It Out Music, I’ll be putting on my 4th annual WIG BASH on Saturday, April 3 at Sunset Junction. The show starts at 9pm and features SHIM, Space Opera 77, the Globes and Paris Spleen (making their Spokane debut!). I’d love for you to come. 21+, $6. See you there!