Coming off a couple of awesome summer treks to the east, I’m in the midst of a bit of a Spokane love-fest these days and it seems only fitting that, as a result, I begin September’s column with a shout to my favorite Spokane event: PIG OUT IN THE PARK.

Pig Out happens September 1 – 6 in Riverfront Park and, as usual, has basically everything you could ever want in a local fest. Local food vendors like Azars, Mary Lou’s Ice Cream, Pizza Rita & Zip’s will be on-hand along with countless (seriously, countless, you know it) others and 55 bands will play on two stages throughout the (extended) weekend!

And might I call your attention to one artist in particular, adored all about the Northwest: Star ANNA AND THE LAUGHING DOGS from Ellensburg, WA who play on Friday evening. Star has been touring non-stop for the past few years and has a huge following in Seattle. Give her a listen on her website, but see her live in the park. Her songs are honest and tough, and she has a voice like you won’t believe!

Now, why the love-fest, you ask?

For one, I do this thing every July where I watch Johnny Depp movies for eight days in a row, and while Benny & Joon makes a yearly appearance, I enjoyed it even more this year for no reason in particular. If you’ve never seen it, hop to it, Spokanite! And if you have, a re-visit is not a terrible idea. You can spot your favorite parts of town (we used to drive by “Benny’s Car Clinic” all the time and I loved it!), and remember the first time you saw the film – for me, it was with my mom when I was 10 at the Garland Theatre (another Spokane favorite). Memmmmmorieeeees.

Second, my mom and I recently participated in the 2nd annual Millwood Daze Wellness 5K. There was a great turnout for the event with great weather and so much community awesomeness. We particularly enjoyed Anytime Fitness’ presence (especially Lon Page, the Trent location’s owner), and that free drink coupon from our favorite Rocket Bakery location! Community events in Spokane remind me just how fannnntastic it is!

Back to September… You’ve got big-acts-to-see in spades this month, pals!

Knitting Factory is having one of those months that makes you wish you had more spending cash (they do those every once in awhile, sneaky dudes!), which includes some groovy rock (?) from SMASHING PUMPKINS the 14th, some hip-hop-y rock (mostly hip-hop though) from ATMOSPHERE the 18th, some pop-y rock from HANSON (yes, THE) the 27th, and some rock-y rock from BLUE OCTOBER on the 29th. Whew!

Down the streeeet, though, are a couple of other shows you might want to see, too!

Coming off a performance at Sasquatch!, JAPANDROIDS are heading into town on September 9 at the A Club (406 1/2 W. Sprague, somewhere above Mootsys, eh?). With an album that topped Top 10 lists last year, and a fall tour that builds up to support performances with the likes of the Walkmen, the Thermals and Frog Eyes, this one comes highly suggested!

Empyrean’s month is highlighted by a stop from HOT HOT HEAT, supporting their summer release Future Breeds on Dangerbird Records. I haven’t been hip to HHH since the “Bandages” days, but a day full of listening to their last few albums has reminded me of just how much fun they can be – wear your dancin’ shoes! They are making a long drive from SLC to play on September 20, a dreaded Monday, so be sure to… SHOW UP!

Lastly, September kicks off with a September 1 show from BOB DYLAN & HIS BAND and JOHN MELLENCAMP at Greyhound Park. My dad and I saw Dylan last fall and it was pretty much totally awesome, though my one Greyhound experience was a dusty affair. Go prepared for the maybe-dust, but enjoy these two fantastic performers! And say hi to my parents!