Here's some highlights from the many live concerts happening this week.
(Friday, July 26)
The Kansas singer has the grit and the pipes to cover "Take It (Another Little Piece of My Heart)," something that most people who aren't Janis Joplin shouldn't do. Hear that voice and originals from her deep catalog ("Come to My Window") in person when she hits the Wilma stage.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $52-$63. If you buy two tickets, you get a download or CD of her as-yet-unreleased album.
Betsy Olson Band
(Friday, July 26)
This blues rock outfit out of Seattle (via Billings) swings through Missoula on their way to Red Ants Pants Festival.
Olson is heavily influenced by classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, which comes through in her fuzzy guitar tone, blues-based licks and soulful vocals. Olson’s one of those modern artists who perfectly rides the homage line – making you feel like you’ve heard her before, even when the set is all original tunes.
Locals Junior support at Western Cider. Show starts at 6 p.m.
Red Ants Pants
(Friday-Sunday, July 26-28)
The annual cow pasture festival technically kicks off Thursday, with some performances in downtown White Sulphur Springs and campgrounds opening to visitors. But Friday is when the fest starts in earnest, and Americana/roots/country singers fill up the bill for three days.
Colter Wall, Patty Griffin and Shakey Graves top the guestlist, but keep an eye out for Missoula’s Jackson Holte & the Highway Patrol or the Latin-inspired (but from Helena) Los Marvelitos. I’m guessing they mostly cover “Negro Y Azul” from that one episode of “Breaking Bad.”
Also, don’t miss the yearly demonstration events, like Fencing 101, the yodeling competition or horse and buggy driving.
Three-day and single-day passes still available. Check the website at redantspantsmusicfestival.com.
(Saturday, July 27)
These bastards. Their ‘80s-influenced jangle rock (think early REM) makes for great listening, with its barebones bass lines, clean-tone arpeggios and simple drumming (that might be a drum machine? Or it’s just mixed very strangely).
But their newest EP, which follows up their 2017 self-titled debut, eschews song titles for simple “Song1,” “Song2” signifiers. Fine, but then they’re out of order. Track 1 — Song2. Track 2 — Song1.
So continues the REM influence, a group who refused to tell listeners which side of the LP to listen to first, and tried to throw off record store employees with fake filing instructions on the spine.
Portland’s The Macks (blues rock) come with, and a couple locals including Why We Came West support at the VFW.
Doors at 8:30 p.m. Music at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. 21+
(Tuesday, July 30)
In his heyday, back in the '90s before Google and YouTube existed and it was hard to be exposed to deranged things online, Marilyn Manson, a goth-rocker with a pinup/serial killer name who wore creepy costumes and wrote songs like "Antichrist Superstar," was the scariest thing in mainstream culture alongside, say, Eminem.
While that rapper incensed people with his murder fantasies, Manson trolled the general prosperous suburban normalcy, which in the 1990s constituted some of sort of suffocating cultural oppression. (See "American Beauty" and "Fight Club.") It turns out things were a little boring in a special way that only peak economic growth can.
Things have gotten a little weird since then, yet Manson has continued forth. Musically, he and producer Tyler Bates, sound into it on his last studio album, "Heaven Upside Down," even if the lyrical themes and provocation do not. If you can spend every day reading about terrifying effects of climate crisis, Manson's own declaration that he's a "Jesus Crisis," a sort of Goth dad pun (he's 50), don't seem like they'll grab anyone's attention outside of his longtime fans.
Catch Manson when he plays Big Sky Brewing Company Amphitheater on Tuesday. Tickets are $42.50, all ages, available at bigskybrew.com or the taproom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8.
Lord Huron and Shakey Graves
(Tuesday, July 30)
Texas songwriter and guitarist Shakey Graves has made Missoula a regular stop for years now, meaning it's no surprise that this double bill with indie-folk group Lord Huron at the KettleHouse Amphitheater sold out months back.
(Thursday, Aug. 1)
The country songwriter's latest album, "Slowheart," is a "a big-sounding, big-hearted album that's as much Midwestern rock as it is modern country," according to AllMusic.com, which concluded that the artist is neither "a bro-country goofball or a dour revivalist."
Catch him at the Wilma. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $35-$45, available at logjampresents.com.