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May Music Challenge - Go to a Local Show!

Holy cow, you guys - when I sat down to peruse the upcoming local Missoula music we have to look forward to, it was hard to contain my joy when I realized that the music schedule is starting to look an awful lot like it did pre-pandemic. There's stuff happening again! Like, a LOT of stuff. There are so many amazing local shows in and around the Missoula area this month, and the best part is there is literally something for everyone's musical taste on this list. We've got local talents representing funk, country, acoustic, rock, metal, electronic, hip hop, indie pop and even yodeling to get down to in May, plus so much more.

I want to highlight some of the most uniquely Missoula events in this article, but this list is by no means exhaustive. And nothing would make me happier than if every person who reads this blog would make a point to try to go to a local show this month. Let's call it the May Music Challenge. And if you'd let me know in the comments what show (or shows!) you're excited for, that would be even more excellent.


Alright, all that said, let's get to it!


First up is by far my personal most favorite thing on this list. This coming Wednesday, May 3rd, a little-known band called The Rocking Raccoons will be headlining at the ZACC. Doors are at 6:30, show at 7pm. The 7-member Rocking Raccoons will be playing a mix of pop and rock for the audience, and for many of them this will be the biggest show they've ever played. I've never heard of this band before, and I'd bet you haven't either, so why is this my favorite event on this list? Because the entire band is made up of fourth through eighth grade students from Missoula's Sussex School, and this show is the culmination of an entire school year's worth of focused effort. I truly hope that Missoula shows up for these kids, and gives these future musicians a taste of how well Missoulians support their local artists. You can find out more about the show here.




The next night, on Thursday May 4th, we've got Ben Goldsmith and Jaden Decker taking the stage at Freecycles. Goldsmith and Decker represent the best of what young singer-songwriters have to offer, with Goldsmith coming to us out of NYC and Decker a local teen from Montana who has been picking up steam with his soulful performances in recent months. You can pre-game with the uber-talented Jaden Decker by going to his website.





Moving along into the weekend... Well, let's just say that if you're bored this coming weekend, you're not trying hard enough because there is an avalanche of fun events headed your way. On Friday, we have Jupiter Beat headlining a show at the Instrument Shop, supported by Ratbath and Eyewitness Piano News. Jupiter Beat has a space-rock meets funk fusion sound that is an experience you won't forget. They're one of my favorite local acts and I'd recommend them to pretty much anyone. Their sound and live show defy genres and bend your perception of time and space. It's super fun!


We've also got a Cinco de Mayo electronic show with DJ Belly Scruggs and DJ Suka happening at Monk's on Friday night, doors at 9pm! Another regional band, Partygoers, will be tearing up the stage at the Top Hat for a FREE show on Friday night, with a blend of electronic, house and hip hop. But if country music is more your speed, you can hop right on over to the Cranky Sam Public House for a party with the Barncat Country Band at 8pm!

On Saturday, May 6th, you could find yourself at the Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery, enjoying the smooth yodeling stylings of Wailing Aaron Jennings - the show is at 6pm and I highly recommend experiencing this artist at least once. From his website: "Jennings’ songs champion the traditions of Honky Tonk and Western Swing while giving a knowing wink and a nod to the modern world. Every song is a story whether it’s a rambling waltzing exposition, a dance tune punctuated with acrobatic yodels, or a rockin' boogie woogie – the ghosts of the past are jumping, shouting and dancing right along with Wailing Aaron Jennings (and YOU)". Plus, the Ten Spoon is a gorgeous setting for an evening out!


But if raucous piano music in an underground Missoula speakeasy sounds more like your thing, you could head over to Stave and Hoop on Saturday evening instead! From their event page: "Enjoy an interactive, fun, often rowdy and always entertaining evening with The Dueling Missoulians in Missoula's only dueling pianos bar! Bring your friends, secure a table early, and order up your song requests as you enjoy the festive atmosphere. Dr Doug specializes in the classics, while Kyle and Josh bring young energy and new takes on every genre." And, Dueling Pianos is always a FREE event!


Moving along to next weekend, we've got another Jupiter Beat show on May 13th, this time at The Furnace, a small but fabulous venue in downtown Missoula. The show will kick off with the funky electronic hip-hop group Brute Finesse. The combination of Jupiter Beat and Brute Finesse promises to be one of the most fun live shows you'll ever get the chance to see, I guarantee it.


And on May 14th, you've got the opportunity to see Motorhome, ESP and Norwell onstage at The ZACC. If you're struggling to choose a show to go this month, this would be a wonderful one to aim for. This is a benefit event for Blue Mountain Clinic, and the proceeds will directly help many local Montanans with their healthcare needs. And all three bands put on a GREAT show, so this is one you really don't want to miss.


From the event page: "Locals ESP, Motorhome, and Norwell play a showcase benefit for Missoula’s Blue Mountain Clinic. Proceeds will support Blue Mountain Clinic’s mission of service to the community and access to abortion care. They describe their aims as providing “…patient-centered, family practice and primary care services to the local community through a choice based perspective…” “Blue Mountain Clinic strives to provide feminist based approaches to health care, education, and advocacy in the region… [and] on the local level to improve policies that have a negative impact on patients’ economic and political access to health care”


On Friday, May 19, you could pop into the Dark Horse Bar, where you'll find party metal band Incoming Days out of Washington headlining the night, featuring technical death core band Zephyria (Kalispell) and Doja out of Missoula, who will bring a hip hop/funk/rock fusion element to the night. The show starts at 9pm, and if you're a metal fan, this show will tickle in all the right places.


And for our final featured show, we're going to go with one that I actually need your help with. I've never heard of either of the bands playing The ZACC on Sunday, May 21st. I'm not available to go to this show but I REALLY want to know all about it, so please - someone go for me and report back!

This show is the band (latent) out of Missoula, supported by Witch Bitch. The show sounds super fun, but ALL I know about either band comes from their event page:

"(latent) is a Missoula based band composed of Zack Buchholz, Nick Togliatti, and Jake Swank. These three fellers have been playing music together for nearly a decade, and this band is a culmination of their endeavors to incorporate absurdity, sincerity, and high energy music into a single intense project.

Witch Bitch is a two-piece band that leaves your skull in two pieces. Dark, tropical, and fuzzy, Witch Bitch melts tsunamis, ancient pyramids, and corpse effluvium in a sonic crucible. What remains will make your bones rattle – sludgy surf that’s sweeter than sipping a piña colada on a private beach in hell."


I don't know about you, but that description sold me. I'm so sad I can't make it, so please, somebody, go to this show and take some video so I don't miss out completely!


That's all I've got space to tell you about, but there really are so many more music events to look forward to in May, June and beyond! I'd really love it if you'd take me up on my challenge of going to at least one local show this month. Obviously, you've got a LOT to choose from, so do yourself and our beloved local artists a favor, and show up to support them. A lot of these shows are free, and ALL of them are perfectly, uniquely Missoula. What more could we ask for?


See you out there!


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1 Comment


John Rosett
John Rosett
May 03, 2023

Remember: There's still local bands playing live music for dancing at the Union Club. Also one of the few places that pay the musicians a not to insulting wage.


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