Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strolling through the radio stations in Missoula can be quite a depressing affair - four stations playing contemporary country, four more playing BTO, one playing Dave Matthews and another with some bullshit autotune top 40 hit. That is until you turn over to 89.9 FM, your friendly neighborhood college radio station, KBGA.

KBGA has once again married Wantage USA to bring you Total Fest X. The thing of it is, with all of the great music and shows like Ink Mathematics, Ultra-Mega Blast, Muffin Tops, Swimming With the Mermaid, and deejays like H-Rap, Avatar, Bullit and Dr. Katie we feel like we already owe them. Instead they throw some major support our way and make it possible for us to bring bands like Big Business to Total Fest.

So kids, next time you hear KBGA is doing there annual Radio-Thon pick up that phone and support them because they are the best radio station in town and if you don't then you will only have yourself to blame for the eight Sheryl Crow songs that are playing simultaneously on other stations right now (seriously, right now - I checked).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There are few people more ubiquitous in Missoula than the Hickey brothers. They seem to have their hands on every relevant pulse in this town, and they have for awhile. You may have heard of the Volumen or The International Playboys, but it's the behind the scenes stuff that really keeps this town ticking. From the outset, they've been generating or promoting something. It's a horribly rare thing for people to remain connected to the heart of a town, but somehow they seem to never falter. They've made their local mark on the internets (remember the place with the illusion of anonymity). Shane Hickey's HOWSYOURNETWORK is a company focused largely on things we don't understand. We know Shane wears lab coats, has crazy unkempt hair and is a wee bit too extroverted (and lacks the Coke bottle glasses) to a be a Weird Science type geek, but understands science and math in ways we never will. Need network stuff done? This is a so-called non-brainer.

Colin Hickey's stretches its fingers into everything that's happening in Missoula. Pick your poison and you'll find it in the calendar. It's an egalitarian run of information. If you're bored in Missoula, it's generally your fault; but, MissoulaEvents gives an edge to even the most jaded introvert. Aside from that, it puts the burden on you. Do you wonder why only 5 people showed up to your fundraiser or art show? Did you post an event? Together with their brother Brian (whom we've talked about on our Big Dipper post), Colin and Shane have helped keep Missoula and Total Fest glued together. In one way or another, they've helped fasten things. Cheers to you guys and thanks for all your support!!!

In case you've been snaking your way through caves or letting your hair grow too far over your face, Total Fest is less than 36 hours away. In that time, you could beeline across the country, but then you'd be stuck there and, most likely, only have blurry car-tourist photos of the Largest Ball of Twine or Carhenge. So what's an antsy person to do? Well, our friends Colin and Tom (Shahs) have offered up their services for a Total Karaoke Kick-off / Pre-Blast:

As if Total Fest weekend couldn't get any more consumed with summer fun and debauchery, we Karaoke hosts at the VFW want to up the ante a bit and deliver a THANK YOU to all the organizers and bands that are making this tenth festival happen. This Wednesday we'll be running Karaoke like normal but with one added incentive: all of the organizers and any Total Fest bands local or otherwise will get $2 wells all night long. Keep in mind that's in addition to some of the cheapest beer prices in town! If you're wondering, the VFW is located next door to Biga Pizza on Main Street and always open to the public. There's no cover and it's always free to sing. Colin and myself (Tom) will be hosting for y'all and making sure you folks are having a great kick off to one of wildest weekends Missoula will ever see!

So whether you fancy yourself as David Byrne or Rebecca Black, march those purty faces to the VFW tonight! Who knows, you may be blessed with a rousing Tom Jones song or two.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ear Candy's been a TF sponsor for something like err, 9 years now. I remember going into Ear Candy for the first time in 2000. They were located up the street, closer to Hellgate in a smaller spot, and I immediately knew that Missoula was changing for the better. Their hand-curated collection of metal, punk, garage, soul, psych, world, hip hop, electronic is beyond solid and employees knowledge of their stuff tends to run pretty deep. And the folks who work here aren't your typical antisocial, I-know-more-about-the-Pretty-Things-than-you-do types, John, Ira, Marty, Adelaide, Kalen are interesting, informed and happy to share what they know and talk to you about what you're stoked about.

Ear Candy's used bins tend to run ridiculously deep. They run especially deep in the obscure gem department, and offer a handful of listening stations. Luckily, they're located directly across the street from Big Dipper, stop in for a good solid look. There's even a Total Fest section.

Ear Candy's one of the special set of sponsors (along with Betty's and Boom Swagger) who helped get our Thursday night off to an immense start with Vaz, White Mystery and the Pharmacy. Jeesh. Thanks, Ear Candy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


One of the great things about the Missoula businesses that help support Total Fest is that many of them are owned and fronted by some of the same people who help craft the landscape of Missoula's music scene. Edge of the World is one of the handfuls of sponsors whose manager Chris Bacon is not only a fixture of Missoula's punk past and present (Volumen, Bacon & Egg) but also is on the front lines of Missoula and Montana's skateboarding / snowboarding culture. It's a hard gig to maintain, but Edge of the World and BOMB Sk8boards puts their best feet forward to provide a statewide support network for boarders, while also keeping them in some of the finest duds this side of the Mississippi. If you're in need of anything, you should consider stopping by EoW and having them help you equip yourself before saddling yourself into the recliner that has seen better days and perusing the internet for a quick fix.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Boom Swagger has only been around for a short while, but in this short while it has become the paramount of hair salons in town. You're going to come out of Boom Swagger looking fresh and feeling good enough to reenact the beginning of Saturday Night Fever, that's a fact. The thing that sets them apart is their major support for community events such a Total Fest. So we have compiled a top five list of why we love Boom Swagger.

In no particular order:

1. Refreshing beverage service while you wait
2. Vintage Betty and Veronica comics in the waiting area
3. A dish of all-red Tootie Pops at the register (because we all know those chocolate Tooties Pops are just plain bullshit)
4. The salon is named after a Murder City Devils song (which I’m assuming means Coady from Big Business gets free haircuts)
5. Super friendly, full of smiles, non pretentious, talented staff

Seriously, Boom Swagger is a fantastic business that really cares about their community and in the words of Wesley Willis, "take your ass to the barber shop and tell him you're sick of looking like an asshole". Just make sure it's Boom Swagger.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Whoaaaaah! Sunday's Total Feast. That officially means we're starting Total Fest week. So, let us be the uh, first to say: Happy Total! Wanna support Total Fest and eat dinner in the process? Gather together ten or so American dollars this Sunday, August 14th and bring it to Biga Pizza's Total Feast! What's on tap is pizza, salad, beer and good-times!

What's the deal with Biga Pizza? Man, you must be livin' under a rock. Under a creek. Under Rock friggin' creek or something. Isn't blogging a rich dialogue of one? Of rhetorical conversations? It is. Seriously: Biga Pizza is the canvas onto which food auteur and alchemist Bob Marshall's wildly creative mind gets to work. Look at what you got. Ask: what's fresh and available and delicious? and then figure out how to arrange it with other delicious things in a way that blows minds, and throw it on the special board. Cilantro pesto with pumpkin seeds? That was a special a couple weeks ago. The guys a wellspring of awesome, constantly changing ideas manifesting themselves in delicious, nutritious pizza. Come for Flathead cherry with Gouda. Stay for the Quattro Fromaggio. Here's Bob, he guitars for Bacon and Egg and drums for Volumen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Missoula's vibrant south-of-the-Clark Fork district, or so-called hip strip is chock-friggin' full of excellent, local, vibrant businesses. In fact, it's where the lion's share of Total Fest's business support comes from. At the very heart lies Betty's Divine. A clothing shop with excellent duds, threads, "ropa" or whatever the kids are calling clothes these days. Head into Betty's a frumpy Francine or a untubular Thomas, and leave a Smashing Suzie or Dapper Duane. It's just that simple. Betty's supports local designers and printers like mad, and are community leaders outside the mold! They're key in putting on community events like the Block Party, Urban Golf, sponsor Le Kickball, a kickball league. It doesn't stop with the retail at Betty's.
Betty's Divine is one of the small handful of businesses that is helping Total Fest kick off this year, and which is responsible for insane Total Fest Start Up Bands (yes, it's capital letter worthy) like Vaz, White Mystery, the Pharmacy and the Pygmy Shrews, all of whom play on Thursday, August 18th at the Top Hat this year with local heroes Bad Naked and Mordecai. Jeezum crow. Here's a quick interview with Aimee, Betty's owner:

Friday, August 5, 2011


In case you haven't noticed, Total Fest is officially less than two weeks away. We've said it a few dozen times -- we're really excited about this year. Ten years is a big deal. Did you see this coming? We didn't. A lot of people have helped make this possible. Some of the best people have stepped-up and offered their time, energy, knowledge, passion and friendship to keep this ball rolling. Independent and underground music require feet and ears on the ground. Music isn't the only art form that needs such things, but it is, perhaps, the one that requires more of the right amount of things to come together for it to be enjoyable and successful. It's summer for crying out loud -- we want enjoyment, and we want to move slower. In addition to the cast of wonderful and dedicated (some may say obsessed) people who have helped with the nuts and bolts that keep Total Fest hanging together, we've had a solid group of local sponsors who flat out kick ass. Because of them, we are able to keep this an all-ages event, to stay local and independent, to feed bands, and to continue to grow on our own terms. We'd be total slackers if we didn't publicly acknowledge their collective and individual support as well:

Kettlehouse has been sponsoring Total Fest for years in some form or other. We all love them, and their donations have helped make the band / volunteer BBQs a reality. It's a daunting, yet rewarding, task to feed 150 or so people, but thanks to sponsors like Kettlehouse we're able to pull it off. It's a win-win situation for all of us. Both locations resurrect the neighborhood bar feel while providing the standing-around-the-campfire sensation. And ....well, there is .... the beer. Double Haul, Bong Water (Olde and Fresh), Eddy Out, Brick & Mortar, Ginseng Pale, ImperiAl Pilsner, Cold Smoke, etc. Mouthwatering, therapeutic goodness. We're more than thankful. So .... get down to Myrtle or N. 1st, be sure to say hello. Look for them at the beer cooler when you're heading to the river (tall boy cans and better beer. plus, it's easier to keep 4 beers cold than it is to keep 6 cold). Watch this.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

There's a little tattoo shop in Missoula, on the Front Street (in Missoula), nearly where it crosses Orange, behind Biga Pizza and the VFW. It's called American Made Tattoo and it's where all of Filthy Jim's ink (or most of it, I think) comes from, and Lou's, and Niki's too. They do awesome work. High quality. American Made's been a sponsor for a lot of years, and we appreciate 'em. Thinking about getting a Grateful Dead bear on your calf, or a Steel Your Face on your lower back? Howbout a Steely Dan tat on your forearm? Here's your place. Thanks, Phil and American Made!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Total Fest happens for a lot of reasons, and among the biggest are the handful of Missoula businesses that support the thing with cold-hard cash and all sorts of in-kind donations: first up in this list is Big Dipper Ice Cream.

Big Dipper's owned by (old Missoula punk bands (the Banned and Vi Thompson Overdrive) singer/guitar player) Charlie Beaton and managed by Brian Hickey (Volumen, Bacon and Egg). They makes all their delicious ice cream and sorbet themselves, and are sort of a mega-fixture of Missoula life. Who doesn't freakin' feel a little better after a cone of White Mint Oreo or El Salvador Coffee?

As you likely know by now, Big Dipper is home to the Total Fest Record Swap, which happens Saturday, August 20th at noon and which features Sam Humans and the Light, Tyson Ballew and Le Sang Song this year. Bring your old, weird, good records and swap or sell them!