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The 7: Shows in 2017 worth checking out

December 29, 2016 GMT

It’s not 2017 yet, but we’re already looking ahead and circling the dates on our local music calendars. There have already been a number of high profile shows announced through the spring – the Bartlett and the Arena in particular have impressive lineups – and here are seven of the concerts we’re most looking forward to in the first half of the new year.

Feb. 18 – Experience Hendrix at Northern Quest. Jimi Hendrix had a nearly incalculable influence on the artistry of the electric guitar, and the Experience Hendrix tour brings together an eclectic group of renowned guitarists – Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, Keb’ Mo’ and more – to pay tribute to the legendary musician. The show’s lineup also features bassist Billy Cox, who performed with Hendrix in the 1960s. Tickets run from $79 to $99 at www.northernquest.com.

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March 4 – Tacocat at the Bartlett. These palindromic rockers from Seattle have lately been catching the attention of music critics, offering punchy tunes with such subjects as “The X-Files,” retail work, mansplaining, menstruation and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. They’re as poppy as they are punky. Tickets are $10 at www.ticketfly.com.

March 5 – The Brothers Comatose at the Bartlett. Even though they’re based out of San Francisco, the Brothers Comatose craft twangy, rootsy bluegrass that sounds like it’s straight out of the deep South. The quintet is touring behind its most recent album, “City Painted Gold,” and although it hasn’t blown up in the mainstream yet, it’s cultivating quite a cult following. Tickets are $12 through Ticketfly.

March 6 – Elton John at the Spokane Arena. Sir Elton has been a frequent visitor to the Inland Northwest in recent years, most recently playing the Arena in September 2014. If you’ve not seen him live and consider yourself a fan of pop music, by all means, go. Elton John puts on a energetic show chock full of hit songs. Tickets start at $49 and are available through TicketsWest.

March 16 – Journey at the Spokane Arena. About three weeks before Journey is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band will play at the Arena. Touring with longtime singer Arnel Pineda, Journey is sure to perform such massively popular hits as “Faithfully,” “Anyway You Want It,” “Only the Young” – featured on the soundtrack of the made-and-set-in-Spokane film “Vision Quest” – “Open Arms” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” Tickets range from $29.50 to $95 through TicketsWest.

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March 20 – Meat Puppets at the Bartlett. The last time these alt-rock legends performed in Spokane, it was at the Hop in late 2013. That venue has since closed, so this time the Meat Puppets will hit the stage at the Bartlett, which was still in the process of opening when the band last rolled through town. Founded by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood, the Meat Puppets’ music falls somewhere between punk and folk, and Kurt Cobain was such a fan that he covered three of their songs on Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged” special. Tickets are $17 through Ticketfly.

Country at the Arena – Blake Shelton (Feb. 24), Eric Church (March 17), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill (May 18). The Spokane Arena has long done an excellent job of bringing big-name country acts to town. The coming year looks to be no exception, with four huge performers booked for three shows. It kicks off with Shelton, also a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” who’s heading out on the road in support of his latest, “If I’m Honest.” Eric Church begins a 60-city tour in January that will feature the singer and his band performing two full sets each night, with an intermission. Finally, one of country’s most beloved couples, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, are returning to the road for their first tour as a duo since 2007. Tickets for all three shows are on sale through TicketsWest.