The first announcement for KettleHouse Amphitheater's 2019 season rolled out Tuesday.
On Sunday, June 2, you can catch Joe Russo's Almost Dead, a group of virtuoso players paying tribute to the Grateful Dead.
Drummer Russo's band includes guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton, keyboardist Marco Benevento, and bassist Dave Dreiwitz, with multiple members sharing vocal duties. The New York Times described their chops-heavy interpretation of the band's catalog as "the Dead on a gleeful amphetamine drip." Originally a side project, the Almost Dead have grown a large enough following to play the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.
There's a presale online only from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, via logjampresents.com. General ticket sales start at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at that website, the Top Hat box office or 877-987-6487. Tickets are $39.50 to $44.50.
Logjam Presents, the owner of the Wilma and the Top Hat, built the 4,500-capacity venue on the former Stimson mill site along the Blackfoot River in Bonner. The scenic location, sound quality and design were aimed at drawing big artists to western Montana.
It opened in July 2017, which made this past summer its first full season, running from the end of May through late September with a total of 19 concerts, including the Flaming Lips, Bon Iver, the Pixies, Blondie, Alice Cooper, Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow and more. In one of the busiest summer music seasons in Missoula that anyone can recall, the amphitheater accounted for more than half of the 32 ticketed concerts in venues of 4,500 and above, including Big Sky Brewing Company Amphitheater, the Adams Center, Ogren Park at Allegiance Field and Pearl Jam's concert at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
The audience turnout landed KettleHouse Amphitheater on industry magazine Pollstar's listings, ranking No. 45 out of the top 50 amphitheaters worldwide based on ticket sales in the third quarter of the year. On a list of the top 100 clubs, The Wilma (1,500 capacity) was ranked No. 63 and the Top Hat (600 capacity) came in at No. 99. Logjam Presents itself was ranked No. 83 of the top 100 promoters.
Next summer, Logjam will host concerts at another large outdoor venue: Ogren Park. The company signed an exclusive contract with the City of Missoula to book shows there with an eye toward increasing the number of concerts each season. The ballpark's capacity can be raised from 8,000 to 10,000 after some modifications, which could lure even bigger bands.
The company is also planning to move into Bozeman with a new 1,500-capacity venue, designed and built from scratch rather than a renovation like the Top Hat and the Wilma. It's projected to open next fall. Owner Nick Checota has said that having venues in two western Montana cities will provide an extra incentive for acts to route their tours through the state.