Sword swallowers. Fire eaters. Burlesque performers. Stage magic. Hobo poetry. It’s vaudeville meets rock ’n’ roll. It’s the Yard Dogs Road Show.
And it’s hard to believe it’s been three years since the Dogs — a dozen members strong, and based out of California’s Bay Area — brought their rolling creative wonderland to Bend. It has, though, and the group remains committed, according to its bio, to leading “the modern hobohemian on a visual and sonic journey through part of history that may or may not have existed — followed by an ambitious return to the emotional challenges of our punch-drunk contemporary world.”
The Dogs place a heavy emphasis on blending facets of the old world with modern pop culture in a way that, at least for a couple hours, will provide a welcome respite from your real life.
In case you can’t read the poster below, the show starts at 9 p.m., doors open at 8, and it’s $20 in advance (outlets here) and $25 at the door.
For a variety of reasons — from real-life responsibilities to a dead camera battery to general fatigue — I cut my Bend Roots Revival experience a bit short on the event’s final day.
So apologies to Eric Tollefson, Blues Quarter, The Dirty Words, The River Pigs, Moon Mountain Ramblers, Kim Kelley and the other acts I missed. I’ll catch you all soon enough. Apologies also to Lisa Lepine, the Portland-based marketing consultant who did a workshop on the music business inside Parrilla on Sunday afternoon. When the schedule came out, I thought that was one of its more interesting listings. But I just couldn’t make it down there.
Did any of you musician types go hear Lepine talk? How was it? Learn anything helpful?
I prefer to think of my Bend Roots Sunday not as shortened, but as a high-quality coda to a wonderful weekend. I saw only three bands, but all were quite good.
You know about “American Idol” and its success stories: Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood.
But “Nashville Star” alum Miranda Lambert might just be the best of the bunch. (And I love both Clarkson and Underwood. Daughtry? Meh.)
Lambert, a 25-year-old Texan, was a finalist on the first season of “Star,” which is basically a country version of “Idol.” I haven’t heard her debut album, “Kerosene,” though it received solid reviews. But her sophomore album, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” was one of my favorite records of 2007.
I don’t connect with a lot of mainstream country music, but boy did I connect with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It’s rootin’ and tootin’ and tough-talkin’ in spots, tender and vulnerable in others, and 100-percent engaging all the way through. Whether they’re upbeat or somber, the songs crackle with the same life and energy that the Nashville machine strips out of so much of its product.
You can hear four songs from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” at Lambert’s MySpace. If you only have time to check out one, let me suggest that you find more time; they’re all great. (Psst: “Famous In A Small Town” and “Desperation”.)
Anyway, Lambert’s third album, “Revolution,” is due out tomorrow. The first single is called “Dead Flowers,” and it’s more of the same — vivid lyrics about a busted relationship delivered through big melodies — from Lambert. Here’s the video:
And here is a little promotional video Lambert made for the new album, which I’m mainly posting because it shows her singing “Time To Get A Gun,” a song written by Fred Eaglesmith, who played it and a whole bunch of other tunes at an excellent house concert in Sisters in May.
Again, Miranda Lambert’s “Revolution” comes out tomorrow. Unless you’re one of those folks who answer “What kind of music do you listen to?” with “Pretty much everything … except for country,” you should consider picking it up.
“We’re The JZ Band,” said David Z after his band’s first song at the Bend Roots Revival, “and it’s daylight.”
It was daylight. That’s one of the funny things about an outdoor, all-day music festival; bands that are used to playing in dark, cramped, stale-air bars are suddenly exposed to the sun, the wide open sky and fresh air.
In Bend, it’s a nice place to be. It could’ve been chilly this weekend — it’s late September in the High Desert, after all — but instead the weather has been absolutely perfect for this arsty cornucopia.
Suddenly, it seems, the Bend Roots Revival is one of the biggest and best parties in Bend.
If you were paying attention, you could see this coming. In my post-Roots Feedback column last year, I wrote: “I think this thing is on a fast track to becoming one of Bend’s coolest cultural events. The atmosphere was electric on Friday night, especially once the sun went down. And that was on the first night of the festival — people were just getting warmed up.”
Well, take that feeling and multiply it by, say, three or five, and you have a sense for what the first night of the 2009 Bend Roots Revival was like.
Technical difficulties kept me from getting this up on the blog yesterday, but here it is now, for posterity: Providence, R.I.’s Deer Tick performing “Song About A Man” Wednesday night at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. I have a couple of louder songs I could post, but they don’t sound great. If you want to see them, let me know in the comments. Also, see my thoughts on the show below the video.
Five observations about the show:
1) I’m so used to using silly little descriptors — psych, electro, global, soulful, whatever — that when presented with the opportunity to write about just a good, solid rock ‘n’ roll band, I’m stumped. That’s not good!
2) Deer Tick is a good, solid rock ‘n’ roll band. I watched frontman John McCauley before the show, and something was wrong; he was clearly annoyed about this or that. But once the lights went down and the amps buzzed, he delivered. He wasn’t particularly charismatic (“This is cool,” he said after the first song. “Half dinner crowd, half maniacs.”), but he led his band through lots of his own songs, plus covers of The Replacements, Chuck Berry, Hank Williams Sr., and Tom Petty, plus others, I’m sure, that I didn’t recognize.
3) Take Tom Petty out of that group and add in Kurt Cobain (I heard they did a Nirvana cover after I left), and you have a pretty distinct focus on musicians with a strong tendency toward self-destruction. When McCauley screams, he looks a sounds a lot like Cobain, right down to the crooked mouth.
4) Not all of Deer Tick’s songs grab me, but those that do are great. “Easy” rocks with an apocalyptic sense of urgency. “Smith Hill” is an elegy with an unforgettable chorus. And my favorite tune of the night was “These Old Shoes,” a playful song about plane crashes and explosions and hobos. (I wish I could’ve heard “City of Sin,” but after the band’s short foray into “Free Bird” and an interminable blues jam, I had to bail during the second intermission.)
5) For the second time in a month, I saw a Central Oregon venue as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. Father Luke’s Room was absolutely packed with people jammed against one another and, by the time I left, practically on top of one another. It was so thick with people, only the bravest tried to weave through it. It was crazy. Crazy. Could the show have been moved into the much larger movie theater next door? I have no idea, but I hope it was at least considered, and I hope the next time a band with this kind of buzz shows up to play, the McMenamins team is able to give them — and the people there to see them — a little more space.
I mentioned this in today’s round-up of this week’s music, but it’s worth pulling out. Longtime local-fave DJ Bryan Barisone is moving to Portland for a variety of reasons, including to further pursue his music career. A former resident DJ at The Grove and a founding member of Person People, Barisone will leave some big turntables to fill.
The guy was also nice enough to allow me to offer Frequency readers a free download of one of his recent mixes. It’s called “Soul’s Your Face,” and it’s 62 minutes of non-stop, mellow soul-hop. You really should grab it. I’ve been working for the past hour with it playing in the background, and it’s perfect for that, or for cruising around town looking for the party, or for late-night chillin’, or pretty much for whatever. Here you go:
(Update: In the comments, Jill points out that I failed to mention KPOV’s involvement in the Bend Roots Revival. That was an oversight on my part, so I’ve updated this post, below.)
I’m telling you what, folks, this is shaping up to be one of those weekends. You know the kind: Warm weather. Central Oregon sunshine. Comfortable evenings. Cold beverages. Lots to do. Lots of music to hear. I was downtown last night (Thursday) and you could already feel it in the air. People were out and about, for sure.
Bend is ready for one last summer blast, and here’s your soundtrack:
Overlooked in the article is the fact that Bend Roots is a project of Bend’s community radio station, KPOV. The station will be broadcasting live from the event throughout the weekend, so if you can’t make it down to the festival, tune in at 106.7 FM or to the online stream at www.kpov.org.
-Bummer news: Top-flight local DJ Bryan Barisone is moving to Portland after 16 years in our fair burg. His contributions to the local music/party scene will be missed. Tonight, one of his regular spots — Bendistillery Martini Bar — is throwing him a Bon Voyage party. (You can prep for that party by downloading a soulful, 62-minute mix by the man himself. Check back here a little later this morning and I’ll have a link up for it.)
-Bend gets plenty of hip-hop shows, but not all are actually good. This one is: Portland indie-rap dude Josh Martinez is returning, this time to the Domino Room. Mosley Wotta and Mindscape of Person People will open.
-The rock ‘n’ roll vaudeville act Yard Dogs Road Show is back in town. One Wednesday, they’ll turn the Domino Room into a murky carnival of oddities.
-The Clumsy Lovers‘ Celtic-influenced pop-grass sounds pretty much like a perfect fit for Silver Moon Brewing. Good thing that’s where they’re playing Thursday night!
-The hard-touring reagge band Pepper will roll into the Domino Room on Thursday.
As usual, some of those links may not work if you’re not a subscriber to The Bulletin. If you’d like to see them all, you’ll need to subscribe to the site or pick up a print version of GO! Magazine, which has what I think is its coolest cover in my 3-1/2 years on this job. The design for the Bend Roots story is also worth seeing.
Here’s your friendly reminder that Finn Riggins is kicking off their fall tour tonight at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom at 24 N.W. Greenwood Ave., in Bend, with the Portland band Church opening. Start time: 8 p.m.(ish). Cover: $5. Download a song from the new Finn Riggins album “Vs Wilderness” by clicking here, and here’s the band playing another new tune last week in Portland:
Also tonight! Three of Bend’s best and best-known hip-hop acts are doing a free show at Boondock’s Bar & Grill, 70 N.W. Newport Ave., in Bend. Top Shelf, Mosley Wotta, and Cloaked Characters will be there, as will DJ Hit-n-Runn. Click to watch Mosley Wotta’s nifty video for “Boom For Real,” or stay right here and watch the Cloaked Characters’ clip for “Lost Package.”
Also tonight! The Bend Roots Revival officially kicks off. We’ll have full coverage of the weekend’s events in tomorrow’s GO! Magazine, but tonight, there’s a meet-and-greet and open mic at Parrilla Grill at 6 p.m., followed by some Grateful Dead cover action from Back From the Dead (5:30-7 p.m.) and Rising Tide (7-9 p.m.) over at the Victorian Cafe.
Also tonight! Heavy, heavy, heavy metal of the local variety at Ye Olde Underground … ahem … The Underground, which is at 2221 N.E. Third St., in Bend. We’re talking Wache The Dead, Almost Is Nothing, Booze Devil and Dusk’s Embrace. The brutality will begin at 8 p.m., and $5 gets you in. I’m too lazy to copy in all the MySpace sites for these bands, but they’re listed on the flyer, so here’s that:
Also tonight! Necktie Killers at The Summit, ’80s night at Players, Rough String Band at Northside, The Quons at 28, and much more. Find it all on the events calendar at The Bulletin’s Web site.