The 2010 lineup at the Schwab so far includes Merle Haggard and the Steve Miller Band. Sounds like a pretty good time to me. But I want to have an awesome time at a concert this summer. And I think a show by the reunited kings of indie rock is the shortest path to an awesome time. That’s the short version. Please read the long version in my Feedback column in GO! Magazine today.
If you think Pavement in Bend sounds pretty sweet, please take a minute to leave a comment on this blog post. Tell the world just how much you’d love to see ’em. Tell Monqui you’d buy tickets, and you’d get friends to buy tickets (if you would … no lying, please). Give the folks behind the concerts to Les Schwab Amphitheater a reason to bring Pavement to Bend!
Suzanne Vega plays at the Tower Theatre on Sunday. I talked to her about her new “Close-Up” project, in which she’s re-recording dozens of her songs. Here’s an excerpt:
Re-recording the songs acoustically was in part an economic decision. But Vega also liked the idea of reinventing them.
“I had no interest in doing a cover version of ‘Luka.’ It was like, ‘No. No thank you,’” she said. “Nor did I want to do a sort of Suzanne Vega-lite version. So I thought, ‘Let’s just do stark recordings of the absolute minimum.’”
Vega’s an interesting subject. You should read the whole thing here.
In Feedback, I launch my campaign to get reunited indie-rock kings Pavement to the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend.
Of course there are people out there who are stoked to hear the Steve Miller Band is coming to Bend. But those people aren’t in my Internet-o-sphere. In there, the team behind the Schwab needs a pick-me-up. They need a booking that’ll get the Twitterati buzzing. They need to reel in a big, cred-building life raft with plenty of room for those who’ve felt neglected for the past year and a half.
They need Pavement.
It’s unlikely, I’m sure. But I’m compelled to put the idea out there and see if we can’t get a snowball rolling on this thing. I’ve had a few dozen people tell me, both personally and via cyber-waves, that they’d love, love, love to see Pavement in Bend. So let’s put our signatures where our mouths are: I’m going to set up a blog post on Frequency like a petition to get Pavement in our town, and all you have to do is go there and leave a comment showing your support for the idea. Better yet, pledge to buy tickets.
If you pass it around to your friends — friends in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Eugene, Portland, Boise, and so on — and get them to sign it, who knows what might happen?
Finally, local boys A.M. Interstate have completed their new album “Love Your Sniper.” They’ll play much of it Saturday night at Silver Moon. Here’s a bit about it:
Although it’s not out yet, the brothers are shopping the album around to record labels, looking for a deal. But a quick trip through an advance copy finds the Ericksons moving further from the cosmic Americana sound of their past work and more toward a psych-roots-rawk feel, like The Beatles jamming with Neil Young in a dive bar where the jukebox plays My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” on repeat, eternally. (That would be a sweet bar.)
“Sniper” has a sense of momentum that the meandering “Kimono Dragon” sometimes lacked; two listens in, it sounds like the best work of the band’s catalog so far.
Also in the music section this week: Baltimore roots-rock band The Bridge, Floater frontman Rob Wynia plays a solo show, and Blackstrap, Trina Hamlin, Tony Smiley and a bunch of locals playing a benefit for CASA. And, as always, you can find more in our complete music calendar.
Just in from the Old Mill District’s Twitter: South Carolina indie-roots-rockers Band of Horses will play May 30 at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend. Also, they’ll bring along a “special guest” to be revealed next week.
This is terrific news. In tomorrow’s GO! Magazine, I’ll have a column lamenting the lack of great rock bands at the Schwab over the past 18 months. This announcement is a big step in the right direction toward solving that problem, not to mention a hopeful sign for Memorial Day weekend. Band of Horses has two excellent albums under its belt (including my co-fave of 2007), not the mention the best song I know that contains only 14 words:
This show was announced too late to get much play in last week’s GO! Magazine, but it oughta be a wicked good time. Longtime local DJ Moksha will open (and close) the night with some of the “weirdest, heaviest, least accessible” records in his crate, and Warm Gadget will provide the meat in this electro-thrash sandwich with its raunchy, digital stoner metal. Follow the details below for maximum fun.
I was goofing off on the Internet recently and ran across this high-quality, multi-camera video of Eric Tollefson and band playing “Battle For the Sea” at the Domino Room last September, when they opened for G. Love & Special Sauce. (Review here.) Check it out if you’re a Tollefson fan, or you’re unfamiliar with him but curious, or you’re just bored.
Locally, Tollefson and his band — the newly christened World’s Greatest Lovers — will play at McMenamins Old St. Francis School a week from tonight before heading back down to Los Angeles for another gig at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go on March 6.
I used to think the big music bookings at the Deschutes County fair existed in a funny little bubble, unaffected by the kinds of acts that are popular at other venues. But given the two Les Schwab Amphitheater headliners we know about for 2010 — Merle Haggard and the Steve Miller Band — perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the fair, with its focus on aging classic rockers and not-quite top-tier country acts, has its finger on the pulse of what Central Oregonians want.Perhaps the fair was ahead of its time.
Anyway, buckle up, because here are the big names playing the 2010 Deschutes County fair:
All shows start at 7 p.m. and are free with a ticket, which you can get by listening to 99.7 FM (for McCoy/Diffie) and 98.3 FM (for Styx/Yankovic). (You also have to pay for admission to the fair.) More info here.
An aside: One of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve had in this job was attending the Alice Cooper show at the fair in 2008. (Here’s my review.) The fairgrounds’ event center was rowdy, raucous and packed to the gills with more than 10,000 people cheering wildly every time Alice “choked” a woman or “stabbed” a baby, all fake and in good fun, of course. 10,000 people. That’s more than have ever attended a show at Les Schwab Amphitheater. Ever.
If you’re not on Twitter, you might’ve missed it, but the Space Cowboy himself will roll into the Schwab on July 16, per the Old Mill District:
For the record, I called this one … granted, I was two years off, but whatever. I stand by what I said in that article: If I got to book shows in Bend, the Steve Miller Band wouldn’t be my first choice, but I can think of worse ways to spend a lazy July evening than lounging on the grass listening to “The Joker,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Take the Money and Run,” and this, my favorite Miller tune which, I just realized, sounds a lot like late-2000s Wilco:
Last Friday, after watching The Gourds warm up Bend WinterFest, I hightailed it over to Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom in Bend to catch Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Danny Malone, whose work I’ve grown to really enjoy ever since his new album, “Cuddlebug,” showed up on my desk a couple weeks back.
I arrived at the Moon around 10 p.m. and stepped into one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve seen at a live-music gig. The stage was empty, and so was the bar; Malone was playing, unamplified, while sitting on a barstool over by the bathrooms. There were, if I remember correctly, 15 people there besides the performer, but that includes the soundman, the door(wo)man, two bartenders, Malone’s traveling buddy and me. So there were nine people in the Moon who weren’t working, and only four of those nine were paying any attention whatsoever to the music.
In fact, three of those nine chatted — very loudly — at the bar, until Malone stopped halfway through a song and began shouting at them: “Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me! I’m trying to play here, can you keep it down? Excuse me?” The three finally noticed and piped down, but their volume slowly rose again.
(The gabby patrons vs. the quiet performer is never a good look. You can argue that the patrons should shut up or leave, and you can argue that they have a right to chat and the musician should be a pro and ignore it. Both are fair arguments. Ultimately, I’m going to side with the musician. I don’t know why these people paid $5 each to sit in a bar and talk and laugh louder than the guy in the corner could play and sing. It was really annoying. Alas, that’s how it goes sometimes.)
Despite the noise, Malone played a cover of Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” and a song I didn’t recognize, but his manager says is an unreleased tune called “Ghost.” It’s really pretty. Check it out:
After “Ghost,” a few people left the Moon, leaving about a dozen onlookers as Malone stood and announced that he had only two songs left, and he was “gonna play to this whole f–kin’ bar.” At that, he climbed up onto the bar and did a fine rendition of “Needle In My Eye,” complete with slick little dance steps that carried him fluidly back and forth across the bar top. Here, see it for yourself:
After “Needle,” one of the gabbers tried to tell him not to feel bad about the small crowd, because WinterFest was happening across town. I can’t remember Malone’s response exactly, but to paraphrase, he said, “Do I look like I care? I’m singing and dancing on top of a bar!” He then finished with his “hit,” a simple, beautiful song called “Baby Bleu,” and then climbed down from the bar to the sound of about 12 hands clapping. He was ready, I’m sure, to head to the other side of the mountains in search of more fruitful fields to plow.
You won’t find this in today’s GO! Magazine, because … well, I blew it. Plus, I didn’t know all the details. But whatever, this looks like a super-fun time: Local DJs, bPollen and Calicoleaf will provide some “soothing digital and analog soundwave massage” fer yer gray matter at 7 p.m. tonight at Top Leaf Mate Bar, which is located at 869 N.W. Tin Pan Alley, just off Minnesota Avenue between Thump Coffee and The Wine Shop / PoetHouse Art.
For a $3 suggested donation, you get a heaping helping of chilled out, eclectic beats mixed with globally inspired samples and sounds that should make for an excellent evening of slow-motion head-bobbing. You can hear some of Calicoleaf’s work right here. He says “Deep Radio,” “Cloud Keeper,” “In The Gardens” and “Spheres of Kannos” will give you a good taste of what he’s been up to recently.
New York City ska pioneers The Toasters will play twice at Mountain’s Edge this weekend, once on Friday and once Saturday. Here’s a clip of my conversation with founding member and frontman Robert “Bucket” Hingley:
GO!: I read somewhere about your efforts to run The Toasters according to a set of core principles. Can you tell me about those principles?
Bucket: What we’ve tried to do is always keep in touch with the fans and (not decline to) play shows because the venue wasn’t big enough or we didn’t have a nice hotel, or that kind of stuff. We still run it like a punk-rock band in that sense.
Otherwise, it’s about sticking to your own music and not trying to follow trends, and not writing tunes to sound like something because the record label wants you to do that. I think just sticking to playing 2 Tone ska music, which hasn’t always been popular, I think that’s what’s helped us stick around for a long time, because people appreciate that.
I saw The Gourds for the first time in 12 years last weekend and loved it. Here’s part of my review:
Russell introduced “Hallelujah Shine” with a stark verse of “Amazing Grace,” only to giggle halfway through while watching snowriders racing down the giant rail-jam structure standing tall behind the audience. Smith tore through one of his best songs, “LGO,” singing past his ever-present toothpick as Bernard played the song’s serpentine accordion riff.
Then Russell shifted from “Country Gal” into Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” tossing in a Joe Cocker impression just for fun. Or maybe to stay warm, because the band looked cold, especially Johnston. Even a few reminders of home — a colorful zarape in the kick drum, cases of Tecate beer just offstage — couldn’t make Central Oregon feel like Central Texas.
You can read the whole thing here. The video above was shot by stephsmomfr. Frequency has video of the show here and a bunch of great photos here.
Elsewhere in the music section: Greg Botsford’s CD-release show, Moonalice returns to Bend and Jukebot plays Silver Moon, plus The Confederats, Blowin’ Smoke, Eric Tollefson and Shireen Amini, Tentareign and The Sofa Kings, The Sweet Harlots, Hot Tea Cold and Empty Wotta. And, as always, complete music listings are here.