Very, very solid show last night by Band of Horses. I have one complaint, but it’s relatively minor and I’ll save it (as well as my thoughts on She & Him) for my review in Friday’s GO! Magazine. For now, let’s look at some pretty pictures by The Bulletin’s Ryan Brennecke, who was a busy man this weekend. Be sure to click below to see the photos of She & Him and Dawes.
I couldn’t make it to Les Schwab Amphitheater last night to watch the Goo Goo Dolls kick off the 2010 Bend Summer Concerts series. Parenthood called. But Bulletin photographer Ryan Brennecke was there, and he came back with some terrific photos of the band and what appears to be a quite bundled-up crowd. Be sure to click below to see the whole bunch.
Fairly ginormous week of music in Central Oregon, isn’t it? This is awesome! Let’s jump in …
(I am currently obsessed with this song.)
Band-on-the-verge Band of Horses plays at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend on Sunday. I chatted with head Horse Ben Bridwell — one of the nicest musicians I’ve interviewed, I might add — about how he’s feeling as he stares down fame.
“But with me it’s never really been about some grand ambition to be the biggest band in the world. I guess, if anything, it makes me happy when we can make more people happy,” he said. “But people say, ‘You guys are going to be the next Kings of Leon’ or whatever, and that terrifies me more than anything.”
Terrifies? Bridwell elaborates: “I came into this game so late; I didn’t start playing guitar and singing until my late 20s. It’s never been that comfortable of a position for me. So I feel like I can barely keep up as it is (with) trying to curb the anxiety of performing and stuff like that. It scares me to think that we would be in the position of Pearl Jam, where you have an arena of people that you have to (impress). It seems like a lot of responsibility, right?”
I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here. Also, Band of Horses is co-headlining Sunday’s show with retro-pop duo She & Him, aka Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. My colleague David Holley interviewed Ward, and you can read that here.
’90s alt-rock holdover the Goo Goo Dolls will kick off the 2010 Bend Summer Concerts series tonight. Another colleague, Adrianne Jeffries, spoke with bassist Robby Takac about being in a band for nearly a quarter-century.
We have fans from 6 to 60 coming to the shows, which is pretty interesting to me to watch, seeing the sort of generation gaps being broken … People with kids come to the show and they’re like, “Hey man, we’ve been playing your band for our kids since they were infants!” Since they were infants? For God’s sake, the kid’s got a beard!
Need more laughter in your life? Maybe you need to see Trainwreck — featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D — at Mountain’s Edge Bar in Bend tonight. Yet another colleague, David Jasper, shot the bull with Gass a couple of weeks ago.
Along with Gass, whose wigged alter-ego in the group is Klip Calhoun, Trainwreck also contains “biker-hayseed” Darryl Donald, also known as “Lee,” Jason Reed or JR.
“Klip is the gentle, maternal matriarch of the group; he nurtures the boys,” Gass explain ed while strumming his guitar in the background. “As contrasted to JR, who plays Darryl Donald, who’s kind of the fiery, quick-tempered, lead-singer type. So we’re kind of the mom and dad, and then the boys, as we call them, they all bow to our will.”
The “boys” are most of Tenacious D’s live and studio band: Shredman, Boy Johnny and Dallas St. Bernard.
“I’ve arranged it so I do little or no work out there,” Gass claim ed. “I don’t even pick up my own guitar. I assign everyone else, just because I pay, and whoever has the gold makes the rules.”
Also in this week’s music section: Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun kick off the summer concert series in the old ghost town of Richmond, three Oregon-based hot jazz bands play the Hep Cat’s Ball at the Tower Theatre, an update on Last Band Standing, and Silver Moon Brewing has a big week of shows, including The River Pigs, Dela Project, Baki and Clumsy Lovers.
So … that’s the rundown. Weather’s getting warm, music’s everywhere. Leave me a comment and tell me what show you’re most excited about!
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are She & Him. Photo by Sam Jones.
On Sunday evening, indie-pop-rockers She & Him — otherwise known as actress Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward — will co-headline Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater with Band of Horses. (Grab today’s GO! Magazine to read a feature story on Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell. Or click here.)
She & Him released their sophomore album, “Volume Two,” on March 23 through Merge Records. Although Ward is a talented singer and songwriter in his own right, She & Him is more about showcasing Deschanel’s talent — other than acting, in this case. She wrote the lyrics and music for “Volume Two,” while Ward produced the record. Via e-mail, Bulletin reporter David Holley asked Ward a few questions about the album and Sunday’s show.
(Note: This is kind of long, so please be sure to click below to see the whole thing, including three videos from the show of Horse Feathers performing and one of the Sweet Harlots.)
I don’t know whether PDXchange Program organizer Henry Abel considers his inaugural show — Portland-based quartet Horse Feathers, Tuesday night at the Tower Theatre — to be a success or not. I know he was, understandably, concerned about ticket sales, and to me, it looked like the Tower was pretty full on the floor, but pretty empty in the balcony. I don’t know how that pencils out.
But I can tell you this: From the show-goer’s perspective, PDXchange’s first night was a smashing success. From top to bottom, everything ran smoothly, looked good, and sounded amazing. Horse Feathers, in particular, put on a stunning performance that I only wish had been a few songs longer.
When is attending a concert more than just attending a concert? When attending said concert may lead to other concerts by bigger and better bands down the road. That’s the situation Bend finds itself in tomorrow night with Horse Feathers at the Tower Theatre.
Don’t get me wrong, seeing Horse Feathers is reason enough to buy tickets to this show. They’re a great band, and you should want to see them perform. But they’re also the first installment of the new PDXchange Program, a concert series that organizer Henry Abel hopes will bring Portland-based indie-rock bands to the Tower for a long time.
Whether he’ll get his wish remains to be seen. A lot will depend on the success of his first two shows: Horse Feathers on Tuesday night, and The Helio Sequence, who’ll play the Tower on June 3.
Really, though, the Horse Feathers show — and more specifically, how many people show up to the Horse Feathers show — matters. Abel told me recently that other Portland bands are watching this particular date to see how Bend responds to having a Portland band with relatively limited name recognition playing at the Tower. I cannot tell you who these bands are, but believe me: You are much more likely to have heard of them than Horse Feathers. People in New York and Florida and California and everywhere in between are much more likely to have heard of them than Horse Feathers.
Now, there’s no guarantee that these mysterious bands will sign on to play PDXchange if Tuesday’s show is a success, with most of the Tower’s seats filled. But doing so will look a heck of a lot more attractive if that’s the case.
So there you go. I can only do so much. Abel can only do so much. Whether those seats are filled is up to you.
Enough of my rant. Time for you to study up. Hear Horse Feathers here. Read my feature on the band here. And below, read an interview with Abel about the roots of PDXchange and his hopes for its future.
Portland’s Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside played to a pretty full house Wednesday night at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend. Things were kind of slow-going at first; there were lots of folks seated at tables, with the standing crowd behind them, afraid to move up and block their view. After a few songs, though, a couple of energetic gals and wobbly, long-haired dudes broke through and boogied in a small pocket at the side of the stage. Ford — still new enough to fronting a band that plenty of awkwardness shines through — was obviously amused by this. So before she launched into “Danger” she made sure to point out that the song is “good for dancing.” And it is.
This, of course, was all the license folks needed to pour into the space in front of the stage and dance, dance, dance. In this day and age, Ford’s sound is unique, a blend of vintage jazz and soul, modern rock ‘n’ roll and Ford’s powerful, Neko Case-meets-Joanna Newsom voice. (Special shout-out to guitarist Jeffrey Munger, whose playing is a tastefully perfect fit for the songs. The guy has a way with tone.) It truly sounds like something you’d hear pumping out of an old phonograph at an antique shop … well, except for the lyrical references to ’90s emo giants Sunny Day Real Estate and Jets to Brazil.
So anyway, the band got the dance party rolling, and it was rolling along pretty well when Ford announced the band would take a short break. The crowd didn’t like the sound of that one bit, though, and warmly voiced its displeasure. To which Ford looked at her band mates, laughed, and said, “Well, OK! I guess we won’t take a break!” She went on to do more originals and prove she wasn’t afraid to tackle legends, covering folks like Tom Waits and Patsy Cline. Eventually, the band did indulge in an intermission, after which it seemed to me some of the show’s momentum (and crowd) had waned. No big deal, though; Ford and her mates just went back to work, using their snappy, cross-generational dance music to begin building it back up again.
Portland indie-folk band Horse Feathers kicks off the new PDXchange Program concert series at the Tower Theatre. I spoke with head Feather Justin Ringle, and here’s an excerpt:
In the past couple of years, though, things have changed for Ringle.
He moved from one part of Portland to another. He changed band members; both (Peter and Heather Broderick) left the band, replaced by Nathan Crockett (violin), Catherine Odell (cello) and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cooper.
Then there’s the confidence Ringle has gained in the years since he moved from Idaho to Portland and ditched rock bands in favor of acoustic music.
“Any types of changes you have in your life … usually find their way into what you make. There’s no way around it; even if you try for it to not be there, it will be there,” Ringle said. “I just tried to be sensitive to that, because my life’s changed quite a bit … and I tried to embrace some of those things that were happening in my life … in the music. I think that’s where the little evolution comes in (and) this record sounds different.”
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this is a terrific band, and I hope you’ll read the whole thing here and then catch them Tuesday in Bend.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. Photo by Dean Guernsey / The Bulletin
Feedback returns this week and heads to the Tower Theatre to see Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. It was a nice change of pace from rock bands in bars!
The All Stars play reggae and African music, so repetition — of guitar riffs, percussion parts, lyrics — was an integral part of the stew. Time after time, the band built a polyrhythmic bed that would make a dead man shake it, and the twin guitarists and a rotating cast of vocalists would decorate that bed with glorious ribbons of melody.
The highlight of the night, for me, were the cascading guitars on “Kele Mani,” a wonderful example of the African highlife style that brought to mind a dancing fountain; when one melody began to fade, another took its place, gracefully and right in time.
Other standouts included the slow-simmering funk of “Jah Mercy,” a ultra-bouncy pop tune called “Soda Soap,” and the murky, psychedelic feel of a song that’s named “P. Malontone” on the set list. For the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out its real name.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: local rapper Mindscape holds a CD-release show, Runner Runner brings pop-rock to Silver Moon, Tribal Seeds will headline a big reggae show tonight, Mountain’s Edge will host five local bands and raise money for local dogs, Back from the Dead plays The Annex, Blowin’ Smoke makes NightSounds at the new Bend Performing Arts Center, and Jade’s Jazz Lounge rolls on in La Pine.