Well, the first show of Les Schwab Amphitheater’s 2011 lineup is in: Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes and Jenny and Johnny on May 27.
As you may recall, in my Feedback column several weeks back, I made a wish list for the local music scene in 2011, and one item on that list was three nights of live music at the Schwab over Memorial Day weekend.
This Death Cab booking doesn’t guarantee that I’ll get my wish, but it gives me hope that we’ll have another three-night extravaganza like we did in 2006 and 2008.
After hearing rumblings that a show announcement might be imminent, but before I knew of the Death Cab show, I put together some speculation on what the Schwab’s Memorial Day weekend might look like, based on the lineup at the Sasquatch music festival up in Washington. My conclusion? The Decemberists were likely headliners down here in Bend, as were one or more of this group: Death Cab, The Flaming Lips, Wilco, Modest Mouse. And to me, the best “get” for the Schwab among Sasquatch bands would be the just-out-of-hibernation Foo Fighters.
Now that we’ve narrowed the field (and the available headline slots), I’m ready to commit with one dose of realism and one dose of hopeful optimism. If I had to predict a full Memorial Day weekend slate at the Schwab, here’s how I’m leaning:
May 27: Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Jenny and Johnny
May 28: Foo Fighters, Against Me!
May 29: The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, The Head & The Heart
The Decemberists are the realistic choice. The Portland-based band is riding a surge of popularity thanks to their new, excellent and chart-topping album “The King is Dead.” They’ve also played the Schwab three or four times, so they’ve got some history in Bend. It’s time for them to step up to headliner status, and I will actually be surprised if they don’t play Bend’s biggest stage at some point this summer. (Iron & Wine would be a nice secondary draw for that bill. And The Head & The Heart is a great, up-and-coming pop band from Seattle that would translate nicely to a big stage.)
The Foo Fighters are the optimistic choice. It’s not that the Foos are my favorite band. They’re not. Heck, I haven’t really liked much of what they’ve done since “The Colour and The Shape.” But, they’re just coming back from a long hiatus, and based on the snippets we’ve heard so far, their new album is going to shred. Plus, they’re huge. Not “big famous Northwest indie band” huge like Death Cab or Modest Mouse. Like “super-huge, world-famous rock ‘n’ roll band led by one of the most entertaining frontmen on the planet (who also happened to be in Nirvana)” huge. And did I mention they’re a rock band? For all its strengths, bringing in big, loud, heavy rock bands is not what the Schwab is known for. What was the last one? Korn? Yeesh.
Bottom line: Foo Fighters would be a huge score for the amphitheater, and it would be so awesome to hear their songs rushing down the Deschutes River canyon, waking the dead all over Bend.
Amphitheater folks: Get Foo Fighters. Get. Them. Get them.
(Oh, and Against Me! is an obvious choice for an opener, I think. Catchy rock band. History in Bend. Good secondary draw. Makes sense to me.)
Of course, lots of bands on the Sasquatch roster could be inserted into these scenarios. Black Mountain or Flogging Molly could open for the Foos. The Moondoggies or Old 97s would work as the warm-up act for The Decemberists. Fellow Portland cool kids Pink Martini could fit there, too.
Who knows? That’s why speculating about this kind of stuff is fun. If you’d like to do your own speculating in the comments, I’d love to read it.
If I get a minute later this week, I’ll toss out my dream lineup for Saturday and Sunday, and maybe some other venues in Bend that artists lower on the Sasquatch bill could play on their way to or from the festival.
Tags: Les Schwab Amphitheater