Archive for April, 2011

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Downtown Bend will celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style Thursday as L.A. fusionistas Ozomatli headline a free outdoor celebration on Wall Street. My conversation with band co-founder Ulises Bella focused more on Ozo’s world travels than its music.

But it’s the band’s role as U.S. Department of State-designated Cultural Ambassadors that sparks a fire in Bella. When he talks about Ozomatli’s music, he sounds excited. When he talks about its overseas work, he sounds inspired.

Since 2007, the band has traveled to Nepal, India, Myanmar, Madagascar, Jordan, Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt, Mongolia and China on official government business, playing free public concerts, conducting workshops and doing community outreach in, as Bella puts it, “places no bands go to.”

To wit: Last summer, Ozomatli performed for thousands of people in a public square in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. They were the first Western band to play there. Ever.

“We feel like some pioneers. Like, yo, we’re gonna go into this country and … maybe a handful of people might know who we are,” Bella said. “In a weird way, it’s a great litmus test for letting the music stand on its own.

“In a lot of ways, there’s something in our music, especially rhythmically, that you can latch onto and be like, ‘Hey, I kind of know this. This kind of seems familiar to me,’” he continued. “We start playing and immediately the reaction is for the most part overwhelmingly positive.”

Bellas was great interview. I hope you’ll click here to read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in this week’s jam-packed music section, we’ve got short stories on Cash’d Out and The Staxx Brothers, plus The Northstar Session, Mad Rad, The Anvil Blasters, Sara Jackson-Holman, Super Adventure Club, Brandi Carlile, Floater, Tony Smiley and Marv Ellis, the Acorn Project and more.

[Video] Boxcar Stringband at Silver Moon

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Bend’s throwback rockabilly blues boys Boxcar Stringband played Silver Moon a couple weekends ago. Adam Sears got some video of the occasion, and then I forgot to post it. So here it is:

Don’t forget to catch ’em when they open for Cash’d Out at the Domino Room on Cinco de Mayo!

Concave Perception Chamber sums up the incredibly imprecise nature of live-music start times…

Monday, April 25th, 2011

…on this poster for their show tonight at MadHappy Lounge, spied recently on Parrilla Grill’s bulletin board.

Truer words, etc., etc.

If you’re interested, here’s what I wrote about the show in last Friday’s GO! Magazine:

Good news for fans of atmospheric psych-rock: We have a Concave Perception Chamber sighting. The long-standing (but sometimes hard to find) Bend combo will play Monday at MadHappy Lounge (850 N.W. Brooks St., Bend), draping the cozy bar with gentle waves of lush, chiming guitars and experimental pop know-how. 9 p.m. Free.

stream Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues” in its entirety

Monday, April 25th, 2011

You can listen to every second of one of 2011’s best albums by clicking here or here. Neither will stay up forever, so don’t delay.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Canadian bass music producer ill.Gates will headline tonight’s “For the Music” party to celebrate Slipmat Science’s ninth anniversary. I spoke with the man about how and why he immersed himself in the world of electronic composition.

Two decades ago, Lane was that upstart kid. He played guitar and piano, but got his first sampler at age 7, went to his first rave at 13, and liked the wide-open horizons of electronic music.

“It just sounded so new and different and fresh,” he said. “At that point, I had learned guitar, but I just felt like guitar music didn’t really need me. I felt like what I was doing was just kind of a commentary on the history of guitar music.

“I got a sampler and thought, ‘These instruments are new. These … have a lot of history left to unfold. This is something I can be a part of,’” Lane said. “I felt (guitars) had been so explored that I was going to have to really struggle to find something new, and I just didn’t want to sound like anyone else. I wanted to do something entirely different. I wanted to have my own thing.”

I also talked to one of the guys behind Slipmat to get the skinny on that crew’s origins. Click here to read them both. (The Slipmat story is on the right, in smaller print.)

Gregory Alan Isakov. Photo by Ben.

Feedback this week is on last Saturday’s wonderful Gregory Alan Isakov concert at the PoetHouse in downtown Bend. What a night. Here’s an excerpt.

Isakov’s set was a blend of old (the downcast “The Stable Song,” the throwback jazz of “Salt and the Sea”) and brand new (he said he’s working on his next album now), plus a stark cover of John Hartford’s “In Tall Buildings.”

Then there was plenty from Isakov’s wonderful 2009 album “This Empty Northern Hemisphere.” The Ryan Adams-esque sway of “That Moon Song” got the biggest response of the night, “Virginia May” rode a likable shuffle, and “Evelyn” gave Isakov’s crack band — drums, keys, cello and violin — a chance to rock out in their own gentle, orchestral style.

The highlight of the night, though, came mid-set when Isakov did a warm, resonant and drop-dead gorgeous song about the universe’s beauty and bruised feet, and then followed it with the title track from “This Empty Northern Hemisphere,” which crescendoed into a swarm of strings and falsetto oohs and ahhs. Isakov’s band has a firm grip on the power of dynamics, and those two songs showcased every inch of their range.

I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: David Jacobs-Strain’s rootsy blues, Noise-A-Tron’s dark, heavy rock, McMenamins’ ’80s-themed “prom” and the Blues, Amuse & Brews benefit for Westside Village school. Plus there are a bunch of local acts with good gigs this week, including The Prairie Rockets, OpenFate, Jones Road, Kylan Johnson, Clair Clarke, JazzBros, Concave Perception Chamber and the Brian Hanson Band.

Culver City Dub Collective’s “Chili and Chorizo” video

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Woohoo! It’s officially Friday! To celebrate, here’s the new video from Culver City Dub Collective, the Afro-Cuban/roots-reggae/Cali cool project from Adam Topol and Bend’s own Franchot Tone. It’s just what you expect from these dudes: Breezy. Mellow. Grooves. So it’s perfect if you’re craving that warm, tropical feeling but can’t leave your cubicle.

Also: Directed by Sky Pinnick at Rage!

[Video] Gregory Alan Isakov, “Salt and the Sea”

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

So, Gregory Alan Isakov and openers Fairchildren and Lo, and Behold put on a terrific night of music Saturday at PoetHouse Art in downtown Bend. Just terrific. I’ll have a full review in Friday’s GO! Magazine, but here’s video of Isakov’s final number of the evening, “Salt and the Sea.”

It’s not super representative of his set as a whole and I thought it was a slightly odd choice for an encore, but it certainly showcases his highly skilled band and will give you a feel for the atmosphere in the room. Enjoy!

4 Peaks Music Festival update: Ticket prices increase tomorrow

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Central Oregon’s roller-coaster jam-band gathering, the 4 Peaks Music Festival, will return to its original home, the Rockin’ A Ranch near Tumalo, on July 15-16.

Why is 4 Peaks a “roller-coaster”? Because of its history of ups and downs. The fest started with a bang in 2007, attracting big-name headliners like Animal Liberation Orchestra and Hot Buttered Rum to its two-day party. In 2008, the 4 Peaks team battled neighbor opposition, but ultimately held another two-day festival with a strong lineup.

In 2009, though, the struggling economy made it tough to find sponsors, and 4 Peaks went on hiatus. Last year, organizers went through a serious last-minute permitting scramble and venue switcheroo before bringing the event — significantly scaled down — back to the Rockin’ A.

This year, 4 Peaks seems to be on more solid ground. The team says it already has the necessary permits and will host two days of funky, jammy, stringy, rockin’ goodness in mid-July.

Tickets are available right now for $40 plus fees at However, that price will only last through the end of today. Tomorrow, they jump to $50 plus fees. So if you want in on the cheap, don’t hesitate.

Here’s the lineup for the 2011 4 Peaks Music Festival, featuring lots of familiar names and a few new ones:

Poor Man’s Whiskey
New Monsoon
Elephant Revival
Ten Mile Tide
Moon Mountain Ramblers
Acorn Project
Sugarcane String Band
Wasabi Collective
Asher Fulero
Wild Rye
Mark Ransom

Who’s playing Last Band Standing?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

(UPDATE: Two bands — Kousefly and The Strain — declined their spots in the competition and were replaced by Jones Road and Heleos. This post has been updated to reflect the change.)

Last Band Standing is back! The multi-round mega-battle of the bands — which debuted in Bend last summer and drew thousands of people to Boondocks Bar — will kick off its 2011 version on May 6 at Century Center.

Yup, that’s two big changes right off the bat: This year’s LBS will be on Fridays (not Thursdays) and will happen at Century Center (not Boondocks). Seven preliminary rounds are scheduled for May 6, 13, 20 and 27 and June 3, 10 and 17, followed by two semifinal rounds on June 24 and July 1 and the finals on July 15. Lots more info is available by clicking here, and we’ll have more in the May 6 GO! Magazine.

The deadline to enter passed on Sunday, and out of more than 50 that entered, 32 bands have been chosen to compete. Here’s a list of those bands in alphabetical order:


This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 15th, 2011

One of Bend’s favorite dudes, G. Love aka Garrett Dutton, is bringing the Special Sauce back to town on Thursday. This time, he’s supporting a more rustic, acoustic album called “Fixin’ to Die” that he made with Seth and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers. I chatted with the man about his new musical direction.

“We thought of those last three records as a triumvirate,” he said. “With the economy and the state of the record business and everything like that — it being harder and harder to sell records — it was just like, you know what, we gotta do something really different. So we decided we were gonna go back to my roots as a coffee-shop singer and a Delta bluesman and really … go all the way with that.”

Enter the Avetts, a couple of North Carolina boys whose new-school old-time string band is at the forefront of the current roots-music revival. Once the G. Love camp decided on the direction of the new record, they set their sights on the ideal producers.

“They do things in such an honest way,” Dutton said. “We felt like (we should) go back to making records how I used to make ’em: real stripped down, live performances, no frills. Just good, old-fashioned, honest music.”

Sounds like Dutton was super-inspired by working with the Avetts. Click here to read the whole story.

In Feedback this week, I tell you how you can support your local music scene by supporting Bend’s local, independent radio station, KPOV and it’s local, independent record store, Ranch Records. And then I tell you why you should.

You see, places like KPOV and Ranch are vital to the uniqueness of a town like Bend. With them in place, interesting, different and/or obscure music can infiltrate our town and our ears, thanks to DJs and record store clerks who are as passionate about good music as you are.

Each is as important a piece of the local music scene as a punk club, a jam session or an exciting new rock band. And without them, our funky little town would be a lot less funky, and a lot more boring.

Funky is good. Boring is bad. The existence of KPOV and Ranch are good things, and their existence depends on your support.

I hope you’ll go read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: the wonderful Gregory Alan Isakov plays the PoetHouse, The Swingle Singers visit the Tower Theatre, Andre Nickatina returns to the Domino Room, Sapient’s back at MadHappy Lounge, Paleface comes to McMenamins and Silver Moon hosts Tone Red tonight and Boxcar Stringband Saturday. Solid!