If a picture is worth 1,000 words, there are 12,000 words below about Bend’s newest art-hangin’ / clothes-sellin’ / music-playin’ / beer-drinkin’ space, The Horned Hand, which I introduced you to right here.
Still, I am going to add a few of my own.
Cobbled together inside the old Repeat Performance building at 507 N.W. Colorado Ave., the venue’s official opening is tonight, when California folk-rocker The White Buffalo performs (9 p.m., $7 advance, $10 at the door). But there was a sort of soft opening last night, featuring music by Harley Bourbon and Boxcar Stringband, beer by Boneyard Brewing (and cans of Old German), and food by The Codfather, a new cart in town that sells fish ‘n’ chips out of a huge red double-decker bus parked just outside The Horned Hand’s roll-up bay door.
The decor is exactly what head Hand Wesley Ladd described when we met last week in what was then a barren, rectangular box. It’s eclectic, full of found objects and thrift-store bargains. Hubcaps, animal horns, interesting art pieces and vintage signs cover the walls, and they’re all for sale, Ladd says. A couple racks of clothing sit along one wall below a stereo system and projector, which last night ran the 1973 cult film “The Holy Mountain” silently on the opposite wall. (It was really, really weird.)
The bar appears to be a couple of kitchen counter slabs draped across several large barrels. The “bar stools” are kegs with pillows on top. Seating is available across the room in both old molded plastic school chairs (one had “Room 126″ scrawled on the back) and bench seats from automobiles. There’s a picnic table up front. It’s just to the left of the stage, which looked to be about a foot tall.
Both bands were great. I had never heard Harley Bourbon before, but they’ve got Lucero’s sandpaper-throated alt-country down pat. I look forward to seeing them again. Boxcar Stringband swings, baby, swings. (Their CD-release show is tonight, by the way.) The place was rockin’ as I approached around 9:45 p.m., and Ladd closed the bay door at 10 p.m. out of respect for the neighbors. The Horned Hand got a lot hotter after that, and pretty soon its crew was cranking up fans in the corners to keep the air moving.
Overall, I’d say it was a successful first night. I’d guess 100 or so folks came through, maybe a bit more, and many seemed to know each other, fueling the feeling that this wasn’t a brand new spot in town, but a longstanding neighborhood hangout. I was talking with local graphic designer and rock ‘n’ roller Dana MacKenzie, and he said “It feels like this place has been lived in for a year.” Or maybe he said eight years. I don’t know. It was loud. Either way, I couldn’t agree more.
Around 11:15 p.m., I headed out the door to find Ladd shushing a group of folks on the front lawn whose chatter was growing louder. That kind of thing is nice to see, and it’s a smart way to go. The Horned Hand has tremendous potential to be a vital cog in Bend’s nightlife and music scene, if it can navigate the hurdles that any business like it faces: red-tape headaches, annoyed neighbors, apathy on the part of locals. I hope it clears all of those and whatever else comes its way and sticks around for a good, long while. You should, too, and you can show your support starting tonight.
To the photos! (Sorry for the quality. I am not a great photographer and conditions were challenging.)