In this week’s GO! Magazine, we have four full pages dedicated to the favorite musical things — albums, concerts, instruments, whatever — of those closest to Central Oregon’s music scene in 2011.
Four full pages sounds like a lot, until you realize that I received more than 40 submissions this year in response to my annual call for everyone’s top five list.
Not only did I get a ton of lists, but they were longer and more substantive than ever before, which means two things: 1) I ended up with way more material than I could use in print. And 2) There’s a lot of great stuff in the overflow lists, which scroll on endlessly below.
So warm up your mouse finger and pan down to see what a whole bunch of local folks were into in 2011. And again, there’s more here.
Top musical moments or experiences in 2011 for me, in no particular order. Five is just too few for me to reduce down to I realized!
— Two nights of dancing to and hanging out with Juno What?!, Sophistafunk, Lettuce, Soulive and Break Science at Cervantes in Denver in May with Jared Forqueran and the whole front range crew.
— The pleasures and pains of running a first-year fest (Volcanic Funk Fest). Highlights were sitting in with Joey Porter’s NW Funk Allstars and straight up nasty sets from Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Orgone. Thanks to all of my family and friends who helped start something special and tasty, especially Melissa, Mindy, Matty, Tom and Darla.
— All the great shows and recordings I got to be a part of in 2011 with Eric Tollefson. Excited to release “The Polar Ends” in a few months. Onward and upward my friend!
— Polyrhythmics at Silver Moon, October 7. The tastiest horn section in the Northwest and the first time I had ever signed a band on the spot. Moving. Music. Moments.
— Listening to our infant daughter Scarlet trying to sing along to Rubblebucket’s album “Omega La La” in the car. Triangular Daisies make me spacey. For You. For You. Again. For You. Uh oh. Hello.
— Two evenings of Phish at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe followed by late-night shows from Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dumpstaphunk and Juno What?! (and literally running into Tony Hall twice in Reno the night before). Great friends, great spot, great music.
— Sitting in with Excellent Gentlemen at Bend Roots Revival and then again at Silver Moon a month later.
— Orgone at The Annex on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Full body funk. My favorite collection of 100 people in a venue all year (sorry if you missed it!). Good call Bret!
— Conspirator & Break Science at Silver Moon. What an amazing last-minute kick down. Probably the smallest venue they’ll ever play. The hug and the “you saved our tour” from Brownie after the show made it extra special.
— Booking the first concert series in the snow up on Mt. Bachelor in May. Pretty cool to see that come together.
(Gabe’s praise for Dumpstaphunk and The Staxx Brothers at The Bite of Bend, commentary on recent concert-related noise complaints and cute quote about his son dancing with Rubblebucket ran in print.)
— Pretty Lights at the Cuthbert Amphitheater. It wasn’t in Bend, but we represented the city well, I was one of maybe 50 Bendites there. EPIC.
— “For the Music” aka Slipmat Science’s nine-year anniversary party. SPL, Barisone, Ill Gates. Sooooo much fun.
— “tick, tick … BOOM!” at Innovation Theatre Works. Being a part of the band and getting to work with the small all-pro cast and with musical director Brent Crayon from L.A.
— Being hired by Early Melodic Animals (if but briefly) to play Steven Perkins’ (of Jane’s Addiction) parts from their album “Day01.”
(Jared’s praise for “Chicago” at the Tower Theatre ran in print.)
illustrator, designer, music fan
Top 5 things music-related for 2011
— Ween at Les Schwab Amphitheater: Once again the boys came to town, and rocked the LSA to the ground.
— Most anticipated/ biggest let-down of the year: High on Fire. My metal horns still drip with tears after learning that the band couldn’t make it to Bend due to poor weather. Here’s hoping they make a swift return before the Apocalypse happens — or perhaps they shall be the bringers of the Apocalypse. Now THAT would be cool!
— Most rockin’ album / Makin’ Local Habitest album of the year: Red Fang’s “Murder the Mountains.” The boys from PDX have come a long way since the days of their viral video for “Prehistoric Dog,” yet on this album they’re still maintained their core sound … just way more mature and respectable by the masses. Now if we could only get Red Fang and High on Fire to play together in Bend, we’d be square on shows that have unfortunately been cancelled (in Red Fang’s case, a rogue deer mishap south of Seattle almost took the boys out for good!)
— Biggest local surprise: The Rural Demons. I’ve had the pleasure of catching this Bend band play twice at The Horned Hand. Be on the lookout, these guys are going to go places … guaranteed.
(Dana’s praise for The Horned Hand in general ran in print.)
1. Getting blasted by the almighty White Buffalo trio at The Horned Hand. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
2. Laying my head on my guitar in a “songwriter in the round” session at Bend Roots Revival as Leif James sang his newest song that electrified my heart and soothed my soul. And then watching Patrick Pearsall that same day still able to kill it on bass with a bulbous bandage on his hand from almost slicing it off the night before! Driving home I felt blown away by the incredible talent living in the Bend community!
3. Watching an OPB special on two dudes who hike all their gear out into beautiful meadows of Oregon and play music to the trees as an offering to give back to nature!!! Fantastic idea!
4. Being so stoked that musicians like Dan, the great deals and Moon Mountain Rambler bass man of Music Makers, and Peter and Randy of Bend Music Repair, are ALWAYS there to help fix instruments and hook you up on affordable supplies to keep the music churning out!
5. Releasing my second CD “Where the Road Meets the Sky,” liking it, and feeling grateful to our local media — Ben Salmon of The Bulletin, Dori and Doug Donoho id Clear 101.7 and Mike Bookey of The Source — for supporting its release to the community!
co-owner, Midtown Ballroom
— Spending the three-day weekend in Sisters during the Sisters Folk Festival, especially enjoying Mary Gauthier, Martyn Joseph, Tony Furtado, Dave Alvin and more!
— Mavis Staples at Pickathon, among many other awesome performers like Charlie Parr and The Sadies!
— I appreciate the amazing supportive parents of young bands that have developed over the years in Central Oregon. The epitome of supportive parents: the parents of Larry and His Flask’s Jamin and Jesse, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Marshall. Parents that give unconditional love and support to their young budding artist children are what helps make the Central Oregon music scene what it is! There are so many parents that I can name, but the Marshalls come to mind as I can still see them in my mind’s eye selling pop with enthusiasm at a punk show supporting their kids back in the early days at the Domino Room! Then proudly basking in the success of their kids opening for Dropkick Murphys in the Midtown Ballroom!
(Rhoda’s love of Ice Cube and live music on warm summer nights ran in print.)
High & Dry Bluegrass Festival
— The High & Dry Bluegrass Festival, all three days. Fifteen local bands and headliners, Oly Mountain Boys and Great Northern Planes on the main stage, 14 acts on the tweener stage, plus the High & Dry mega-band.
–Barbergrass, a concert collaboration between the High Desert Harmoneers and bluegrass musicians, mixing the sounds of barbershop and bluegrass.
— Hoedown for Hunger. Twenty-six bands (including a sprinkling of duo and solo performers) taking the Bend’s Community Center stage for 25 minutes each to raise money for BCC’s Feed The Hungry program. A feast of music and community spirit.
— Jamming every second and fourth Thursday at the school administration building with 20-40 other pickers, bow-ers and strummers.
— Picking and grinning Christmas songs on the High & Dry Bluegrass Festival fire truck in the Bend Christmas Parade.
bassist, Warm Gadget
— Resurrecting Warm Gadget with Jason Schmidt on the drums
— Embrace the Fear. Super tight, brutally heavy, and all still in high school!
— ESO just keeps getting heavier!
— High On Fire not making it because of the roads: biggest bummer
since Red Fang wrecked their tour van on the way here
— The Horned Hand: Killer venue, terrible neighbors.
CEO, Problem Stick
1. Problem Stick / Kronkmen Halloween gig. This gig was by far the most fun I’ve had on Halloween, complete with blood wrestling, costumes galore and gory Onslaught videos courtesy of Morgan P Salvo.
2. The original lineup of the Butthole Surfers at the Roseland in Portland. It seems great minds think alike as the band had three screens of nothing but gory scenes from every horror movie ever made.
3. My solo gig at Parrilla, proving that even I can play a kid friendly show.
4. Hank III’s middle set at Domino Room — the super heavy with a loop of an auctioneer was genius.
5. The Ugly Stick reunion at my wedding!!!
1. The incredible local support that helped raise the money to record an album to honor my sister’s fight against breast cancer.
2. Working with The Autonomics during the summer on their first tour and watching them TEAR it up at Bend Roots Revival.
3. Getting the golden opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day by opening for The Devil Makes Three at the Domino Room. Thank you so much Bret Grier at Random Presents.
4. Also, opening for the energetic band Rootz Underground in Drake Park for Munch & Music. Never saw that coming! Thank you Cameron Clark at C3.
5. Enjoying the amazing lineup at the Les Schwab Amphitheater from Memorial Day weekend to the venue’s quietest/most-savored performance of Ray Lamontagne.
pianist, Two/Thirds Trio
Top 5 2011 Musical Happenins’
5. Tower of Power at the Tower Theatre. (Diggin’ the “Souled Out” show!)
4. Cool new venues popping up all over town! The Sound Garden, etc. Excited about the future of live music in Bend!
3. Playing with Buddy Wakefield at The Nature of Words (at the Tower)!
2. Two/Thirds Trio at Bend Roots Revival. Fun to kick up the heels and jam a bit!
2. TOWER OF POWER AT THE TOWER!! (Very much worth mentioning twice.)
guitarist, Empty Space Orchestra
Battles – Doug Fir – Portland – May 4
They played this tour before their album “Gloss Drop” came out this year. Their set was all fresh, unheard music. It’s my favorite thing in the world when a band I love tours on yet to be released material. It was also very, very loud.
Pretty Lights – Cuthbert Amphitheater – Eugene – September 9
This was the bar-setting show/production for me thus far in my life. I’ve never seen a show so synchronized, with such a wide range sound and imagery. It was an all-out dance party and celebration for life that took me to a place where I transcended myself. If you EVER have a chance to see a Pretty Lights show, do it. You’ll see…
Glassjaw – The Knitting Factory – Reno, Nev. – February 28
Glassjaw was an essential band for me growing up. I still draw inspiration and rip off ideas from Worship & Tribute 10 years after it came out. I was real excited to hear they were putting out new music and coming to the West Coast. The experience was well worth driving to Reno on a Monday night, and being tackled by an over-compelled mosh-pitting meathead.
Jaga Jazzist – The Triple Door – Seattle – June 24
Jaga has been a bucket list band of mine since I was 18. The Triple Door in Seattle is a super swanky seated jazz club. We got to eat dinner, order drinks and sit back and watch our favorite instrumental post-jazz rock band of all time. Even though the show was in Seattle, I’m pretty sure half of the crowd was made up of O.G. Oregon homies from bands we’ve played with.
Deftones – Crystal Ballroom – Portland – April 16
Big, sold out, crowded show at the Crystal, but Deftones played for two hours and brought it 100 percent the whole time. We worked our way up front by the VIP area and some random cool guy kept bring us drinks over the barricade all night … so that was pretty cool.
— Alex Hoxie (son) and Dean Prescott (band alumnus) as special guests of The Substitutes at this year’s Deschutes County Fair.
— The Bend, Oregon musicians forum on craigslist.com for what is arguably the most entertaining thing I’ve read this year.
— Chickenfoot “III”
— My new Breedlove acoustic/electric bass guitar that my wife bought for me.
(Don’s excitement about some vintage concerts in town this year ran in print.)
— Larry and His Flask secret show at Madhappy, June 11
— Keep Art Alive benefit show, June 5
— Busdriver live at Madhappy Lounge
— DJ Wicked winning a slot in the second season of BET’s DJ reality show “Master of the Mix”
— Third Seven’s breakout year
soundman, acoustic guru
1. Sisters Folk Festival / Bend Roots Revival
2. The second annual Holiday Brewgrass Jamboree at Silver Moon
3. Galactic at Domino Room
4. Four Peaks Festival (Taarka & Elephant Revival)
5. Moon Mountain Ramblers at the GoodLife biergarten. Fun in the sun!
4 Peaks Music Festival, KPOV
1. Poor Man’s Whiskey, New Monsoon, Elephant Revival tore it up under the beautiful mountain view skyline at the 4 Peaks Music Festival!
2. Hot Buttered Rum / Greensky Bluegrass at the GoodLife brewery. Major pickin’ good time!
3. Orgone at The Annex. On a Monday night, Bend rallied after Turkey time and rightfully so! They funked it up HARD!
4. Robert Randolph & the Family Band at Athletic Club of Bend. He knows how to throw a party, and his rockin’ pedal steel guitar helps!
5. Yonder Mountain String Band at the Midtown Ballroom. With a better venue, it would have been mind blowing!
HILST & COFFEY
1. Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas / Les Schwab Amphitheater: This was my first time getting to see them. Wow! I have never experienced a better musical show. The sound was immaculate. As was the musicianship. It was all about the music!
2. Tommy Emmanuel / Tower Theatre: This was also an amazing musical performance combined with incredible showmanship. With another performer this type of showmanship at times might have even seemed like shtick. However, with Tommy’s level of musicianship it simply took it all to another level. He played over two hours. Just him and his guitar!
3. Hilst & Coffey making it to the semifinals of Last Band Standing / Century Center: This was so crazy and so much fun! Sharing the same stage with some very good, heavy rock bands and holding our own. The audience (although generally not our demographic) was so appreciative, as were the other musicians. My favorite comment (from other players): “How do you make so much music with just the two of you?” Quite the experience.
4. The Quons CD-release party / PoetHouse: Great turnout and such a great feeling. The Quons have been writing some really good material this last year. And the PoetHouse was an excellent place to showcase them. Many of their friends sat in on various songs. Chris George did a great job with the sound. And the turnout was awesome. Anyone who missed it missed out on a magical evening.
5. Hilst & Coffey starting the recording of their next CD: We are very excited to be recording (primarily live this time) with Keith Banning of Lonely Grange Records. Keith was recommended to us by Franchot Tone. The experience and the sound thus far has been great.
bassist, Mosley Wotta
— Big Sam’s Funky Nation at Century Center for Mardis Gras. A true taste of N’awlins funk and brass, right here in Bend!
— Getting a five-string Fender Jazz Bass and a new amp and cabinets!
— Getting to hear Nicholas Del Drago of The Rockhounds play guitar at the Northside Bar jam night and then later joining the band!
— Listening to the playback of a live recording just made at The Sound Garden. Big grins all around.
(Thomas’ anecdote about a very special day last summer — new grandson, big crowd, great gig — ran in print.)
man of many bands
1. Subliminal (Sublime tribute band) at the new Astro Lounge and Nirvana “Nevermind” tribute at Grover’s.
2. The Mowbray Collective playing at Silver Moon with ex-Thought Police drummer Jarred Grant.
3. Sons of Dirt getting back together after a three-year hiatus and writing some kick-ass rock songs.
4. The return of Warm Gadget.
5. The best Foo Fighters album in a long time, “Wasting Light.”
drummer for Tuck and Roll, Boxcar Stringband
1. Group Love, “Never Trust a Happy Song” I got to see these guys in a small club in PDX (Peter’s Room). Incredibly fun and energetic … at times sounds like a happy mix of the Pixies and Modest Mouse.
2. Wilco, “The Whole Love” When I lived in Portland I went through a huge Wilco phase and was lucky enough to see them several times at fairly small venues. I remember a show at the Roseland shortly after “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” came out where Tweedy had to multitask and handle the ambient noises with his Mac onstage. They keep getting better and better and the new album has me excited about them again. One of the best live acts you will ever see, period.
3. Telekinesis, “12 Desparate Straight Lines” Discovered these guys at a show at the Wonder Ballroom with Superchunk and Teenage Fanclub. A three-piece where the lead singer also plays the drums (wish I could do that!), with some very catchy songs and bass lines that could be found in the best Cure songs.
(Sean’s praise for The Shins at the Domino Room and a three-band (Flask/Rats/Tuck&Roll) punk bill at The Horned Hand ran in print.)
host of “Variable Velocity” on KPOV 88.9 FM, Tuesdays from 8 to 10 p.m.
— Drive-By Truckers at the Wonder Ballroom with opening act the Heartless Bastards. Endless hours of pure rock love.
— Pickathon is always the highlight of my summer. This year’s faves were Lightning Dust at the Starlight stage, as well as Black Mountain in the barn. Also Old Light, Sunday Valley, and of course return faves Elliott Brood and The Sadies.
High & Dry Bluegrass Festival
— High & Dry Bluegrass Festival. Best entertainment bargain in Central Oregon. $15 for three days and nights of great music from 18 main stage bands and 14 acts on the tweener stage, jamming all night, great food vendors and friendly people.
— Hoedown for Hunger at Bend’s Community Center. Feeding the hungry: a worthy cause. Twenty-six local bands and musical acts in a variety of genres. Great display of local talent.
— Barbergrass. A concert of hybrid music blending barbershop harmonies with bluegrass picking and grinning.
— Thursday night jams in the board room of the Bend-LaPine Schools Administration Building.
(Verda’s praise for the “Chicago” musical ran in print.)
— The Autonomics at Bend Roots Revival. I was really bummed to miss Bend Roots Revival this year because of surgery, but I saw a video of The Autonomics performance and it rocked. I’m sure it didn’t get much better than that.
— Playing music for BMC cancer patients. Playing music with my wife Linda for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy is a humbling and rewarding experience. I encourage local musicians to participate.
— Mike Potter, “The Turning” A great folk album released this year by local sleeper songwriter Mike Potter. A master at storytelling and evoking memories.
— Recording our first album. It would be hard not to list recording The Quons’ first album “Quiet Room” as a musical highlight of 2011.
(Mark’s praise of The Horned Hand ran in print.)
1. Being in the studio again to record album two!
2. Seeing Bon Iver at Edgefield from backstage.
3. Getting to be a part of Eric Tollefson’s new album. (Can’t wait for everyone to hear it!)
4. Volunteering with Portland nonprofit My Voice Music — a group that “engages youth facing difficult circumstances in music and performance in order to promote self-esteem, social skills and emotional expression” for a summer program.
5. Going to the Gorge Amphitheatre, for the first time in my life, for the Dave Matthews Caravan. Amazing.
1. Ray LaMontagne at Les Schwab Amphitheater. Wow, the guy and his band are for real and can really play.
2. Bend Roots Revival. Especially playing in the Sunday morning songwriters-in-the-round show with Leif James, Anastacia, and Chris Beland.
3. My third summer of playing weekend brunches at Chow Restaurant on the west side of Bend. No $100 tips this year, but lots of good vibes and a chance to play several dates with each of the folks in my Project Band as duos: Hal Worcester, Jamie Morris, Christen Hawkins.
4. Doing four Sundays at Unity Church in which Rev. Jane Myers built a service theme around several of my songs. Reminded me that much of my music is spiritual in theme and content.
5. Jeff Bridges’ album. “The Dude” is for real.
6. Bruce Cockburn, my hero, becoming a father at age 66. Rock on BC.
1. Favorite Pop CD: Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger”
2. Favorite Pop Country Song: Brian Hanson Band, “Redneck Song”
3. Favorite Summer Tour: Toto live in Europe
4. Favorite Recording Software: Sonar X1
5. Favorite Local Recording Studio: Featherlight Recording Studio
Here’s my Top Five, starting local and then heading outward and inward.
1. The Sisters Folk Festival. Multiple sets by Dave Alvin, Mary Gauthier and Martyn Joseph highlighted the 2011 folk fest. I attended the Clearwater Festival in Croton-On-Hudson, New York, one in Alberta and another in British Columbia this year and none compared to Sisters. Brad Tisdel deserves special props for continuing to provide Central Oregon with three days of fabulous musicians, singer-songwriters, and story tellers every September. The night time offers plenty of opportunity to twist and shout, but it is the listener-oriented daytime shows that make this festival so special. More than one singer-songwriter has marveled at a festival where the audience actually pays attention to their lyrics and performance.
2. Robert Randolph channeling Jimi Hendrix. I haven’t seen his Family Band, but had the good fortune to catch this pedal steel wonder in June at the Iridium in New York City, backed by the Les Paul Trio. His covers of “Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Chile” blew my mind, much as Hendrix himself did at the old Fillmore Auditorium in 1967. Somebody needs to bring this guy to Bend. Randolph, that is … though it’d be pretty special if somebody could bring Hendrix to the Domino Room.
3. Ben Waters’ CD “Boogie for Stu.” I saw the Ben Waters Trio at the Salmon Arm (BC) Blues and Roots Festival in August. Jerry Lee Lewis has nothing on this Brit when it comes to raucous boogie woogie piano. Seriously. And then there’s his 10-year-old son who wails on sax. Waters shines on his 2011 CD, which is a loving tribute to the late pianist Ian Stewart, the sixth Rolling Stone on all of their early recordings. Today’s Rolling Stones join Waters on “Watching the River Flow” and his cousin PJ Harvey duets with Waters on “Lonely Avenue.” A great tribute CD to a great player by a great player and friends.
4. “How the Beatles destroyed Rock and Roll,” a 2009 book by Elijah Wald, really doesn’t blame the mop tops for wrecking great music. But Wald has done some amazing research into the evolution of popular American music dating back to the period right before recordings and on up into the sixties. This is a true “alternative” history of music and whether you agree with Wald’s often contrarian views or not, reading this book will change the way you think about music. I’ve read a lot of books about pop music and rock ‘n’ roll and I think this ranks among the very best.
5. Afenginn at Salmon Arm Blues and Roots Festival. This wild band of hippie gypsies spent two full days on planes to get from their home in Denmark to rural British Columbia and still pulled off a high-energy show that knocked my socks off. They’ll probably never see Bend, what with all the visa problems many traveling musicians face when they try to get into the U.S., but you can catch them at http://afenginn.com/video/.
Tags: Best of 2011