Windhand — who hail from the perhaps-surprising metal hotspot of Richmond, Va. — has a new album called “Soma” coming out on Sept. 17 and it is going to be a monster. Here’s the first track we’ve heard from it, a thunderous slab of buzzy, melodic doom called “Woodbine.”
From the second you hit play on this, you’ll hear … these folks have some of the best guitar tone going. Go ahead, soak it in. This is one of the best songs of 2013 so far.
Odd Future rappers Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt are scheduled to play Bend’s Midtown Ballroom on May 10. But last night, they were in New York City to perform on “Late Show with David Letterman,” which they did alongside their buddy Domo Genesis. They did a song called “Rusty” from Tyler’s new album “Wolf.”
You can watch it below, but Bendites should pay special attention to the exchange that comes at around 4:55 of the clip.
Well this is a feather in our rap cap: The two most prominent figures (unless you count Frank Ocean) in super-hyped L.A. hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All — Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt — are coming to Bend May 10 for a concert at Midtown Ballroom, according to an email from the show’s Chico, Calif.-based promoter, JMax Productions.
Tickets cost $22 (plus fees) in advance or $25 at the door. Advance tickets go on sale today at Ticketweb or by phone at 866-468-3399.
In 2010, Odd Future shot to fame astoundingly quickly when music critics and bloggers fell hard for the group’s shocking and juvenile lyrics (they were still teenagers, to be fair), punk-spirit live shows (stagediving and slam-dancing were the norm) and independent status (the group initially released several mixtapes for free download on Tumblr).
Consistently dope beats and high-quality flow also helped, no doubt. These young kids came out of nowhere with their sound, skills and aesthetic already dialed in.
The attention led to a major-label deal for ringleader Tyler, who released “Goblin” in 2011. Here’s the best song from that album.
The attention also brought accolades for Earl, who is generally considered the best pure rapper of the group. He still hasn’t released an official album; his debut “Doris” is due later this year. Here’s a video he just recently released for the song “Whoa.”
(All photos by The Bulletin’s Joe Kline. More of his excellent shots ran in today’s edition of GO! Magazine in The Bulletin. See them here.)
Note to self: Don’t wait almost a full week before writing a review of one of the biggest indoor shows in Bend this year.
Reason 1: Readers don’t want to wait that long. It’s 2012, bro. Internet.
Reason 2: I can’t really remember the more nuanced thoughts I had in the moment about Friday night’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show at Midtown Ballroom in Bend.
Here’s what I do remember: Passion. Effort. Sweat. The skyrocketing popularity of the Seattle-based rapper Macklemore — aka Ben Haggerty — has been, as I wrote in my story on him, “fueled by passion: the passion that permeates his songs, and the passion of the people who adore his music.”
Add to that Haggerty’s passionate live performance and you have a pretty clear idea of what’s pushing this guy beyond his grass roots into major mainstream success. He seems to put everything he has into his shows, which is a striking thing in the frequently ho-hum world of live hip-hop. I’ve seen lots of rap shows over the past several years, and too often, they end with a phoned-in 45-minute set by a headliner acting like they can’t wait to get back on the bus.
Friday’s show couldn’t have been any further from that. For 90 minutes, Haggerty bounded around the stage, throwing his whole body into his verses and working the sold-out crowd — 1,200 people, the vast majority under the legal drinking age — into a lather. With Lewis stuck mostly behind the decks and offering the occasional shout, Macklemore was, in essence, his own hype man.
That’s not to say he was alone under the lights. Besides Lewis, there was a female cello player and male violin and trumpet players on stage all night, plus four guest vocalists who joined the party throughout the set. It was a pretty interesting thing to see: The presence of the instrumentalists was an immediate indication that this was not your typical hip-hop show, while the parade of singers (not to mention the sweet Macklemore-branded tour bus parked on Hill Street) made me wonder just who’s paying all these folks to cruise around the country. (Dude is famously doing this without record-label money.)
Macklemore's trumpet player, Owuor Arunga.
Anyway, on to the music: After a dramatic entrance and the loudest crowd-scream I can remember in the Midtown, the set started off a little slow, I thought. The soundman seemed to still be dialing things in during “Ten Thousand Hours,” while “Crew Cuts” and “Life is Cinema” were both a bit muddy and lacking in oomph. (Haggerty did compliment our town’s collective facial hair at this point, however. As a bearded Bendite, this scored points with me.)
Then, the whole tenor of the night changed when Haggerty borrowed what looked like a vintage fur coat (may not have been vintage, may not have been fur) from a fan and the beat and bass for “Thrift Shop” buzzed through the Midtown, laying the foundation for one of the night’s highlights. People went nuts. Just nuts. Here, through the magic of video, you can watch for yourself. Sorry about the sound quality, but … yeah, the bass was loud:
From there, Haggerty and his crew ran through a bunch of faves: “My Oh My,” a sentimental tribute to the late Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus; “Otherside,” a cautionary tale about drug use; “Same Love,” the touching pro-marriage equality anthem that elicited a huge, approving roar and sing-along from the audience. The manic house-music beat of “Can’t Hold Us” was another high point; the song’s bass hit me in the chest like a medicine ball, traveled down through my toes to the floor, and, I assume, on to the center of the earth. It was devastatingly thunderous.
Along the way, two video screens flanked the stage and showed footage of bears, martial arts, Mariners highlights and lyrics. About halfway through his main set, Haggerty soaked his own Macklemore-branded tank top with sweat, before switching into a Seattle Supersonics jersey for “The Town,” an ode to Seattle and its hip-hop scene. He ended the main set with “Wings,” a commentary on consumerism built around adolescent obsession with fancy sneakers, and “Gold,” a poppy, celebratory tune about being on top of the world.
After a very short break, the group returned for a three-song encore — “Castle,” “And We Danced” and “Irish Celebration” — that didn’t live up to the energy of the main set, in my opinion. But the show came to a serendipitously appropriate ending when the light show shorted out during the encore’s second song and Haggerty performed most of “Irish Celebration” with the house lights on, hazily illuminating both the crowd and the stage.
That was not planned. I know, because I watched the guy controlling the lights completely lose his mind when he realized he’d lost his show during the night’s climax. But in a way, it was perfect: Right now, the music career of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is reaching new heights every day, thanks in large part to the devotion and support they receive from their fiercely loyal fans. The makeshift light situation during “Irish Celebration” gave the final song of the night a sort of communal feeling, as if these fans had been purposely drawn into the show as a way of acknowledging their role in this story, and/or to reflect the humble, man-of-the-people persona of their pale leader.
“I f–king love you guys,” Haggerty said, before raising his hands to the sky and slinking off stage, on to the next sold-out show in the next town.
At the end of my Norah Jones review in last week’s GO! Magazine, I addressed an issue not directly related to the performance, but certainly tangentially related to attending a concert at Les Schwab Amphitheater, which was more crowded than usual that night thanks to a large section of reserved seats and three VIP tents. Here’s that aside:
… this was a crowd ripe for some epic showdowns between people who wanted to sit and people who wanted to stand. And that happened; I was near one particularly nasty confrontation. The Schwab should put up signs at shows like this that say something like “People are allowed to stand and dance wherever they’d like.”
I understand the sitters’ frustration, but that’s just how it is. Period.
And if you’re the type of person who’ll sit in your chair and yell “move!” and “sit down!” at a group of people standing and obscuring your view of the stage, do everyone a favor and stop doing that.
Since that published, I’ve received a handful of emails from folks talking me to task for, essentially, encouraging people to stand and dance and block the view of other people who paid to enter the venue as well and deserve to be able to see from their seats. And now, I’d like to expand on this topic in another column, reviewing opinions on both sides and looking into not only the policies at a few local venues, but also how they feel about it.
So if you have something to say, I hope you’ll leave a comment, ideally with your real name and your home town, since I may be including it in the column.
Do you think people who’ve paid to enter a venue to see a concert have the right to stand and dance wherever they like? Or would you side with the folks who believe their seat should come with an unobstructed view of the show? And does your opinion change based on whether the show is in a venue with seats as opposed to general admission on a lawn? Let me know!
Paste magazine is going through the 50 United States and picking out 10 bands from each that it thinks its readers ought to be listening to. They’re avoiding huge bands, of course; they’re not going to put The Decemberists and The Shins on their Oregon list, for example.
But who is on their Oregon list? At the top, no less? It’s Adventure Galley, the Eugene/Portland-based band whose lineup includes three (or maybe four now) former Bendites. I’m not sure if Paste is actually ranking these bands, but put it this way: If you scroll through the story, you get to AdGalley before Portland heavyweights like AgesandAges, Radiation City and Lost Lander.
Continuing with the swirling, celestial dream-daze jams, we have “Lucifer,” the newest moony missive from ex-Wisconsin / currently Cali duo Peaking Lights, aka husband and wife Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis. The couple’s second album, “936,” checked in as my 24th favorite album of 2011, although that’s probably too low, in retrospect. It was rising at the time that I had to stop fretting and hit the “Publish” button. Anyway, the point is that “936” was a wonderfully listenable little breeze that seemed to come out of nowhere, so my expectations were high when bits of new Peaking Lights material began surfacing online.
And after streaming this thing about 30 times over the past couple of weeks, I’m beginning to think Coyes and Dunis exceeded not only those expectations, but perhaps the bar they set with “936” as well. “Lucifer” is enthralling, a sun-streaked crystalization of the influences that make this band so interesting: dusty digital dub, lo-fi disco and burbling synth-pop, all cocooned in a hypnotic haze and set at a stubbornly stuttering motorik pace. It’s a recipe that acknowledges the current trend toward home-recording aesthetics, but also incorporates unexpected combinations of sounds and a stronger sense of pop craftsmanship that just about any buzzy band out there right now.
Neither “936” nor “Lucifer” bowled me over immediately, of course. That is not what Peaking Lights does. Instead, this band and this music will, if you let it, infiltrate your ears, soak into your brain and creep into your bloodstream. Again, if you let it. That’s what this thingy below is for. Better yet, buy the album from Mexican Summer or from the band when they play the Sometimes A Great Notion festival in Portland on July 29.