Archive for the ‘rumors/speculation/gossip’ Category

Did Hot Chelle Rae draw the biggest concert crowd in Central Oregon history?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I mentioned this in passing during my review of the concert, but it bears repeating: Teen-heartthrob pop-rock band Hot Chelle Rae played the Deschutes County Fair on Aug. 3 and drew an estimated crowd of 11,400 people, breaking the all-time attendance record at the fairgrounds’ event center.

Given that the event center is, as far as I know, the largest venue in Central Oregon that holds concerts, it seems reasonable to extrapolate the above into an assumption that I think is (a) kind of shocking, and (b) fun to know, at least:

In terms of crowd size, Hot Chelle Rae played the biggest show in the history of Central Oregon two Saturdays ago.

Hot Chelle Rae's Ryan Follese, left, and Nash Overstreet perform at the Deschutes County Fair in Redmond.

Now, I wasn’t quite satisfied with that assumption, so I did a little bit of research and asking around to try to give it a little more context.

First, I wrote fair officials to find out how they got to that number. Fair & Expo Center Director Dan Despotopulos wrote back and said that for concerts, the building has 4,000 permanent seats and 4,500 chairs on the floor, plus standing room. Neither the VIP nor the general admission sections on the floor looked full, but that’s because everyone sitting in those sections moved up as far as they could — in VIP’s case, up against the stage; in GA’s case, up against the back of VIP. According to the fair’s marketing coordinator, Ross Rogers, officials let in extra people because they knew the folks on the floor would never return to their seats. (I can confirm that they didn’t. I spent the second half of the concert in the back row on the floor, surrounded by hundreds of empty chairs.)

For the record, the fair distributed 14,000 tickets to the show, which were free and available at area McDonald’s. To get into the concert, you had to pay fair admission and show your free ticket.

The fair uses a formula to estimate crowds that Despotopulous called “more of an art than a science” — it involves the number of people that can fit in each concrete square on the arena’s floor — but that at least gets us close to an attendance number. He also provided the top five crowds in the history of the fair’s concert series:

1. Hot Chelle Rae (2012), 11,400
2. Styx (’10), 11,200
3. REO Speedwagon (’11), 11,000
4. Joan Jett (’11), 10,600
5. (tie) Alice Cooper (’08) / Peter Frampton (’09) / Chris Young (’12), 10,200

For comparison’s sake, here are the five biggest crowds in the 10-year history of Central Oregon’s next largest venue (that I know of), the ~8,000-capacity Les Schwab Amphitheater, per a story I did earlier this year. (If this kind of stuff interests you and you haven’t seen this graphic, click right now.)

1. Jack Johnson (’05), 8,005
2. Jack Johnson (’04), 7,970
3. Pixies (’04), 6,517
4. Ben Harper and Jack Johnson (’03), 6,485
5. Willie Nelson (’03), 6,399

Almost satisfied, I also asked a few local concert promoters who’ve been in the business and in the region for years — Bret Grier of Random Presents and Cameron Clark of C3 Events — to see if they could remember anything bigger than 11,400. Neither could. If you know those guys and what they do, you know that’s pretty solid.

So now, I turn to you: On Aug. 3, did Hot Chelle Rae draw more people to a concert than any artist ever has in Central Oregon?

For all I know, 20,000 people gathered in a field in east of Redmond in 1982 to see Madonna or something. So if you can remember anything at all that might compete, please leave a comment. I’d love to know about it!

A small portion of the estimated 11,400 people who saw Hot Chelle Rae play in Redmond on Aug. 4.

How ’bout a little summer concert season speculation? (Part 1 of ?)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

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.

Who do you want to see at Les Schwab Amphitheater in 2010? (This time, the Old Mill is listening.)

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, whoever runs the Old Mill District’s Twitter account tweeted this:

Picture 7

Suggestions began pouring in, ranging from Willie Nelson, Keith Urban and Chris Isaak to Vampire Weekend, Coldplay and Spoon to Yo La Tengo, Thao Nguyen and Sade. So far, Cake has been not only seconded, but thirded! To see them all, click here. (I asked the same question in December and got a bunch of suggestions, too. See them here.)

Anyway, I’ll play. Unlike my column a couple years ago where I tried to predict the lineup, this is more of a wish list … with more than a hint of realism. (I’m not going to pretend, for example, that the Schwab would book a weekend festival featuring Quest for Fire, Shabazz Palaces and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin as headliners. Although that would be totally rad.)

First, the ultimate dream:


Reading the Les Schwab Amphitheater tea leaves…

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

In past years, details on Les Schwab Amphitheater’s summer concert series have been posted at, and this is what that site looks like right now:


The keys there are “May 28″ and “Ticketed.” May 28 is the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and as you may remember, the Schwab hosted glorious, three-day rock ‘n’ roll mini-fests on Memorial Day weekend in 2006 (Ben Harper, Beck, The Flaming Lips) and 2008 (Spearhead, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse). There were no concerts that weekend last year.

And the word “Ticketed” indicates a concert that costs money to attend, as opposed to the amphitheater’s free Sunday shows.

Upon seeing this, I e-mailed Marney Smith, who manages the amphitheater, and asked if the date on the site means anything, or if I was reading too much into it. Smith replied quickly, saying organizers are working “tirelessly” on Memorial Day weekend shows, but that she doesn’t yet know if they’ll happen. The “May 28″ on the Web site is just a placeholder, she said.


Anyway, the optimist in me sees the site and hopes it’s a harbinger of good news: that we’ll see a return of live music to the Schwab on Memorial Day weekend of 2010. And if that’s a possibility, then we turn our attention to the Sasquatch Festival, a three-day extravaganza held in central Washington that’s widely considered one of the best music fests in America. In 2006 and 2008, the bands that played the Schwab shows came to Bend immediately before or after playing Sasquatch, so its lineup — to be announced Feb. 16 — provides strong clues about who might come here.

So far, Sasquatch has only confirmed one of its 2010 acts, but it’s a doozy: reunited indie-rock icons Pavement. Unfortunately, Pavement is scheduled to play a festival in Spain on May 28, which would put a tight squeeze on any chance they’d visit Bend.

But … Pavement is pretty much my favorite band ever, so I am going to grasp and hold on to any sliver of hope I can find. Heck, I may begin a public begging campaign to get the band to Bend.

No, seriously, I might. Who’s with me?