Reggae legends Toots & the Maytals are coming to Redmond! It took a while, but I tracked down Frederick “Toots” Hibbert and talked to him about the key to his longevity.
“The good music makes me stay on the road,” he said. “People need me so they request me to come, so I have to be on the road. I love what I do, (and I) still like to tour to make sure my audience is happy. They love me very much and I love them very much.”
Their love is rooted, first and foremost, in a handful of hit Toots & the Maytals records from the late 1960s and early 1970s, including “54-46 Was My Number,” “Bam Bam,” “Pressure Drop,” “Monkey Man” and “Funky Kingston.”
The band’s early hits are durable classics of the genre, reflective of a time when reggae was a bit grittier and funkier than it tends to be these days.
The Maytals’ music remains popular because it’s “clean” and “positive,” Hibbert said.
“If you’re negative,” he said, “you won’t last long.”
I also want to highlight my story on Ashland-based indie-folk trio Kites & Crows, who are playing a free show at McMenamins on Wednesday. I really think this is talented up-and-coming band with great songs, so click here to read all about ’em.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section, we’ve got Ween’s return to Les Schwab Amphitheater, Tracorum kicking off Munch & Music, Sunriver’s Rhythm on the Range festival, Lauren Shera at Silver Moon, a trio of country songwriters at Maragas Winery and Third Seven’s last show before tour, plus Sagebrush Rock, Boxcar String Band, Chris Beland and Last Band Standing.
Enjoy the long weekend and gorgeous weather, folks! Have fun and be safe.
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.
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!
The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend will kick off its new jazz series this weekend with three performances by the Mel Brown Quartet. I spoke with the band’s namesake drummer about the MBQ, one of three bands he plays in at Jimmy Mak’s jazz club in Portland’s Pearl District.
The MBQ came together years ago to play tight, hard-swinging bop in a style somewhat similar to that of one of Brown’s heros, Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. The group has been described as a quartet of bandleaders, though Pacini is the official music director, leading the MBQ through its vast repertoire of originals and standards “with a different twist,” Brown said.
“(The band) is kind of like my background — the way I was raised, the music I grew up on,” Brown said. “We play straight ahead, and it feels really good. Everybody plays and we listen to each other a lot.
“Plus everybody likes each other,” he continued. “In most bands you get something good going and all of a sudden there’s an internal fight, and that’s because you’re around each other too much. I see some of these guys once a week, so we don’t have time to get mad. Hell, we’re just happy to be playing.”
Brown is a legend in the Northwest jazz scene, and you should click here to read the whole interview. While you’re there, read up on the other jazz happenings this weekend, including a Just Joe’s show at Greenwood Playhouse, and Cascade School of Music’s effort to revive the old Sunday shows at Be Bop Coffee House.
Champagne Champagne's Pearl Dragon performs in the rafters of the Old Mill Music Lounge. Photo by Ben.
This week’s Feedback column focuses on two Seattle hip-hop groups — Champagne Champagne and Mad Rad — that performed last weekend at the Old Mill Music Lounge. There’s weren’t many people there, so chances are decent you weren’t there, so read on …
As is frequently the case in this genre, Champagne Champagne’s DJ (Mark Gajadhar) is a secret, shadowy weapon. As is less frequently the case, he may be their MVP. (MCs Sir Thomas) Gray and Pearl Dragon were solid, engaging performers all night; Gray manned a mic stand like a rock singer, and his partner stalked off the stage more than once to rap from within the crowd. They slayed their best song (so far), “Soda & Pop Rocks,” with its wicked, dubstep-y bass line and shoutouts to the streets of Seattle: “My city’s not pretty it’s gritty,” Pearl Dragon raps. “Top notch when the block’s hot, blow up like soda and pop rocks.”
Elsewhere, the MCs showcased their influences: indie/alt-rock (one tune referenced Sonic Youth’s “Bull in the Heather”) and ’80s-child pop culture (“She looks like Molly Ringwald. She’s beautiful to me.”), while Gajadhar rocked like an octopus working overtime, bouncing from electric guitar to keyboard to tambourine to drum machine to melodica and back. His work was sometimes ominous and murky (“Something Strange”), sometimes bright and poppy (“Hollywood Shampoo” sounds like hip-hop built on a Shins song), and sometimes a sweet and sour collision of video-game bloops and punk-rock squall.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Larry and His Flask headline a show to benefit two of its members’ dad, Tribal Seeds and Anthony B (separately) bring reggae to the Domino Room, Rootdown rocks McMenamins, Empty Space Orchestra continues its January residency at Silver Moon, Seattle folkie Sarah Sample plays Sisters, MC Mystic spins Michael Jackson tunes at MadHappy Lounge and local bands Five Pint Mary and Boxcar Stringband play a benefit for BAKESTARR.
Political folk-punk legend Billy Bragg descends upon the Tower Theatre on Tuesday night. My colleague David Jasper wrote a terrific article about his conversation with the man, which bounced from the power of Facebook to America’s upcoming midterm elections, and from Bragg’s program to put guitars in the hands of inmates to the catharsis of writing songs about things that piss you off. I’m not even going to try to excerpt the thing; trust me, you should go read the whole story by clicking here.
The Chris Berry Trio visits Bend this weekend and brings along jam-rock super-guitarist Steve Kimock! Berry’s story is fascinating. He traveled to Africa to study music, became a pop star, and fled for his life in 2001. We talked about the reaction he got from Zimbabweans as his career took off.
“(They) had never seen a white man who could drum and dance and sing in their language, so it actually unfairly catapulted me to the top pretty fast over there just because I was white,” he said. “People would show up and try to go behind the stage and try to unplug (me) because they thought I was lip-synching because they didn’t believe it was actually true. Or they would come to the shows because … they didn’t believe it so they wanted to see it with their own eyes. So it was kind of a novelty thing.”
But it was a very positive experience, Berry said, if for no other reason than the barriers that were broken.
“They had a very narrow view of white people: that we would never touch one of their traditional instruments (or would) look down on their language (or) thought whatever they did was beneath us, because that’s how they were treated by the colonialists,” he said. “So to have someone come in there and be so happy about playing their music, it shattered their stereotypes in a positive way.”
The local quartet Warm Gadget fired off 45 minutes worth of heavy noise last week at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom. Here’s part of my review.
The atmosphere in the pub felt a bit like a secret show. It wasn’t. It was just booked last-minute and hastily promoted, so the crowd was modest in size, but full of familiar faces from across Bend’s left-of-center rock scene. In other words, I saw plenty of folks there who prefer their music flavored with weird.
Warm Gadget gave them what they wanted, though I must admit, the band wasn’t quite as out there as I expected them to be. The songs on their MySpace — www.myspace.com/warmgadget7 — are creepy, industrial, electro-fuzz-rock blasts that are, generally speaking, slightly more beat-driven than riff-driven.
Live, those beats and electronic textures are certainly perceptible, but they don’t play as much of a role in the band’s sound as they do on recordings. Live, Warm Gadget is a sludgehammer, pummeling anything in its path with its aural assault.
Delve into the details of the band’s set right here.
Also in this week’s music section: Boxcar String Band at M&J Tavern, the returns of Igor & Red Elvises, The Missionary Position and Craig Carothers, a busy week at Three Creeks Brewing Co., in Sisters, a benefit for The Substitutes’ Dean Prescott (this is actually happening March 14), the neon-pink pop-rock of The Fold, and more pop-reggae at Mountain’s Edge, courtesy of Tomorrows Bad Seeds. And, as always, there’s lots more in our complete music listings.
The Sofa Kings. Photo courtesy Christa Landis and Jason Costa.
The Sofa Kings will play both Friday and Saturday night at Black Horse Saloon in Bend. Here’s an excerpt from my story on the band:
In a world where too many rock bands try to spice up their sound with disparate ingredients, The Sofa Kings are content to rock. As (drummer Karl) Lindgren puts it: “Our schtick is we have no schtick.”
He elaborates, touching on the Kings’ natural musical chemistry: “It’s a little bit like a jazz band in that regard,” said the man who spent years in California playing any style of drums you can name. “In a jazz band, the musicians are playing for themselves and the audience, if the band is good, is privileged to witness this musical conversation between, hopefully, talented musicians. And we’re a little bit like that.”
Local melodic metal band Inimica performed last weekend at Players Bar & Grill. Here’s an excerpt from my review of the show:
Now let’s get something out of the way: I enjoy listening to many different kinds of music, and I try to cover everything fairly here in GO! Magazine. But we all have strengths and weaknesses, and metal — particularly extreme metal subgenres like death metal — is not one of my strengths. So I will tell you what I can about Inimica, who, really, aren’t a straightforward death metal band, anyway.
There are death-y elements, of course. Dustin Jaques’ drums thunder like blasts from a furnace. The guitars — wielded ably by Blaine Bowden and Jake White — are chugging juggernauts that’ll make your chest ripple.
Inimica’s most death-metal-like feature, though, is the classic growl of Matthew Hicks, who looks like pop-metal star Andrew W.K. and sounds like Cookie Monster.
But lots of bands can chug and growl. It doesn’t mean they’re interesting. And one reason I really wanted to see Inimica on Saturday night is their musicianship.
Find out what awesome ’80s mega-hit Inimica covered by reading the whole thing here.
Also in the music section this week: Austin folk-rocker Danny Malone, a CD-release show for local musician Cedric Kohler, California rapper Myka 9, Blackflowers Blacksun plays a farewell show, Top Shelf hosts “Love Connection,” Boxcar String Band at Baldyfest, and a benefit at Rise Up’s warehouse featuring Mosley Wotta, We Are Brontosaurus, The Autonomics and The Tree Dwellers.