Also in the music section: King Yellowman returns to town, the Tower of Power show is sold out, guitar hero Scott Pemberton plays Silver Moon, a cappella groups On the Rocks and Divisi will perform to benefit Sisters schools, Celtic folkie Colleen Raney kicks off the new HarmonyHouse season, a Tumalo house concert will benefit the High & Dry Bluegrass Festival, and Innovation Theatre features an eclectic weekend, with Violin vs. Vinyl and Jay Tablet tonight, 2Mex and a hip-hop bill Saturday and 2nd Hand Soldiers playing a benefit for a local guy with cancer on Sunday. Oh, plus we have blurbs on Stephanie Schneiderman, Just People and Viva Le Vox!
We’re entering an incredibly busy few weeks on the Central Oregon music scene, especially considering it’s mid-October, a time when local stages used to go virtually quiet. No more.
So I recruited a little help to cover everything going on this week. Below, you’ll find links to our interviews with the rapper Afroman, the newgrass legend David Grisman and indie-folk upstarts The Builders and The Butchers, plus briefs on a ton of other artists. I hope you’ll click around and check it out, or better yet, grab a print copy of The Bulletin today and flip through GO! Magazine.
Afroman returns to the Domino Room Sunday. My colleague Rachael Rees chatted with him about who inspires him, how he gets ready for shows, and what it feels like when many people only want to hear one of your songs a decade after it was a hit.
GO!: Why do you keep coming back to Bend?
Afroman: I love my fans. I have some strongholds in America … because of people who heard “Because I Got High.” It’s been 10 years since “Because I Got High” and cities like Bend are keeping me in the game. Bend has kept with me past “Because I Got High” and is familiar with all my songs.
GO!: What is your ritual before you get on stage to perform?
A: I like to get to town early and get into the mood of hip-hop and what it means to me. I don’t want to shortchange my fans so I smoke blunts and play music while I pull out my best clothes. I go to the barber shop. I do my nails. (I) put on my cologne and buy jewelry cleaner to drop my big chains in. It’s about quality, looking good and rapping good.
David Grisman was here only a year ago, but that was with his quintet in a seated venue. Tonight, he’s back with his bluegrass band at the Domino Room, where you can dance the night away to the Dawg. Grisman was kind enough to answer a few questions via email, and David Jasper wrote a story about him.
It’s quite clear that appreciating the roots of bluegrass is important to Grisman. He says that when he first heard the form, it was initially “the banjo, played in the style of Earl Scruggs, that blew my head off.
“I think bluegrass is a perfectly orchestrated style of instrumental and vocal music, with real roots in the stories and lives of the people,” he said. “It elevates folk music to a virtuosic status and runs the gamut of human expression. Plus, the history of bluegrass is something that occurred in my lifetime, and I had the opportunity to witness it happening and meet and even play with many of its great architects.”
Portland folk-rock band The Builders and The Butchers return to Bend next week to play two shows at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. Rachael Rees asked them a few questions via email, too, and frontman Ryan Sollee responded.
Sollee and his band mates — who came together playing on the streets of Portland — look to the past for both lyrical and musical inspiration, striving for authenticity and sounds that ignore today’s emphasis on commercial viability.
“I have no problem with pop and major radio artists altering their sound digitally. They are playing to an audience that obviously doesn’t care,” Sollee said. “Where I get frustrated is in the indie world when vocals are obviously (Auto-Tuned). It just doesn’t sound very honest to me.”
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Dave Matthews tells you why you should check out Danny Barnes Thursday night, the Water Tower Bucket Boys and Moon Mountain Ramblers team up at Silver Moon, Innovation Theatre throws a launch party to celebrate its new Madhappy vibe, Tony Pacini and Chuck Redd return to Jazz at Joe’s, and Franchot Tone is moving to California and playing a farewell show tonight, plus The Ben Rice Band, Ali Handal, Hurtbird and more. Oh, and this previous blog post about Birthday Suits. WHEW!
Portland soul-pop band Dirty Mittens are making the trek over to Bend for the first time for a show at McMenamins on Wednesday. I spoke with frontwoman Chelsea Morrisey about her band’s fine new album “Heart of Town” and making music in the 21st century. Here’s an excerpt:
“It’s a world where, when you have a good single, people want to hear it now,” Morrisey said. “They want to hear it on YouTube and everywhere. There’s no time to waste, really, because that song’s not going to be relevant (in a year).
“I can write a song this afternoon and have it up on Soundcloud in an hour,” she continued, “and it’s like people’s ability to do that just changes the way music sounds all the time. Trends are moving so much more quickly.”
One thing that’s not trendy, but timeless: A great live show. Dirty Mittens prioritize theirs, putting in hours to ensure folks who show up to a gig don’t walk away disappointed, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
“We’re in an era where people just don’t really focus enough energy on their live show anymore,” Morrisey said. “It’s so easy to get popular from an MP3 on (influential music website) Pitchfork, it’s like they don’t even need to because people are going to pay to see their show just to be seen.”
A couple other things worth highlighting this week:
–Portland country band Cloverdayle features the vocals of Rachel Hamar, who grew up here and graduated from Bend High School in 1997. They’re playing Maverick’s Country Bar and Grill on Saturday. Read all about it right here.
–The second half of 2011 seems to have brought about a reggae resurgence in Central Oregon, including a show tonight by Richie Spice. Read about the reggae uprising and Spice by clicking here.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Polyrhythmics, Sonos, ukelele master Aldrine Guerrero, Riders in the Sky, Emma Hill, Strive Roots, and a couple of warm-up punk shows at Innovation Theatre before the big launch party next weekend.