As is usually the case, there’s plenty to do around Central Oregon this week if you’re into live music, so I’m going to keep it basic with the highlights:
–Tonight, the popular Last Band Standing competition returns for 2011, pitting 32 bands against each other for audience votes over the next 11 weeks. If you click here, you’ll find my story — which includes some changes for this year’s LBS — plus a schedule of who plays when and where you can pick up free tickets.
–Elsewhere in the music section, you’ll find everything you need to know on Beth Wood’s folk songs, Cornmeal’s lightning-fast bluegrass, Adler’s Appetite’s Guns N’ Roses connection, Blaine Larsen’s pure country and Audiophilia’s eclectic jams.
(UPDATE: Two bands — Kousefly and The Strain — declined their spots in the competition and were replaced by Jones Road and Heleos. This post has been updated to reflect the change.)
Last Band Standing is back! The multi-round mega-battle of the bands — which debuted in Bend last summer and drew thousands of people to Boondocks Bar — will kick off its 2011 version on May 6 at Century Center.
Yup, that’s two big changes right off the bat: This year’s LBS will be on Fridays (not Thursdays) and will happen at Century Center (not Boondocks). Seven preliminary rounds are scheduled for May 6, 13, 20 and 27 and June 3, 10 and 17, followed by two semifinal rounds on June 24 and July 1 and the finals on July 15. Lots more info is available by clicking here, and we’ll have more in the May 6 GO! Magazine.
The deadline to enter passed on Sunday, and out of more than 50 that entered, 32 bands have been chosen to compete. Here’s a list of those bands in alphabetical order:
The title of this post says it all. Congrats to Mosley Wotta and his fantastic new live band, who beat out Empty Space Orchestra, Kleverkill and Hot Tea Cold for the title of Last Band Standing. Their $30,000 prize package includes a tour van. I hope they put it to good use.
About halfway through MoWo’s set last night, I heard a woman behind me — she looked to be in her 40s — exclaim to the man she was with: “Where did he come from?” I didn’t hear all of the man’s response, but I did hear him say the word “Canada.”
It’s hard for me to imagine living in Bend over the past few years and not being familiar with Mosley Wotta (real name: Jason Graham), given the sheer number and breadth of his endeavors. He teaches, he paints, he hosts events, he wins poetry slams, he works with kids. And, of course, he raps.
Then again, I pay pretty close attention to the local music scene. Not everyone does. So if you’re like that woman behind me and you’d like to know more about Mosley Wotta, I’d suggest starting with the very long profile of him that I wrote back at the very beginning of 2008. Click here to check out that piece. And you can click here to see an archive of posts about him here on the Frequency blog, including info on his new album, a free MP3 download, a music video and more.
We introduced you to Last Band Standing (here, here and here) and have been running updates every Friday in GO! Magazine. But last week was the final week of preliminaries, and the semifinal lineup is set, so it’s time for an update.
With Empty Space Orchestra’s win Thursday night at Boondock’s, here’s how the semis shake out:
June 17: Blowin’ Smoke, Elliot, Hot Tea Cold, Mosley Wotta, StillFear, Tuck and Roll.
June 24: Absofreakinlutely, Blackstrap, Empty Space Orchestra, Eric Tollefson and The World’s Greatest Lovers, Kleverkill, Tall As Rasputin.
Organizer Jennifer Meyer reports that the top two vote-getters from each semifinal will move on to the finals, and, as has been the case throughout the competition, judges will have two wildcards they can use to advance bands that don’t get enough votes to move on, but that they believe deserve another chance. In other words, the finals will feature anywhere from four to six bands.
The finals are scheduled for July 1. The winner gets $30,000 in prizes, including a 15-passenger van and a record deal. More details here.
You have absolutely no excuse to not go see some live music tonight. Check out these options:
–At the Tower Theatre, the second installment of the PDXchange Program features Portland’s The Helio Sequence, a band I praised at length here. Special bonus: local alien-rockers Empty Space Orchestra open the show! 8 p.m., $15 (plus venue fees).
–At Backporch Coffee Roasters, Canadian folk singer Zachary Lucky will perform tonight, along with local fave Erin Cole-Baker. Lucky deserved more ink in last week’s GO! Magazine, but we found out about the show too late; the guy writes great songs. 7:30 p.m., $5.
–More Canadians — this time, party-grass combo the Clumsy Lovers — will invade Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom tonight. I haven’t seen ’em, but I know someone who has, and this person has extensive party experience, and he says the Lovers bring it. Hard. 9 p.m., $10.
–Local indie-rockers The Dirty Words somehow secured a rare Thursday night show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. If the Words are still planning on moving to Portland later this year, then time is running short if you’re planning on seeing ’em. Here’s a chance. 7 p.m., free.
—Last Band Standing continues at Boondock’s. The size of the crowds hasn’t waned, even as the competition enters its seventh (!) week. Tonight’s bill: StillFear, Thorns of Creation, Gebular, Group Therapy, Warm Gadget, aka maybe the heaviest week of the entire contest. 8 p.m., $5.
–Finally, at The Summit Saloon & Stage, a reggae band called Synrgy is playing. And they’re from Humboldt County, Calif., so you know they’ve got at least some genuine reggae vibe, even if they can’t spell “synergy.” 10 p.m., $5.
Portland indie-folk band Horse Feathers kicks off the new PDXchange Program concert series at the Tower Theatre. I spoke with head Feather Justin Ringle, and here’s an excerpt:
In the past couple of years, though, things have changed for Ringle.
He moved from one part of Portland to another. He changed band members; both (Peter and Heather Broderick) left the band, replaced by Nathan Crockett (violin), Catherine Odell (cello) and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cooper.
Then there’s the confidence Ringle has gained in the years since he moved from Idaho to Portland and ditched rock bands in favor of acoustic music.
“Any types of changes you have in your life … usually find their way into what you make. There’s no way around it; even if you try for it to not be there, it will be there,” Ringle said. “I just tried to be sensitive to that, because my life’s changed quite a bit … and I tried to embrace some of those things that were happening in my life … in the music. I think that’s where the little evolution comes in (and) this record sounds different.”
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this is a terrific band, and I hope you’ll read the whole thing here and then catch them Tuesday in Bend.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. Photo by Dean Guernsey / The Bulletin
Feedback returns this week and heads to the Tower Theatre to see Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. It was a nice change of pace from rock bands in bars!
The All Stars play reggae and African music, so repetition — of guitar riffs, percussion parts, lyrics — was an integral part of the stew. Time after time, the band built a polyrhythmic bed that would make a dead man shake it, and the twin guitarists and a rotating cast of vocalists would decorate that bed with glorious ribbons of melody.
The highlight of the night, for me, were the cascading guitars on “Kele Mani,” a wonderful example of the African highlife style that brought to mind a dancing fountain; when one melody began to fade, another took its place, gracefully and right in time.
Other standouts included the slow-simmering funk of “Jah Mercy,” a ultra-bouncy pop tune called “Soda Soap,” and the murky, psychedelic feel of a song that’s named “P. Malontone” on the set list. For the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out its real name.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: local rapper Mindscape holds a CD-release show, Runner Runner brings pop-rock to Silver Moon, Tribal Seeds will headline a big reggae show tonight, Mountain’s Edge will host five local bands and raise money for local dogs, Back from the Dead plays The Annex, Blowin’ Smoke makes NightSounds at the new Bend Performing Arts Center, and Jade’s Jazz Lounge rolls on in La Pine.
No pretty videos today, folks. Sorry about that. It’s just that things are ramping up on the local music scene, and these next several weeks are going to be crazy busy. After I’m done with this, I have to write about Horse Feathers and e-mail Sallie Ford and decide how to cover She & Him and prep for an interview with Ben from Band of Horses and get in touch with Mindscape and download photos of Blackstrap and listen to Trainwreck and figure out who the Goo Goo Dolls are. (Just kidding. I know who the Goo Goo Dolls are.)
So this week, we’re skipping the videos and just giving you the meat: In today’s music section in GO! Magazine, we have all the knowledge you need to go see:
–Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside at McMenamins
-the Charlie Hunter Trio at the Domino Room
-Moon Mountain Rambler guitarist Mäi’s CD-release show at Silver Moon
-local hero SPL playing a dubstep party at Astro Lounge
–Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at the Tower Theatre
–The Facemelter Tour‘s gang of death-metal bands at the Bend Event Center
–That 1 Guy at Silver Moon
-week five of Last Band Standing at Boondocks Bar & Grill
-a CD-release show celebrating the 11th recording released by students in Sisters High School’s Americana Project
-yet another CD-release show featuring the twisted roots-pop of Professor Gall
So … you’ve got all these options. Leave me a comment and tell me what you’re excited to see!
I finally made it out to the big Last Band Standing battle of the bands last night. It was the third week/round of the event; the first round happened on the night my daughter was born, and I skipped last week in favor of staying home and continuing to practice being a dad.
By last night, I was ready to ease back into the local music scene, and what better way than to venture into Boondocks Bar & Grill and see five Bend-based bands, three of which I’ve interviewed and written articles about, and three of which I’ve seen play before. The lineup: Shades of Society, Elliot, KouseFly, Tuck And Roll and Jones Road. At the end of the night, Elliot was declared the winner, and they’ll move on to the semifinals, to be held in June.
Here are some things that ran through my mind throughout the night:
Portland indie-pop combo The Ascetic Junkies are back in town, Saturday at Silver Moon. I spoke with founding members Matt Harmon and Kali Giaritta about their band’s past, present and future, plus something called “Junkies Cologne.” Here’s an excerpt:
So the couple landed in Portland and found one band mate on Craigslist and another busking on Hawthorne Avenue. Over the past year, they’ve played in Bend several times, as well as Seattle, Eugene, and, of course, all over their home town. In anticipation of their second album, which they’re recording now, they also recently signed on with the Timber Carnival Records, home to like-minded, Northwest-based bands like The Dimes, Derby and Hello Morning.
In other words, things are going well for Harmon and Giaritta. Which is nice, because that move to Portland was motivated not just by hiking and other good bands.
“The reason we moved here was to see what we could do and to see how far we could take this,” Harmon said. “So as far as we can go, that’s what we’re in it for. We’ve learned not to set deadline expectations, because sometimes things really surprise you, and then other times it takes a lot longer to sort of get to a level that you’re looking for. But we’ve been really pleasantly surprised and excited about how quickly we’ve been able to progress here.”
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Jerry Joseph brings his Jackmormons back to town, the a cappella group Sonos plays a Mother’s Day show, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas are at the Tower Theatre, Inimica and Thorns of Creation lead a bill of local metal, McMenamins Old St. Francis School hosts Casey Neill & the Norway Rats, and The Parental Advisory Tour brings Nashville Pussy, Green Jelly, Psychostick and more to Bend. Plus, an update on Last Band Standing, and there’s always more in our complete music listings.
Bend faves Head for the Hills return to town to play their biggest gig yet, a headlining slot at the Domino Room. My colleague Alandra Johnson talked to bassist Matt Loewen to find out how working with a very famous producer affected the band’s new, self-titled album.
The album also marked the first time the band worked with producer Drew Emmitt of Boulder jam band Leftover Salmon.
“He’s an incredible musician and a really great singer,” said Loewen.
The band also found Emmitt was skilled at helping them get the live feeling they all wanted to achieve on the new album.
Loewen said Emmitt had the ability to “hone in on that energy and sound.”
You really should read the whole thing right here.
Also in this week’s music section: the heavy, industrial rock of Powerman 5000 returns to Bend, local metal combo Kleverkill plays a CD-release show, California pop band Lakes headlines the Blues Amuse and Brews fundraiser, the new Jade’s Jazz Lounge celebrates its grand opening in La Pine, the Central Oregon Songwriters Association holds its annual Song of the Year show, and an update on the big Last Band Standing battle happening each Thursday at Boondocks. And you can always find much more in our complete music listings.