In early December, the Facebook profile for Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater posted this:
Today, someone sent me a fan-made graphic that is apparently making the rounds on message boards and social media and is purported to show the Dave Matthews Band’s 2014 summer tour dates. (Visit the source, DMBnews.net, to read about where these dates were “culled,” as well as some tweets on the topic by DMB violinist Boyd Tinsley.)
Note August 26.
August 26 is not exactly “the 4th weekend of August,” but it’s pretty darn close, and — if these two things are connected — it’s possible Matthews’ camp was discussing a range of days with the Schwab. Also, I have to believe that the number of artists big enough to convince the Schwab to reschedule the Bend Brewfest is fairly small. However, Dave Matthews qualifies as “big enough,” in my opinion.
Anyway, I asked Marney Smith, the manager of Les Schwab Amphitheater, about this and she couldn’t confirm anything, but said the venue and the company that books it, Portland-based Monqui Presents, is “working hard on the 2014 concert season.”
(I put the word “somehow” in the subject line because this has been covered everywhere and created lots of discussion, but maybe there’s a reader out there who’s been out of the loop.)
Beginning with tonight’s Michael Franti & Spearhead concert, the Old Mill District will not allow people to sit across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater and listen to the music for free.
I’d give you some of the reasons for the move, but since I wrote 1,200 words on the subject in Friday’s paper, I think a link will do: Read the article.
Hate clicking links? Well, here’s arguably the biggest reason among several:
The Old Mill is making the move now to curb rumors in the touring industry that Les Schwab Amphitheater is not a secure venue, said the venue’s manager, Marney Smith. Monqui Presents, the Portland-based company that books bands at the amphitheater, has heard in recent conversations with potential 2014 bookings that Les Schwab Amphitheater “is not the right place to go,” in Oregon, Smith said.
With increased competition for touring acts in Portland and Eugene, and from Jacksonville’s Britt Festival, that’s not a reputation the Schwab can afford to have, she said, especially in a music industry where declining album sales are forcing bands to make their money on the road.
“(Bands and their representatives are) looking at how they can make the most out of each stop. And if they’re looking at Oregon … they’re going to pick the (place) that they can sell the most tickets to and they can guarantee they can make the most money,” Smith said. “We’re getting a reputation that we want to nip in the bud: that we’re a venue that people can see the music for free.”
A crowd gathers on the patio at Greg’s Grill across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater during a 2009 concert by the country band Sugarland.
One of the bright spots in Les Schwab Amphitheater’s relatively light (though getting a bit beefier) schedule of big-ticket events so far this summer is the emergence of a new concert series called Backstage at LSA, put on by local arts promoter Rise Up Presents.
Backstage shows will happen — wait for it! — behind the amphitheater’s stage, near the white house and train cars used as hospitality facilities when big rock stars are in town. Tickets will be reasonably priced — $8.50 in advance, $10 at the gate — and the lineup looks pretty great so far:
June 21 — Larry and His Flask (album release), with Slaughter Daughters and Grit & Grizzle
July 6 — Y La Bamba, with Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas and Silvero
July 13 — Reggae on the River, with Indubious and Taimani & The Minor Islands
Please note the words “album release” on that June 21 date. Yes, Central Oregon-based thrashgrass heroes Larry and His Flask are ready to unveil their new album “By the Lamplight,” which was recorded in Michigan earlier this year, before the group’s recent two-month European tour (part of which was spent opening for the huge-in-England folk-punk artist Frank Turner).
I’ll have some more thoughts on “By the Lamplight” in Friday’s GO! Magazine. In the meantime, here’s a fun video of the guys performing the first song on the new album, called “Pandemonum.” Enjoy.
Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! And music, music, music! Woo-hoo!
Les Schwab Amphitheater’s free Summer Sunday concert series kicks off this weekend with the West Coast Americana of Portland’s Redwood Son. My colleague David Jasper talked to the band’s principal member, Josh Malm, about his massive 2011 album “The Lion’s Inside.”
A 20-song, two-disc set is, uh, rather long for a debut, isn’t it?
“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said. “Everybody says that: ‘Wow, nobody does that.’ I’m like, ‘I know!’ Either I’m a genius, or I’m stupid. I’m not really sure.”
Either way, recording it “was kind of a cleansing experience,” Malm said. He’d been set to do one album, and then his drummer, Kipp Crawford, a founding member of Redwood Son, was killed — in a hit-and-run, according to Willamette Week.
“And so then I was just confused about what I wanted to do musically in general, because it’s obviously pretty deflating for everybody,” Malm said.
“I made two albums that were very specific. It was two different bands, two producers, two studios. It was literally trading off where I would put energy. I would spend a few weeks on this album, then leave that alone for a little bit. I just did that for about eight months.”
You’ll find the whole thing — including the full Summer Sunday lineup — right here.
In this week’s Feedback, I reviewed last weekend’s shows at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, featuring Cake and Built to Spill on Saturday night and Sigur Ros and Julianna Barwick on Sunday. Here’s an excerpt.
As always, Sigur Ros was a study in dynamics, stretching songs to five, seven, 10 minutes and beyond, and using that time to grow whispered ambient sounds into a massive wall of noise, including small horn and string sections, various keyboards, kitchen-sink percussion and Birgisson’s bowed guitar and helium-pitched voice.
Picking favorites from this near-endless buffet of beauty is difficult, but I loved the heavenly arpeggios of “Hoppipolla” and the triumphant march of “Olsen Olsen.” And “Svefn-g-Englar” at sunset ranks as one of my all-time favorite Schwab moments.
After dark, I dug how the set shifted from sweet to strident in the second half of “Festival,” and from strident to sinister for a new song called “Brennesteinn” that booms and buzzes like nothing else in the band’s catalog.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Four reggae/ska bands play the Domino Room tonight, The Honeycutters bring genuine Appalachian twang to McMenamins Wednesday, Moondog Matinee and Hopeless Jack & The Handsome Devil team up Saturday night at The Horned Hand, Eclectic Approach visits The Astro Lounge tonight, Silver Moon hosts hip-hop tonight and Laura Ivancie on Saturday, and more!
In tomorrow’s GO! Magazine, I’ll have a full review of last weekend’s concerts at Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater, featuring Sigur Ros, Cake, Built to Spill and Julianna Barwick. But right now, you should scroll down and check out a bunch of terrific photos of the shows (and crowds) taken by The Bulletin’s Joe Kline.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan at the Tower Theatre, The Newsboys come to Redmond, the Astro Lounge hosts two nights of bass music, The Horde & The Harem and Hillstomp highlight a busy week at The Horned Hand, Naive Melodies pay tribute to Talking Heads and more.
— ’90s alt-rock survivors Cake will perform on Saturday, May 25. Tickets cost $37 plus fees in advance.
— Icelandic experimental post-rock group Sigur Ros will play on Sunday, May 26. Tickets cost $44 plus fees in advance.
Tickets to both shows will be available starting at 10 a.m. Friday morning at The Ticket Mill (541-318-5457) or at the amphitheater’s website.
And to answer the obvious question: The Schwab’s Memorial Day weekend schedule typically — or, at least, ideally — includes a Friday-night show, but none was announced along with Cake and Sigur Ros. That doesn’t mean a Friday show isn’t happening; one can be added later. The venue and the company that books the concerts are trying to fill that night as we speak.
Part of that column is the lineup for Les Schwab Amphitheater’s Summer Sunday concert series, which has become one of the coolest (and most popular) things to do in Bend in the sunny months. These shows are attracting bigger and bigger crowds each year, and with good reason. They’re free. They’re family friendly. You can bring your own food and drink, and even your pet. Good times.
Anyway, the LSA crew confirmed one more date in this series after we published today’s column, so here’s the whole lineup:
June 2 — Redwood Son (West Coast Americana)
June 9 — Tremoloco (Mexican-American roots)
June 23 — Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside (throwback roots-pop)
June 30 — Marley’s Ghost (traditional country)
July 14 — Tumbleweed Wanderers (folk-rock ‘n’ soul)
July 21 — Sassparilla (blues-punk)
July 28 — Tony Smiley (one-man loop-rock)
Aug. 4 — Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole (Cajun/zydeco)
That’s a strong slate, folks. Sallie Ford is great. Tremoloco is great. Smiley and Sassparilla have lots of fans around here. Cedric Watson should bring a little flavor to Bend. And I’ve heard good things about a couple of the others. I look forward to digging in and planning my summer Sundays.
You can find more info on this and other music at Les Schwab Amphitheater by visiting the venue’s website.
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!