Posts Tagged ‘PDXchange Program’

Win two guest-list spots to see The Helio Sequence in Bend

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The veteran, Portland-based indie/electro-pop/rock duo The Helio Sequence returns to Bend Wednesday night to headline another PDXchange Program show at the Tower Theatre. I’m sure you read my interview with guitarist Brandon Summers in Friday’s GO! Magazine; if not, do so here.

Anyway, PDXchange guru Henry Abel has kindly given Frequency a handful of the show’s guest-list spots to give away, and I think I’ll give away a pair today and a pair tomorrow. To summarize, here is what those spots would get you and a friend:

— An opening set by the fine local rock trio All You All, whose new “digital single” represents, in my opinion, a big step forward in their songwriting, and who bring it live, too.

— A set by Portland “folktronic” duo Talkdemonic, who’ve toured with some decent little bands you may have heard of like The National, The Walkmen and Modest Mouse.

— An hour or more (I assume) of The Helio Sequence‘s lush, melancholic music played live. This stuff sounds pretty intricate on the band’s excellent albums, which makes it all the more impressive when you see two dudes creating those same sounds right in front of your eyes. I saw them play the Tower in 2010 and you can read my review here.

So, do you want to go to the show? Here’s all you have to do: Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me your favorite musical duo, and why they’re your favorite. It can be a band, or a songwriting team, or whatever. Just make sure it’s two people who make music. Do so by 9 a.m. tomorrow, when I’ll pick a winner. (Be sure to leave a real email address so I can get in touch, OK?) I’ll send your name to Henry and you’ll have a +1 at the door.

Still unsure about whether to enter? Here’s one last pitch: The Helio Sequence’s most recent release, 2012’s “Negotiations,” is the latest in a long line of remarkably consistent albums from Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel. Check out a full, free stream of the album right here and see if it’s up your alley:

And hey, if you hate free tickets or just want to ensure your seat right now, tickets are available via the Tower Theatre and at Ranch Records in Bend.

Wish granted: PDXchange to return in 2011, first date announced

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Last Friday in GO! Magazine, I published a wish list for the local music scene in 2011, including my heartfelt hope that Henry Abel’s PDXchange Program would return for a second season of bringing Portland-based indie rock bands to Bend’s Tower Theatre.

Looks like I’ll get my wish: According to an e-mail I just received from the publicist for Portland-based and Bend-connected band Loch Lomond, the band is scheduled to play the Tower on March 7 as part of a tour with another fine Portland band, Viva Voce, plus the amazing Seattle singer-songwriter Damien Jurado.

In an e-mail this morning, Abel confirmed that this is indeed the first PDXchange show of 2011. Stoked. He also wanted you to know that people who join his mailing list at will get more details and links to buy tickets when they go on sale.

Top 5 things Weinland can check off their “Someday that will be us” list, by Adam Shearer

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

When the excellent Portland indie-folk band Weinland played in Bend a couple times last year, I covered those appearances extensively; see here and here and here to get up to speed. Tonight, the band returns to town, sharing a bill with Laura Veirs at the Tower Theatre for the final PDXchange Program show of the year. Find details on the show (and Veirs) here.

Because it’s been a while since we chatted, I wrote Weinland frontman Adam Shearer and asked him what’s been going on with the band. Turns out they’ve been quite busy, with a bunch of exciting things happening, especially recently. So here’s a list of the top five things Weinland can check off their “Someday that will be us” list, as submitted by Mr. Shearer himself.

• Weinland Was Featured on NPR
Weinland was recently featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered. NPR selected our version of Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do” for their FM broadcast. Check it out by clicking here. The track comes from the new Zeppelin tribute entitled “The Land of Ice and Snow,” which also features Laura Veirs, M. Ward, Chris Walla, and many more.

• Weinland’s Music is on MTV
Weinland was recently featured on one of MTV’s most popular programs, “The World of Jenks.” The show featured our track “I Feel Wasted” from “Breaks in The Sun” in their third episode. Fingers crossed: They just requested two more songs and we’re hoping for more news of this nature. Read what we had to say about it on our blog.

• Weinland Played with The Decemberists
Ya, we did! And it was awesome. Just to make sure we made the most of it, we also covered “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas, and the security guards told us that they all agreed we were their favorite band … but only because we paid tribute to Kansas. :)

• Weinland Is Going to SXSW
Last year Weinland was invited to showcase at the 2010 South by Southwest Music Festival. SXSW is one of the largest music festivals in the country and a big feather in the cap. But we couldn’t go, because I (Adam) had a baby on the way and that baby was due the last day of the festival … which happens in Austin … which is too far from Portland (when you have a baby on the way). My son is now a happy 7-month-old and Weinland just received an advanced invitation to showcase at next year’s festival (March 2011). We’ll see you in Austin!

• Weinland Has Started Their Best Record Yet.
Seriously, we’re really excited about it. We can’t say anything else about it now, but just know that Weinland is gearing up for a big year!

Weinland has a Facebook page, and you probably do, too, so go be their buddy by clicking here. Then go see them tonight, with Laura Veirs, at the Tower Theatre in Bend. Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15 plus fees, available through the venue.

Win 2 tickets to Wednesday’s Laura Veirs / Weinland show (UPDATED)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

UPDATE: Oops! I guess something wasn’t working correctly yesterday, and folks who tried to comment got error messages. Sorry about that. So I’m extending and expanding this contest.

Here’s the new deal: Cassondra of Bend already has claim to one pair of tickets, but I have two more pairs to give away. The first two people who comment and can also pick up their pair at The Bulletin (1777 S.W. Chandler Ave., Bend) before the show can have ’em. Comments should work now, so get to it! Leave a real e-mail address and I’ll be in touch ASAP.

Two excellent Portland-based indie-folk acts — Laura Veirs and Weinland — are playing at Bend’s Tower Theatre on Wednesday as part of the PDXchange Program, and I have a handful of tickets to give away. If you enjoy great music, you should go to this show, and you should want these tickets.

Anyway, today’s giveaway is easy: Just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll pick a winner at random at 6 tonight. You’ll need to be able to pick up the tickets from The Bulletin on Tuesday or Wednesday, and be sure to leave a valid e-mail address so I can get in touch.

Look for a couple other giveaways on Frequency’s Facebook and Twitter in the next couple days.

Oh, and here’s my feature story on Laura Veirs from last week’s GO! Magazine, and here’s my favorite song of hers:

[Video] Blind Pilot at the Tower Theatre

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

(We’ve got some catching up to do here at Frequency, where posts have become too infrequent recently. So here’s part one of “Better Late Than Never Week.” Today’s episode: Blind Pilot videos.)

No doubt about it, Blind Pilot — fast-rising, Portland-based creators of genial, gentle indie-folk-pop — is a well-oiled musical machine. Frontman Israel Nebeker writes catchy, compelling songs. His six-piece band is a highly skilled amalgam of moving parts that somehow finds a nice balance between breathless urgency and measured restraint. On stage, they seem humble and likable; they do their jobs with an easy, understated grace that’s hard to find in a world where bands must increasingly rely on bells and whistles (in addition to — sometimes instead of — songs and skills) to get noticed in an overpopulated music scene.

But for whatever reason, Blind Pilot doesn’t resonate with me. I recognize their considerable strengths, but can’t personally connect with what they do so well. And that’s OK. Lots of people can. Lots of people love them, as evidenced by the large crowd that showed up to their show Wednesday night at the Tower Theatre. It was the best-attended concert so far in the wonderful PDXchange Program series, and the band’s first show since they played two nights at the spacious, 780-capacity Wonder Ballroom back in December.

Facts are facts: Blind Pilot is a much bigger band/draw than my brain seems to think they are. And they’re going to get even bigger when their new album comes out next year, for all those reasons I listed above. Because in this missed connection, it’s not them, it’s me.

(Before we get to the videos, one note: In Friday’s GO! Magazine, I wrote a little review of Bend artist Sara Jackson-Holman’s performance at MusicfestNW and noted her occasional nervousness on stage. That was true when I wrote it, and will probably be true in the near future. But during Jackson-Holman’s set opening for Blind Pilot at the Tower, jitters were few and far between. It was the best set I’ve seen from her so far, with covers of Leonard Cohen and the Postal Service sprinkled among songs from her debut album “When You Dream.”)

Here’s Blind Pilot playing a new song, which they declined to name when asked by someone in the audience.

And here’s “Go On, Say It” from the breakthrough album “3 Rounds and a Sound.”

[Video / review] The Thermals at the Tower Theatre

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

This is the space where I really should give you an extensive review of last night’s PDXchange Program show at the Tower Theatre, featuring Portland indie-punk trio The Thermals.

You know the kind. The kind that says things like the band played a solid, hourlong set of songs drawn almost entirely from their three most recent records. The kind that describes how Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster have grown leaps and bounds since I last saw them (Boise, 2004), from fast/furious fun-punks to creators of some of indie rock’s most anthemic, singalong pop songs.

I’d talk a bit about how Foster may be my favorite bassist, period, and how her pogoing and playing is a joy to watch. And I’d jump from there into an observation of how her bass lines drive many of the songs on The Thermals’ new album “Personal Life,” which came out Tuesday. I’d give you specific examples; she was obviously the engine within “Not Like Any Other Feeling” and “Never Listen To Me,” the latter a slinky new-wave tune that sounded like the old Weezer offshoot The Rentals. (That’s foreshadowing, people. Read on.)

Of course, I’d note Harris’ ability to make magic with power chords. Thermals songs walk a fine line between being a bit same-y and just varied enough to remain interesting. They almost always fall on the right side of that line. And I’d mention the exuberance of drummer Westin Glass, who seems like a good fit for this band after a parade of timekeepers over the years.

I’d offer a little constructive criticism to the PDXchange folks: Something wasn’t quite right with the sound. All night (including for openers The Autonomics), the guitars seemed a tad muffled, and the vocals should’ve been louder. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t perfect, and I know the PDXchange team likes things to be perfect. And, of course, I’d wonder aloud whether this was the single most rawkin’ show in the long history of the Tower, a venue known for its acoustics, comfort, and sometimes staid atmosphere. During “St. Rosa and the Swallows,” I could actually feel the theater’s creaky old floor bouncing and straining beneath me as Thermals fans danced around. Late in the evening, a real, live mosh pit broke out — a first in that room, no doubt.

BUT! None of that matters. It was all pretty much blitzed from my brain by the way The Thermals closed the night. They wrapped the main set with one of my absolute favorite songs of the past 10 years, “A Pillar of Salt.” They ended the encore with “No Culture Icons,” the perfect, lo-fi fuzznugget from their first album that introduced me to The Thermals years ago. And in between, they covered Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas.” Behold:

It was glorious. I couldn’t believe how many people in the audience seemed to know every word, singing along and pumping their fists. “But we’re still making noise! MAKING NO-OH-OH-OISE!”

“Pillar” -> “Jonas” -> “Icons” = it didn’t matter to me one bit what The Thermals did in the first hour of their show last night. I mean, they were really good in that hour — better than I expected, actually — but the truth is those last three songs were all I needed. They could’ve come out, played those, and waved goodnight, and I’d have left happy. The rest was just icing on the cake.

Here are a couple other songs from last night:


Win two tickets to see The Thermals in Bend!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Cool: Below is the new video for “I Don’t Believe You” from “Personal Life,” the upcoming album from Portland indie-pop-punk idols The Thermals. It’s a fun clip that stars Carrie Brownstein, she of NPR’s highly readable Monitor Mix blog (when she’s not taking a break from it, as she is now) and a certain trail-blazing rawk trio from the Northwest. Oh, and there’s a very quick cameo at the very end by another well-known Northwest rocker.

Cooler: The Thermals will release “Personal Life” on Sept. 7, although you can get an instant download and some free stuff if you pre-order it now from Kill Rock Stars.

Coolest: On Sept. 8, exactly one day after their new album drops, The Thermals will play the Tower Theatre in Bend as part of the PDXchange Program. Speaking of which …

ICE COLD: We’re giving away two tickets to see The Thermals in Bend! All you have to do is be the first person to leave a comment below identifying that guy in the last six seconds of the video AND tell me your favorite Thermals song, and they’re yours. (You’ll need to be able to pick your tickets up at The Bulletin in Bend. Be sure to leave a real e-mail address so I can get in touch with you.)

Ready … GO!

PDXchange Program adds three dates: The Thermals, Blind Pilot, Laura Veirs/Weinland

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Henry Abel’s PDXchange Program, which brings Portland-based indie bands to the Tower Theatre, picked up some serious momentum last night when Abel announced his next three shows:

Sept. 8 — The Thermals
Sept. 29 — Blind Pilot
Oct. 27 — Laura Veirs and Weinland

What a score for PDXchange. The Thermals and Blind Pilot — two very different bands — are the series’ biggest names yet. Blind Pilot will play the Tower just weeks after a slot at the gigantic Austin City Limits Festival in Texas, and a year after the brought some indie-pop flavor to the Sisters Folk Festival. And political punk-poppers The Thermals will play Bend the day after their new album, “Personal Life,” is released.

Plus … how cool is it gonna be to see The Thermals at the Tower Theatre!?

Not to mention, both Veirs and Weinland frontman Adam Shearer are brilliant songwriters and terrific performers.

Man, that is a solid lineup of shows. Kudos, Henry. Anyway, local openers will be added and sale dates for tickets will be announced, and you can be among the first to get that kind of information by signing up for PDXchange’s mailing list at the website.

Video: The Helio Sequence at the Tower Theatre

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Another terrific show and very cool scene last night at the Tower Theatre as Portland’s The Helio Sequence came to town, thanks to the PDXchange Program. Locals the Empty Space Orchestra opened (in matching suits!) and no doubt earned some new fans, and ESO drummer Lindsey Elias reappeared at the end of Helio’s main set and joined them for a twin-drum-attack version of “Harmonica Song.”

The Helio Sequence, in my opinion, is one of Portland’s very best and most underrated bands, and I’ll tell you why when I review the show in next week’s GO! Magazine, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, check out four — count ’em, four — songs I caught on video. (The one with Lindsey is up first.)

Video / review: Horse Feathers at the Tower Theatre

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

(Note: This is kind of long, so please be sure to click below to see the whole thing, including three videos from the show of Horse Feathers performing and one of the Sweet Harlots.)

I don’t know whether PDXchange Program organizer Henry Abel considers his inaugural show — Portland-based quartet Horse Feathers, Tuesday night at the Tower Theatre — to be a success or not. I know he was, understandably, concerned about ticket sales, and to me, it looked like the Tower was pretty full on the floor, but pretty empty in the balcony. I don’t know how that pencils out.

But I can tell you this: From the show-goer’s perspective, PDXchange’s first night was a smashing success. From top to bottom, everything ran smoothly, looked good, and sounded amazing. Horse Feathers, in particular, put on a stunning performance that I only wish had been a few songs longer.