Posts Tagged ‘Players’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 26th, 2013

I’m not gonna lie to you, folks: Today’s music section in GO! Magazine is chock full of great stuff. Examples? OK!

One of my favorite rappers, Aesop Rock, returns to Bend Saturday night for a show at the Domino Room. I emailed him some questions about his very personal new album “Skelethon,” and he emailed back some answers.

GO!: I’m sure self-producing the record influenced the sound and style of “Skelethon,” but how about the lyrics and themes? It’s dark in places, and feels very “dude in a room kicking stuff out of his brain” to me, if that makes sense.

AR: Yeah, that sounds about right. The short answer is that this is my first solo album since the passing of my best friend, Camu Tao. A lot of death and related topics come and go, and there’s a lot of just figuring out how to process that kind of thing in there. A lot of thinking out loud within the lyrics. I don’t think I ever get too sad or too dark, or at least when I do it is still in a very human way, in my opinion. Just because it’s about death doesn’t mean it’s a bunch of sad and depressing music on there.

Read the whole thing by clicking here.

The local metal band Inimica performs at Players Bar & Grill in 2010. Photo by Ben.

The local metal band Inimica performs at Players Bar & Grill in 2010. Photo by Ben.

In Feedback, I wrote a fond farewell to westside-Bend dive and local-music institution Players Bar & Grill. And I started the piece off with a quote from a familiar face in Central Oregon’s punk scene.

“Players Bar & Grill has got to be my favorite bar to play at. No other bar in Central Oregon would put up with some of the rowdy shows that we put on and still pay us. It’s the only place in town that I can put on free shows for people and the bar kicks down a few hundred bucks so we can give gas money to bring in out of town bands. I see so many great bands that I want to bring in and share with Bend, and Players lets me do that. Sometimes people don’t realize it’s a bar like this that helps keep the punk scene alive.”

— Darin Lones of The Confederats in The Bulletin, Jan. 5, 2007

Click here and read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in the music section: Judy Collins brings 50 years of folk history to the Tower Theatre, Tony Furtado plays The Belfry, Johnsmith has two gigs this weekend, surf-rockers King Ghidora invade The Horned Hand, Vampirates’ 10th anniversary tour stops in Bend, live music begins at Volcanic Theatre Pub and Parrilla Grill hosts two interesting local bands: All You All and Isles.

Local music venues as seen in Google Street View

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

I’m a big fan of the Street View feature on Google Maps, which allows you to virtually plop down into the middle of a place and, through the magic of street-level imagery, see what’s happening there, or at least what was happening when Google’s funky little camera car rolled through.

I use Street View all the time for all kinds of reasons, from simply trying to get a better idea of something’s exact location to touring cities I’ve never visited. It’s fun. So for the past several years, Bend’s lack of Street View was frustrating. At first, there were no roads highlighted in blue when you dragged that little yellow dude across the map. Then, it was just our town’s traffic arteries.

But last night, I noticed that Google has finally blanketed Bend in Street View! And the second thing I thought to do — after look at my house, of course — was to check out some of our town’s busiest music venues. (Weird, I know.)

Anyway, I ended up grabbing screenshots of several, and when you line ‘em all up, it’s kind of an interesting view of a group of buildings that many folks may know and love and/or tolerate, but because of the blurry, nighttime nature of their business, have never really looked at before. (The Tower Theatre and Les Schwab Amphitheater being obvious exceptions here.)

So enjoy this peek at Bend’s busiest music venues brightened by the harsh light of day. And you can click here to check out others on your own.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Domino Room and Midtown Ballroom. In case you can't read the marquee, it says "ROACH GIG CANCELED" ... which is funny, because the rapper's name is Roach Gigz, but it still works. The Roach gig was canceled, after all.

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The Underground: Closed for good.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Just four months after opening with a lot of potential and promises, The Underground has permanently closed, according to co-owner Diana Larson.

The club — located in the old Club 97 space, under the Spotted Mule on Third Street — had a few concerts on its schedule, including a reggae show and a country show this weekend, plus a Sublime tribute band (not 40 Oz. to Freedom) later this month, but those shows are not happening at The Underground. If they move to another venue, I’ll let you know.

A note posted to the club’s MySpace said The Underground’s management team is cleaning out the space. In an e-mail, Larson said the team is “very sad and discouraged” about the closure.

“We so wanted to have a great venue for live music here, and we finally got minors allowed in, but the people just weren’t ready to support it I guess,” she wrote. “It was sad Friday night with a live country band and we only had 60 people. Saturday with heavy metal/rock we didn’t even have that many. I don’t know what happened or why, but it is what it is.”

Indeed, it is. Now let’s balance the bad news with some good news for the local music scene: Two former employees of the venerable west-side bar Players are now booking music at other Bend bars. Buck Bales, whose departure from Players caused a kerfuffle in June, has just begun bringing music to Mountain’s Edge, formerly Timbers South on Bend’s south end. And Becki Spor, who worked with Bales at Players, started booking music at The Black Horse Saloon in northeast Bend a few months ago, and has already brought in a few fine shows, including last weekend’s visit from The Lonely H.

Bad news, good news; sometimes it seems Bend’s music scene is like that episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry always comes out even. Whenever one place or one person in town shuts off the live-music pipeline, it seems another is there to take its place.

The real scoop on the situation at Players Bar

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Players Bar & Grill

If you follow the Bend music scene closely, you probably know there’s been some turnover at Players Bar & Grill.

And even if you don’t, you may have seen the words “THE SHOWS WILL GO ON” on the west-Bend bar’s marquee and wondered what’s up.

Rumors are flying, but here’s the scoop, straight from former manager Buck Bales and new manager Chrissi Thompson:

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Review: The High Strung at Players

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

The High Strung at Players

(Check out the photo above and 10 others from the show at Frequency’s Flickr photo pool. You can also get to it through that little widget on the right side of the blog. Got photos of music being made in Central Oregon? Add them to the pool!)

If a band rocks a dive bar and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

That’s the question about the set The High Strung played at Players Bar & Grill on Friday night.

It’d be inaccurate to say that no one was there, of course. Throughout the Detroit trio’s set, the crowd dwindled from about three dozen to 15 or so folks, and that included me, the bar’s staff, and members of opening act No Cash Value. (I showed up just in time to catch No Cash do a couple catchy punk numbers, ending their set with a cover of the Misfits’ “Skulls.” They sounded great, and I made a mental note to make sure I see more of them soon.)

And truth be told, it’d probably be inaccurate to say The High Strung rocked the bar. It was more like a jostling. That said, the band performed about as well as you could expect, considering they were playing for so few people.

When The High Strung took the stage, frontman Josh Malerman proposed to his band mates a half-hour set. They ran over that by half, and this band can fit a lot of music into 45 minutes. Malerman and company delivered three-minute pop gems fast and furious, breaking only to decide what to play next.

The High Strung’s sound is pure pop filtered through a prism of garage grit, like The Who playing Beatles songs. Malerman is the ringleader and drummer Derek Berk is a beast behind the kit, but it’s bassist Chad Stocker who’s most fun to watch; his flailing and headbanging didn’t seem dampened by the small audience.

Those who stuck it out seemed appreciative. Scattered hoots and hollers and claps followed each song, and The High Strung stayed relentlessly positive, complimenting No Cash Value and saying how stoked they were to play a new town. (The band played for kids at the Bend Public Library in 2006, but this was their first club show here.)

Near the end of their set, Stocker stopped to pimp the stuff for sale at the band’s merch table, and an onlooker yelled (I’m paraphrasing here) “Less banter with the crowd!” (even though there really hadn’t been that much). Without missing a beat, Stocker replied: “We’re doing our usual amount of banter, there’s just fewer people.”