Posts Tagged ‘The Helio Sequence’

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.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Click to read, yo!

I talked to Brandon Summers of The Helio Sequence about the making of his band’s new album “Negotiations.” The Helio Sequence will play at Bend’s Tower Theatre Wednesday.

My colleague David Jasper learned the definition of “brony” and got an invite to join the Canadian pop band Hey Ocean! They’ll be at The Sound Garden Sunday night.

Local roots-rocker David Bowers chats with a badger skull about his return to Central Oregon after a few years in the Bay Area. He’ll be celebrating his birthday Saturday night at Silver Moon.

Elsewhere in today’s music section: Earphunk, a weekend full of music at Broken Top Bottle Shop, a brutal death metal show and more. Please note that there’s also a brief on a scheduled show in Bend by the dubstep DJ Excision, but that show has been canceled.

Baker’s Dozen: The 13 best concerts of 2010 in Central Oregon

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I’ve gone on and on about my favorite recordings of 2010, but live music is the backbone of any good scene. Here is a look back my 13 favorite shows of the past 12 months in chronological order, with excerpts from reviews already published in The Bulletin or on Frequency.

The White Buffalo, Jan. 26, Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom

(Jake) Smith’s talents are many, but his voice is obviously his most distinctive quality. It’s a show-stopper. A jaw-dropper. It’s canyon deep and sequoia strong, with a natural resonance that 99 percent of singers would kill to have.

The closest comparison I can come up with is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though when he’s at his best, Smith makes Vedder sound like Bobby Brady going through puberty.

He’s just that great of a singer.

Smith showcased that voice on barnburners like “The Madman” and “Carnage,” with their ultra-low notes, as well as meandering, pretty numbers such as “Sleepy Little Town” and “Where Dirt and Water Collide.” And he let it soar during two of his best songs, “Love Song #1” and “Damned.” The ascendant pre-chorus of the former and the roller-coaster verses of the latter were perfect examples of Smith’s skill for writing melodies that are both unconventional and memorable.

(more…)

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Branden Miskimon practices holding a guitar while Rhythm Culture plays Munch & Music in 2009.

Summer is here! (Almost.) And so are the free, outdoor concert series around Central Oregon. Portland bands The Lights Out and Rosa’s Buds will kick off Les Schwab Amphitheater’s free Summer Sunday Concerts series on Sunday, and we’ve got the rest of that lineup and a roundup of other series right here.

Brandon Summers of The Helio Sequence. Photo by Ben Salmon / The Bulletin.

Portland electro-pop wizards The Helio Sequence came to Bend June 3 to play the PDXchange Program concert series. You can watch several videos of the show here, and here’s an excerpt of my review:

The band’s records are wonderful, warm baths of electro-indie-pop, equal parts organic and synthetic. Brandon Summers’ voice is honeyed, and his melodies float like cotton-candy clouds. And Benjamin Weikel is a machine on the drums, not literally, of course — don’t you hate it when people misuse literally? — but his rhythm seems metronomic, and he looks animatronic as he works.

Helio’s set list stuck mostly to the band’s excellent 2008 album “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” though they sprinkled in the best bits from 2004’s “Love and Distance.” The set was nicely paced, ramping up from a relaxed beginning to a second-half stretch that included some of the band’s very best songs.

Of particular note was “Everyone Knows Everyone,” a buoyant tune about living in a town with a tight-knit music scene, and the title track from “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” with its needle-sharp, high-pitched guitar licks that would sound quite cozy on just about any Modest Mouse song.

Summers and Weikel closed their set with the roiling melancholy of “Lately” (as a perfectly psychedelic light show shone behind them) and “Hallelujah” before calling ESO drummer Lindsey Elias onto the stage for “Harmonica Song.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Crunchy Texas country-rock band The Preservation plays Silver Moon, Taarka principals David Tiller and Enion Pelta-Tiller do a special duo show at The Wine Shop, Texas songwriting master Eric Taylor comes to town for a house concert, and The Annex hosts a benefit for a Redmond woman in need of a lung transplant, plus David Jacobs-Strain, Broken Down Guitars, Audiolized and Dust Bunny Monster, and an update on Last Band Standing. If that won’t do, you can always find more options in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.

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.)

Whoa! Busy Thursday night!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

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.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Fairly ginormous week of music in Central Oregon, isn’t it? This is awesome! Let’s jump in …

(I am currently obsessed with this song.)

Band-on-the-verge Band of Horses plays at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend on Sunday. I chatted with head Horse Ben Bridwell — one of the nicest musicians I’ve interviewed, I might add — about how he’s feeling as he stares down fame.

“But with me it’s never really been about some grand ambition to be the biggest band in the world. I guess, if anything, it makes me happy when we can make more people happy,” he said. “But people say, ‘You guys are going to be the next Kings of Leon’ or whatever, and that terrifies me more than anything.”

Terrifies? Bridwell elaborates: “I came into this game so late; I didn’t start playing guitar and singing until my late 20s. It’s never been that comfortable of a position for me. So I feel like I can barely keep up as it is (with) trying to curb the anxiety of performing and stuff like that. It scares me to think that we would be in the position of Pearl Jam, where you have an arena of people that you have to (impress). It seems like a lot of responsibility, right?”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here. Also, Band of Horses is co-headlining Sunday’s show with retro-pop duo She & Him, aka Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. My colleague David Holley interviewed Ward, and you can read that here.

’90s alt-rock holdover the Goo Goo Dolls will kick off the 2010 Bend Summer Concerts series tonight. Another colleague, Adrianne Jeffries, spoke with bassist Robby Takac about being in a band for nearly a quarter-century.

We have fans from 6 to 60 coming to the shows, which is pretty interesting to me to watch, seeing the sort of generation gaps being broken … People with kids come to the show and they’re like, “Hey man, we’ve been playing your band for our kids since they were infants!” Since they were infants? For God’s sake, the kid’s got a beard!

You should read the rest of the interview here.

Need more laughter in your life? Maybe you need to see Trainwreck — featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D — at Mountain’s Edge Bar in Bend tonight. Yet another colleague, David Jasper, shot the bull with Gass a couple of weeks ago.

Along with Gass, whose wigged alter-ego in the group is Klip Calhoun, Trainwreck also contains “biker-hayseed” Darryl Donald, also known as “Lee,” Jason Reed or JR.

“Klip is the gentle, maternal matriarch of the group; he nurtures the boys,” Gass explain ed while strumming his guitar in the background. “As contrasted to JR, who plays Darryl Donald, who’s kind of the fiery, quick-tempered, lead-singer type. So we’re kind of the mom and dad, and then the boys, as we call them, they all bow to our will.”

The “boys” are most of Tenacious D’s live and studio band: Shredman, Boy Johnny and Dallas St. Bernard.

“I’ve arranged it so I do little or no work out there,” Gass claim ed. “I don’t even pick up my own guitar. I assign everyone else, just because I pay, and whoever has the gold makes the rules.”

Check out the whole thing by clicking here.

In many other weeks, The Helio Sequence at the Tower Theatre or local bluegrass band Blackstrap’s CD-release party at McMenamins would be excellent candidates for big, fancy feature stories in GO! Magazine. This week, though, we had to squeeze ‘em in as best we could. But you should read both, because they deserve your time.

Also in this week’s music section: Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun kick off the summer concert series in the old ghost town of Richmond, three Oregon-based hot jazz bands play the Hep Cat’s Ball at the Tower Theatre, an update on Last Band Standing, and Silver Moon Brewing has a big week of shows, including The River Pigs, Dela Project, Baki and Clumsy Lovers.

So … that’s the rundown. Weather’s getting warm, music’s everywhere. Leave me a comment and tell me what show you’re most excited about!

Indie rockers take heart: New PDXchange Program books The Helio Sequence, Horse Feathers in Bend

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Attention, fans of indie rock: If you’re still hoping for additional Sasquatch-related shows to come to Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater over Memorial Day weekend, don’t hold your breath. I have a feeling that the May 30 Band of Horses / She & Him show is going to be it. (Mind you, “it” is pretty great: One show, but two headlining-level acts, plus the up-and-coming Dawes as an opener.)

BUT! Have no fear, Hankystar is here! Hankystar Presents is the promotional company of Henry Abel, a local music nut who’s set to introduce the PDXchange Program, a concert series that will focus on bringing Portland-based bands over to Bend’s Tower Theatre and pairing them with a local opening act. He’s just confirmed his first set of shows, and they’re a couple of doozies: the wonderful hushed-folk act Horse Feathers on May 25, and veteran electro-rock duo The Helio Sequence on June 3. Awesome!

Below are the posters for the two shows, with all the details except ticket prices, which are $15 for each show. Tickets will be available soon through the Tower box office and The Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District. Also, stay tuned for more on Hankystar Presents and the PDXchange Program!