tuesday, sept 11
6:30pm, $39-78 ADV
There’s really no song from the ‘80s to bring out the white man’s overbite quite like “The Power of Love,” Huey Lewis and the News’ excellent power ballad and the theme song from Back to the Future. That is, unless you consider “If This is It,” “Hip to be Square,” “Heart and Soul,” “Working for a Living” or anything else these guys wrote.
All in all, Huey Lewis and the News racked up 19 top-ten singles over the course of their glory days, which lasted through the ‘80s and into the early ‘90s. “Power of Love” was actually nominated for an Academy Award. Basically, they were total rock stars, and their live shows are just as much fun now as they were then.
You can expect to dance around a ton while feeling super nostalgic, even if you weren’t alive when these boys were making some of the most iconic music of the last twenty years. If you were around, you know you want to go to this concert even if just to relive the memories of rocking out in your best friend’s Toyota Cressida, circa 1988.
The Bend show will be the band’s final gig in a 17-concert tour this summer, which means the eight or so members will likely have it all dialed-in and be ready to go out with a bang—best of all worlds!
Homework before going: Get on YouTube and cue up some of their music videos, which are about as classic as it gets. We strongly recommend the beachy “If This is It.” You’ll be fully primed and ready to get your own awkward dance moves on, overbite optional.
Just because Huey Lewis and the News invented themselves long before the Internet, it doesn’t mean they don’t trend on Twitter from time to time.
Here’s our favorite tweets about the ‘80s wonderband:
Back to listening to Huey Lewis and the News on vinyl with @sts10. Order is restored.
Fact: listening to the album Sports by Huey Lewis and the News first thing in the morning will improve your day - @HellolmTravis
I’m a pretty romantic guy that believes in the power of love. That’s why I nicknamed my genitals ‘Huey Lewis and the News.’ - @jacobgivens
Nothing like aggressive driving to Huey Lewis and the News on the way to work. #heart&soul - @akaT_1000
Every single time I hear Huey Lewis and the News “Power of Love,” I want to stop everything and watch Back to the Future. - @luckie_ruebs
wednesday, aug 22
Remember Bob Dylan? Remember his songs of protest, songs that illuminated social injustices, corruption and war?
While no Bob Dylan, Michael Franti captures and critiques the world’s ills like few modern performers can. And he does so in an upbeat, catchy way.
You might be thinking, “Hell, Yani sounds catchy if you smoke enough reefer,” an activity Franti heartily endorses. Well, you’d be about right, friend. But, one could argue, by infusing elements of pop hip-hop and reggae into his baritone protest songs, Franti’s music become not only head bobbing-ly memorable, his reach is more broad than that of Dylan’s, whose folk songs and nasally voice are something of an acquired taste. So thanks for bundling and presenting the issues of the world in a fun package, Mr. Franti. We appreciate it.
Franti and his band, Spearhead, who he’s toured with since 1994, are working on a new punky-er album due out this fall—a harder diversion than you might expect from a man who’s penned a children’s book and serves as an ambassador for the global nonprofit, CARE, a human rights organization. Though often controversial and confrontational, his lyrics can border on corny. So we’re hoping we get new Franti and some of his more recent, sharper material, as we can do without “I Got Love For You,” and other such tracks.
With his long dreads and huge frame, the 6-foot-6-inch rocker, born to an Irish-German-French mother and an African-American and Native American father, is an imposing figure, especially so once on stage. Bendites, though, will no doubt be familiar with his distinct profile. The socially conscious rapper stirred up LSA crowds in 2008 and again in 2010. If you were at the 2008 Memorial Day show you might remember the driving rain more than the Franti show. Since we still can’t predict the weather (slacker scientists: thanks for nothing) we can’t promise that, weather-wise, this year will be any different. But rain or shine, we’ll be out there with all the other rebel rockers awaiting another stirring live performance from one the industry’s best. – James Williams
Five Fun Facts about Franti:
Since 2000 Franti has mostly gone barefoot, save for wearing flip-flops to board planes
He conceived of, directed and helped produce an anti-war documentary titled, I Know I’m Not Alone.
He’s a regular yoga practitioner and soccer fan.
His music has been featured on The Wire, Weeds and Mercy as well as a Corona article.
wednesday, aug 15
6:30pm, $39-60 ADV
Sweet, generic jazz tunes for the masses. If you find yourself in the Old Mill on Aug. 15 you might hear a song or two you recognize from an elevator ride you took in 2003. Norah Jones may not be breathtakingly impressive, but she won’t ruin your night, in fact you’ll probably have a nice time.
Easy on the ears, Jones’ smoky jazzy voice and her even-keel songwriting style have made her one of the best selling jazz artists of the last decade. In the past few years, Jones has made an attempt to modify her sugary jazz-crossover reputation and in 2010 the singer/songwriter released the album …Featuring Norah Jones featuring collaborations with edgier artists. Her latest album, the 2012 release Little Broken Hearts is a team effort, as well. Danger Mouse, hip-hop giant, added much needed production value, which translated into an album with a more percussion-heavy, alternative sound. The record sounds less like a bestselling pop album and more like something interesting to which we might actually want to listen. Despite her musical departure, we’re still not expecting Jones to smash a guitar or do any crowd surfing. If you’re looking for some nice inoffensive tunes to drink six or seven glasses of six- or seven-dollar red wine to, then this is your show. — Brianna Brey
Top 5 artists that you wouldn’t have guessed Norah Jones
2. Talib Kweli
3. Foo Fighters
4. Willie Nelson
5. Ryan Adams
sunday, may 27
In the history of the shows at Les Schwab, there are the one-off appearances that go down as “you should have been there to see it” shows —The Pixies, James Brown and Modest Mouse all come to mind. Then there are the frequent flyers—bands that because of scheduling or some kind of Central Oregon symbiosis seem to make their way back to Bend time and time again—think Michael Franti and Jack Johnson. Add to that list, the name of Beck, the pioneering folk, hip-hopper who will make his third Bend appearance this year over the Memorial Day weekend.
We’re not sure what keeps bringing the enigmatic performer back to Les Schwab; we’re just grateful that he’s added Bend to his list of regular stops.
When you think about it, it’s kind of an odd setting for a performer whose music has always had a distinctly urban vibe, reflecting his eclectic L.A. roots. It’s a style best heard on Beck’s comeback album, the excellent 2005 Guero with its combination of blues, funk, soul, folk and Latin swerve.
No matter where he ventures musically, the organic mash-up is filtered through Beck’s slacker sensibility and his devotion to the blues. His most recent full length, 2008’s Modern Guilt, represented another step forward in Beck’s sonic evolution, showcasing a more nuanced approach thanks in part to collaboration with the now ubiquitous producer, Danger Mouse. The man who is perhaps best known for forming Gnarls Barkley, coaxed elements of flower-child era California-folk out of Beck on songs like “Orphans.” Then there’s the melancholy closer, “Volcano” that ambles along at liquid pace so deliberately measured that the song seems to fold back on itself as Beck earnestly croons lines like, “And I’ve been drifting on this wave so long. I don’t know if it’s already crashed on the shore.”
It’s perhaps a fitting observation for an artist whose career has already spanned three decades and whose work has confounded and dazzled critics. Of course, all that falls away when Beck takes the stage and you remember that this is the fuckin’ guy who recorded Odelay. And on May 27, when the sun goes down and the lights come up, that’s all that really matters. — Eric Flowers
Tenacious D with The Sights
saturday, may 26
Jack Black is a genius.
From his breakout role in High Fidelity with John Cusack, to his theatrical performances of original songs like, “Tribute,” Black has proven to be a master of comedy. The thing is, though, Tenacious D is not just about being funny— it’s a good band. Some, like Dave Grohl, would even call it a great band.
While Tenacious D often tours with backing musicians, the band is Jack Black and his good friend Kyle Gass. And the pair has been creating zany, powerful, hilarious, operatic mock-rock for adoring fans since 1994. They’re currently touring in support of their third studio album, Rize of The Fenix.
When most folks hear “mock-rock” or the word “comedy” associated with music, they think of Weird Al. Fair. But while the similarities between Weird Al and Tenacious D do exist, the two have less in common than the casual listener might think.
Like fellow comedic musician, Weird Al, Black and Gass are versatile. Unlike Weird Al, Black and Gass don’t create parodies of existing hits but rather craft crude and insightful operas that both satirize and celebrate epic rock (Led Zeppelin, Queen)—all while championing reefer, slackers, sex and their own sexual prowess. Because of the aforementioned reasons, Tenacious D is a lot less dorky, and thus more listenable, than Weird Al.
That said, Tenacious D’s joke-y, shock-oriented tunes are more novelties than they are musical masterpieces. If you’ve heard “Fuck Her Gently” once, you’re probably all set. I mean, how many times do you need to hear Black croon, “You don’t always have to fuck her hard, in fact that’s not always right to do/Sometimes you’ve got to make some love and fuckin’ give her some smooches, too”?
But it is damn funny stuff. So maybe we do need to hear it again… Live!
Detroit-based blues rock and power pop band, The Sights, open the show. — James Williams
Tickets for all of the Les Schwab Amphitheater shows can be found at bendconcerts.com. For convenience’s sake we’ve listed the advance ticket price (ADV) and the day of show (DOS) price.
friday, may 25
After five years without an album release, The Shins are back with new band mates and new material. No strangers to Bend, their last few performances in Central Oregon really left a mark. At LSA, in 2007, The Shins show was peppered with thunder and lighting while their appearance at The Midtown last summer allowed fans a sneak peak at their newest album, Port of Morrow, which was officially released in March.
The new record sound is more production-heavy and synthetic than the early 2000s Shins (Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow) but it retains much of the band’s indie-pop character. Mercer’s echoing tenor recites clever and clear lyrics over choppy guitar riffs that fans have grown to love. The Albuquerque, N.M. band is always polished and their live performances are a treat for any music lover.
One could argue that the “openers” for The Shins show could easily headline their own LSA gigs—they’re that good. Seattle’s The Head and the Heart have an authentic Americana folk sound built on three-part harmonies and nostalgia for simpler times. It’s the kind of music you would listen to if you were pumping a handcar down some desolate railway in the South West.
Blind Pilot hails from Astoria and plays a mixture of folk and rock that’s simple and timeless. The Oregon folk rockers proved they are complete badasses when, in 2008, they completed a bicycle tour, pedaling themselves and all of their gear from Bellingham, Wash. to San Diego, Calif. playing more than a dozen shows along the trail. Pony up folks, this isn’t one to miss. — Brianna Brey
Top 5 douchey things hipsters say about The Shins:
1. I liked them better when they were Flake Music.
2. James Mercer just needs absolute creative freedom to make his art, that’s why he keeps firing band members.
3. Can you believe they played Saturday Night Live? What sellouts.
4. I’m so glad they picked up Modest Mouse’s drummer for this tour.
5. These songs would sound great on Natalie Portman's humongous headphones. – Pitchfork Music