One of the most exciting things about living in Bend are the summer concerts. Some years might be better than others, but there are always at least a handful of bands to really look forward to. Bend promoters have always found interesting indie bands to book, but the summer is really when the giant acts head through Central Oregon.
Usually over Memorial Day weekend, the Les Schwab Amphitheater books three massive bands either on their way to or from the Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge. One band plays each day, turning the Les Schwab Amphitheater into a festival ground for one weekend a year. Unless there are some last minute bookings, it appears this year Memorial Day weekend will only bring Alabama Shakes to the Amphitheater, and it's a sold-out show.
There shouldn't be any complaining, though, since Alabama Shakes is one of the best live acts around and Bend is the band's only Oregon show. With only two records under its belt, Alabama Shakes has managed to gain comparisons to Joplin, Otis Redding and Led Zeppelin, while never defaulting on originality.
Ben Harper, Slightly Stoopid and Michael Franti are all making return trips to Bend this summer, with Grace Potter, Trampled By Turtles and Lord Huron coming through for the first time. As exciting as some of those names are, it is the arrival of Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs that is the most interesting. Lang and Veirs are both very talented singer-songwriters, but Neko Case is somewhat of a musical genius. Those three voices together should make for what is the show of the summer.
There is something primal about seeing good music outdoors. The sun beating down and a breeze through the air, combined with beautiful guitars and voices, is a big part of what makes Bend a spectacular place to be.
May 27 | Alabama Shakes | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
June 18 | Slightly Stoopid | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
June 24 | Smash Mouth | Century Center, Bend
June 25 | Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
July 2 & 3 | Widespread Panic | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
July 5 | Case/Lang/Veirs | Athletic Club of Bend, Bend
July 20 | Grace Potter | Century Center, Bend
August 5 | Brandi Carlile | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
August 12 | Huey Lewis and the News | Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
August 21 | Trampled By Turtles/Lord Huron | Athletic Club of Bend, Bend