A few weeks back I wrote about some bands I really want to see in Bend. They were bands Bendites would love and turn out for. To my delight, the good folks over at Les Schwab Amphitheater were apparently listening. They booked Tumbleweed Wanderers to play one of Sunday Free Music shows this summer. Big thumbs-up to those guys!
This time, we've put together full lineups for shows and where they should happen. First one to set something up wins.
I don't care if San Francisco's Scott Hansen—who records as Tycho—makes dreamy electro-music, his stuff can get club-goers moving. The bass hits much harder during a concert than it does on his albums, and Hansen choreographs a spry-sounding ballet with the synthesizer. His music is perfect in a dark venue like Portland's The Crown Room—a place he's played more than once—or in an outdoor festival tent illuminated by the setting sun. The latter is exactly what attendees of 2012's Sasquatch! Music Festival got to experience. And it was awesome.
Tycho's sound is decadently fluid. Tracks from his latest album, Dive, reflect natural landscapes rather than industrial or urban ones. Think standing beside a brook as the sun peeks through tall pine trees and gently warms your skin. And while dancing is still a foregone conclusion, at a Tycho show, you're more likely to close your eyes and dance all by yourself than to take a partner. The reason? The music produces a personal and emotional mental journey, not a group hug.
Opening act: Thumbprint Collective
Venue: Liquid Lounge
I saw this lo-fi Rose City rock band about a month ago at Portland's Backspace Café. They were one of the night's opening acts, and truth be told, probably pissed the headlining band off a bit by being so damn good.
Genders are a cross between Beach House and The Breeders. They pair that island sound with some pretty aggressive guitar. From the way this band sets up on stage, you'd think guitarist and singer Maggie Morris is the front person of Genders. In a way, the fact that she sings much more of the lyrics than anyone else in the band makes that true. But it's hard to pay attention to her when you've got someone like Katherine Paul on drums. Paul is outstanding as she does the business of wailing away on her kit. She's tall—very tall—sings and exudes confidence and likeability. She even seems to dictate the tempo for the rest of the group, oftentimes driving them to dig in and rock harder. That makes for one feisty show.
And just in case anyone is interested in booking—the band has a small window of availability as they travel from Boise to California in March.
Opening act: Silvero
Venue: Silver Moon Tap Room
Bend has certainly had its share of nationally recognized rap artists come through town recently. The problem is, with the exception of Macklemore, most of the names you've been hearing tossed around are artists who were popular in the '90s. That is why someone needs to snag Canadian hip-hop artist Shad either on his way to or leaving the Sasquatch! Music Festival this year.
Shad isn't a gangster rapper. He isn't a pop culture rapper, either. This means his music isn't just about making you dance. A breath of fresh air, in my book.
What Shad does include in his jazz-infused brand of hip hop is a combination of world and domestic social commentary along with some plain self-assessments. On his debut album, 2005's When This is Over, Shad offers listeners a gut-wrenching song titled "I'll Never Understand." That song features Shad's mom, Bernadette Kabango, reading some of her poetry on a track about the Rwandan genocide. It's one of the most powerful hip-hop tracks ever recorded. And indicative of the kind of honest heartfelt flow you get from Shad.
Opening act: MOsley WOtta
Venue: The Annex