I spend a ton of time listening to music at home—much of it on my turntable.
It's a great way to experience a lot of what's out there. Spending quality time with an album allows me to unlock the lyrics of the songs, discover nuances in the instrumentation and generally figure out my response to the music. Still, I will almost always choose to see a band perform live over the at-home option.
Unfortunately most of the bands I want to see don't end up in Central Oregon—even though Bend would be a perfect home for their sound. Most of them bypass Bend, or aren't even invited, and instead play Portland or Eugene, or even Hood River. The problem is that more often than not, those shows happen on weeknights and I can't break away for trips over the pass.
To that end, I've compiled a short list of bands that I hope we see in Central Oregon in 2013. I hope local booking agents, venues and promoters are reading this. I won't steer you wrong.
I have flooded the BENT blog with posts about this Bay Area band ever since seeing them open for Angus Stone at Doug Fir Lounge last fall. They have soul and, at times, float a sweet pop sound. But above all else—they rock. Live performances are filled with animated instrumental interludes that include organ, horns and even banjo. And 90 percent of the time every member is smiling. Tumbleweed Wanderers sing a lot about social issues, but have a ton of fun doing it. The result is an infectious, soul-infused rock show. It's the kind of beer-drinking-helluva good time Bendites often clamor for.
The Lower 48
Flat-out perfect for Bend is former Minneapolis, now Portland, folksy pop-rock band The Lower 48. I first fell in love with these guys when I heard them on Minnesota Public Radio nearly three years ago. Lucky for us, they recently decided to move to the West coast and claim Oregon as their home. Now we just need to get their bouncy, '60s-inspired pop-folk sound to Bend. I caught this trio when they opened for Weinland at Mississippi Studios in October. Singer Sarah Parson's voice was as beautiful as it was on their albums, and guitarist Ben Braden, with his Buddy Holly looks, harmonized perfectly with her. There was also some growth in their sound as they filtered lo-fi rock through warm, heartfelt pop. That's a great combo for our town.
How Portland's ginormous pop orchestra Typhoon has not yet been booked to play a show, or a festival, in Bend is beyond me. Not once has someone failed to be BLOWN AWAY by the band's flowing and emotionally heavy music. Ever. I'm sure of this. There is an undeniable stirring quality in the voice of lead singer Kyle Morton that is much like that of mewithoutYou's Aaron Weiss or Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. With nine to 13 other members playing everything from trumpets and tubas to violins and ukuleles, Typhoon's music is a cascading mass of angelic harmonies and sonic instrumentation. Every song is a veritable opus. Bend would be buzzing about a Typhoon show for weeks, if not months, after its conclusion. Surely someone has the ability to make a show like this a reality.