If you need a reason to hit up this benefit, just look above.The news of the gruesome attack on Bendites Britt Leis and Lia Koehn as they traveled through Ecuador didn't take long to spread through town. The details of the assault were outlined in national news reports and now, weeks later, talk of Leis' miraculous survival has since been a steady topic around town, even though most residents had never met the two.
While Leis survived the more than 20 stab wounds he incurred during the attack, his path to recovery will likely be a long one, and the medical costs for his care (which included being airlifted back to California, where he continues to receive care) are nothing less than staggering. What happened to Leis and Koehn is a tragedy, but the response from the community has been refreshing, especially the reaction from Bend's music community.
A surge of new and refined bands and CD releases has stoked Bend's music scene as of late generating increased attention (and attendance at shows) from club goers. And during this surge, there's a pleasantly communal theme that seems to tie even the most unlikely of bands together . These people care about each other and their community, and this is why Saturday night's benefit concert for Britt and Lia at the Tulen Center features a boldly solid lineup of local acts.
Micah Hogan, the owner of the Tulen Center who gathered the bands for the show, is pleased with the lineup, but isn't shocked that this many bands would be willing to play at no cost for two people whom many of them know only from what they've read in newspapers and blog posts.
"I wasn't all that surprised to tell you the truth," Hogan says, adding that he's had to turn down offers from additional acts he couldn't fit on the bill.
"What happened was just so unbelievable that I really expected people to come out and offer to help," he says.
Bands appearing at the benefit include the hip-hop mega crew Person People, indie pop rockers Anastacia, The Dirty Words, the much-talked-about-and-revamped version of Larry and His Flask and the all-star jams of The Mostest. Outside of the Bend Roots festival, you'd be hard pressed to think of a show with this many bands from Bend's higher echelon of local music.
"It was like a lot of these groups already knew that it was such a tragedy that they wanted to help," says Amber Larkin, Leis' ex-wife, who originally spearheaded the benefit show.
The show features the benevolence of the community at large as well, with local businesses and individuals contributing items for raffle and auction - including a Vespa from Bend Euro Moto, the local motorcycle shop where Leis previously worked. Larkin says the urge to help the couple has gone far outside of town with events slated in Bellingham this week and Santa Cruz early next month.
"It's tremendous that everyone has given so much of what they have to offer. It's definitely made me proud to be a Bendite," Larkin says.
Britt Leis & Lia Koehn Benefit Concert featuring: Anastacia, The Mostest, The Dirty Words, Person People and Larry and His Flask
6pm Sat., November 22. Tulen Center, 20 NW Greenwood Ave. $15 suggested donation. All ages until 9pm.