If you're anything like me, you probably choose which Bend events you'll attend based on the music. Each year, WinterFest draws a wide array of musicians to perform outside, at night, in the cold. Lucky for us, and them, their passion and talent heat up the WinterFest stage. Before you head down to the event, here's our take on the bands that will ignite the stage.
Friday, Feb 16
5:30pm — Victory Swig
Based in Bend, local band Victory Swig kicks off WinterFest with covers and originals. Victory Swig plays music to move your body, which helps keep you warm during the cool February evenings. The band's music spans the musical spectrum, touching on everything from rock and jam to reggae and ska. Get ready to shake your booty and raise a glass to Victory Swig.
7:00pm — Larry and His Flask
This local band really needs no introduction. The boys from Larry and His Flask have been lighting Central Oregon on fire with their own brand of folk-punk for years. After a short hiatus, the boys are back with plenty of new music up their sleeves. The Flask boys recently spent time recording their first new album in five years at The Firing Room studio. Fingers crossed we're treated to a taste of the new album at their WinterFest performance!
8:30pm — Hell's Belles
No strangers to the Bend outdoor music stage, Hell's Belles, widely known as the best all-female AC/DC tribute band, headlines Friday night at WinterFest. If Victory Swig and Larry and His Flask haven't got your body moving, Hell's Belles will heat you up with their rock and roll fire. Endorsed by Angus Young himself, Hell's Belles deliver authentic, hard-driving, pitch-perfect, authentic AC/DC covers. Performed by a group of badass female musicians dedicated to the music and energy of AC/DC.
Saturday, Feb 17
5:30pm — Downhill Ryder
When we last spoke with Downhill Ryder, the band's co-founding lead singer, Kim Kelley, had just left town. Now, nearly a year later, the band has found its groove, adding local guitarist and singer Scott Schauer to the mix. Downhill Ryder's folk-meets-rock jams will definitely get your fire burning. Check out the latest iteration of Downhill Ryder with dual lead vocals and tasteful musicianship.
7:00pm — Precious Byrd
Odds are, if you've lived in or visited Central Oregon for any amount of time in the last several years, you've seen Precious Byrd live. Not only do these guys know how to throw a dance party, they're some of the kindest, hardest working dudes you've ever encountered. The band released its first album of original material, "Superphonic Magical," back in 2016 and has big plans for the future. In addition to new material, the band also performs some of your favorite hits as one of Central Oregon's favorite dance pop bands.
9:00pm — Coolio
While most people remember rapper Coolio for his '90s hit, "Gangsta's Paradise," for me, "Rollin' With My Homies," holds a special place in my heart. Featured in my all-time favorite movie, "Clueless" (don't laugh!), Coolio cemented his place in rap history. Now, in addition to releasing music and touring, Coolio is working on a new cookbook. That's right, in addition to setting the stage on fire with his rap and hip-hop jams, he can use that heat to cook you up something delicious.
Matisyahu fuels your fire at the WinterFest pre-party
In Bend, we're fortunate that certain musicians either develop a love for our town or have a connection that keeps them coming back. Reggae-meets-beatboxing-meets-alternative-rock musician Matisyahu is one of those artists we see returning year after year and we couldn't be happier. I'll never forget seeing Matisyahu perform between lightning storms at the Athletic Club of Bend when I interned for the Source in 2007.
Matisyahu came in hot with his 2005 single, "King Without a Crown," and hasn't slowed down much since. On the musician's latest album, "Undercurrent," he and his band try to recreate the live music experience, meaning longer, more improvised songs with sounds that capture the feeling of a Matisyahu live show. The lyrical content leans more on the vulnerable side than he's been known to do in the past, making for his most personal record yet. Matisyahu takes complete creative control on "Undercurrents," producing the album himself and leaving no room for compromises.
At the official WinterFest pre-party, Matisyahu warms your bones with his personal alt-rock reggae jams before sending you out into the cold to reignite the fire at WinterFest.
Thurs., Feb. 15, 8:30pm
51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend
$30/adv, $35/door. 21+