Dark winding roads lined with old dirty snow banks, led through a seemingly endless maze of rustic Deschutes River Woods neighborhoods, eventually brining me to my destination—a house concert by Portland duo The Ascetic Junkies a couple of Friday nights ago.
It had been a while since The Ascetic Junkies had visited Bend. November 8 the group—then a foursome—played The Horned Hand in their second to last performance as a full band. That show marked the end of an era of sorts.
Over the last four years, Central Oregon had grown to love the roots-y, bluegrass version of The A.J.’s take on indie folk rock. From playing Silver Moon during the venue’s early days of offering live music, to taking the stage at festivals like The Bite of Bend, The A.J.’s punk-infused songwriting paired with banjo and synth was that perfect blend of downhome music and forward thinking arrangements.
But with the change in lineup first from a five-piece, then to a quartet and finally paired all the way down to just husband and wife Matt Harmon and Kali Giaritta, The A.J’s have taken on a brand new persona. One they’ve been delivering to the country via two nationwide tours in the last year.