The last time Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil played in Bend, they helped close down the Horned Hand, a gritty and fun-spirited venue along the city's railroad tracks that, in its brief, but bustling two year history, earned a reputation as a musician's venue, especially since they provided solid audiences and gave 100 percent cuts from tickets to the bands.
When The Horned Hand closed its doors earlier this year, and the owners shifted their attention to opening up a meadery, there was concern that Bend would lose some of its magnetism for pulling in traveling, up-and-coming bands—not the least bit of grumbling done by our own editorial staff.
But over the past few months, that concern has largely been put to rest as the Volcanic Theatre has filled its calendar with quality local and regional bands, the sort of emerging music that doesn't yet have built-in audiences that can fill spaces like Les Schwab or the Tower. These are bands for decidedly mid-size audiences, which at few dozen patrons still serve the critical role of providing support for new and emerging bands—like, on Saturday, Slaughter Daughters, a trio that sound like a wicked coven of flamenco guitarists, and, on Monday, Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil.
Originally designated by Los Angeles-transplant Derek Sitter for experimental and quality community theater, the venue is a unique and comfortable space. Unlike other venues that offer music in town—say, like McMenamins, which pulls bands of the same caliber and popularity, but feels more tavern than theater—Volcanic is carved out of an operational warehouse, which lends the venue an enviable open, boxy space and high ceilings. Even the acoustic panels are cleverly disguised to fit into the industrial ambiance.
Without peanut shells on the floor and stuffed animal heads on the wall, the venue is decidedly less CBGB than The Horned Hand; filled with overstuffed sofas, Volcanic has a welcoming feel as a relaxed, urbane lounge. The sound equipment is good, and the sound guy from The Horned Hand has migrated to Volcanic, bringing the same attention to the details.
The appeal of Volcanic also has been intensified by the departure of Silver Moon's longtime booker, Jasmine Hels; the downtown brewery traditionally had hosted shows most weekends, but more recently has scaled back that schedule.
Local bands such as Don Quixote, Silvero and Rural Demons, who used to frequent the Horned Hand and have followed the geographic shift in the city's music scene, and are now setting up shop at Volcanic. The venue has been hosting several shows a week for the last month or so, typically with no cover (or a small $5 entry).
On Saturday, Slaughter Daughters play a show before setting out on a tour from Idaho to Florida. And, on Monday, Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil will play one of their fast-moving sets. It is truly amazing that just two musicians can make this much noise, with Jack Biesel's voice bellowing like a rolling thundercloud over a raucous landscape of crashing drums and sharp, driving guitar chords. Truly, it sounds something like a heavy metal Benny Goodman orchestra in hyper-overdrive. It will be hard to stay seated in the Volcanic's sofas for either of these shows.
Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil
9 pm. Monday, Oct. 21
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr.