Adventure Galley – (David, Aaron, George, Jesse, Forrest, and Brock)

You know we have been waiting to see these guys live since we caught their very abbreviated partial show at WoW Hall with Jultopia’s for their CD release party (see http://theclubcircuit.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/tcc-is-back-review-of-jultopia-adventure-galley-and-white-arrows-wow-hall-october-14-2011/) – and at last our patience was rewarded.  And this was TCC’s first official venture into truly mobile format as well, so several firsts for this evening (including a new venue – see Spotlight below).  After a brief delay for setting up/tuning up/sound check, we were ready to get seriously crazy with these guys!

This set featured songs from their upcoming album, which continues their growth on synthesizers and lovely vocals, while the guitars and drums held a strong foundation – loved it!  All of their songs have so much going on, you hardly know where to start – three different keyboards, drums and lead with bass guitars keep everything lively, hopping and dancing.  Which, with a little coercion from the guys onstage, finally got the audience off their feet and out on the floor.

They give “dance party” a whole new definition – kind of etheric, with a healthy dose of pop, based on immensely talented musicians who take the standard and make it something unique to them.

The only thing I can say against the show was that it started entirely too late, and the sound was quite a bit louder than it really needed to be – but that’s it!

Find Adventure Galley on ReverbNation, FB, and their website here:  http://www.adventuregalleymusic.com

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(all photos courtesy Rachel Gargus / The Club Circuit)

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Spotlight – Agate Alley Bistro (1461 East 19th Street, Eugene, OR)

I really didn’t know what to expect at this little bistro tucked up next to UofO’s campus – I’d heard good things about their food but it is difficult to run a live music show at a restaurant, honestly.  What works here is having separate rooms from the main bar that gives folks a chance to participate i f they want to or – or not, as the case may be.

The bistro is pretty, clean, and eclectic decorations which makes for a fun environment to hang out in regardless of what else is going on.  They have a full bar, a nice selection of brews on tap and a good wine selection as well as a gourmet menu of delectable food items.

One drawback was lighting (or the lack thereof).  Just can’t do much in a restaurant with lighting for a music show!  Call it mood lighting and all is well.

Fivebyfive is:  Falon Hubbard (lead guitar/vox), James Giles (bass, backup vox), Matt DeBellis (drums)

After seeing this very young band perform a remarkable set last Fourth of July at Dexter Lake, I wanted to make sure to catch them in an actual club venue to get a basis of comparison.  What had struck me at the Dexter show was their energy and detailed work on vocals, guitars, and drums.  That kind of outside venue (especially when the performances are a backdrop to the celebration) doesn’t make for a very easy show, but they did a great job.  So I wanted to check out this recent show at Whittaker’s premier coffee establishment.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Falon’s vocals are strong and clear without coming across as forced in any way, and her lead and rhythm guitar combinations are quite outstanding.  I really liked the variety of styles in their songs on both originals and the covers they did.  It is so easy to take pop/punk and lock into one particular sound – this band doesn’t do that which is wonderful.

James on bass is a whirling dervish, bouncing and jumping and completely focused on his music.  He plays bass like a lead guitar, riffs running up and down that seem to take on a life of their own.  I especially liked when he did backup vocals with Falon – they didn’t just do harmonies but literally sang counterpoint melodies that were just perfect.

I also love Matt’s drum work, in particular the clear drum rolls throughout the songs.  His rhythms and flair definitely do more than just keep time for the rest of the group.

They were very creditable in their covers as well – Their performance of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” was very, very nice, and the Beatle’s “Helter Skelter” was just perfect.  Although the covers seemed to be a bit more difficult for them in terms of staying together in their timing – it is the only thing I have to say negative about their performance.  They have a tendency (especially on the covers) to start out a bit faster than they want to be, which they then have to adjust down resulting in a disjointed, muddy portion until everyone is back on track.  It happened more than once, so it wasn’t just a fluke, and it isn’t unusual – just something to be working on, guys.

Apart from that we absolutely loved this show and will certainly be picking up a copy of their CD – I can’t think of better material to dance to!  Find them at http://www.itsfivebyfive.com/ as well as FB and the normal spots.

 

 

 

 

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YOB is:  Michael Scheidt (lead guitar/vox), Aaron Reiseberg (bass), Travis Foster (drums)

Forget everything you’ve ever heard or read.  Throw out everything you think you know.  All the album reviews, the promos, the canned and remanufactured phrases are nothing.  A live show may not be the biggest money-maker for many bands, but it is the one true test of a musician.  A decent engineer and average equipment can make almost anybody sound good in a studio.  It is only in a live performance, when the musicians take the stage, that you really know – is this band worth my time? my attention and energy? my hard-earned money?

This is why you will rarely (if ever) see me review an album, and why I am so freaking PICKY about the skill, talent, knowledge, and performance of live musicians. This is what sets apart the master from the dilettante.

   Having said all that, let’s look at the YOB show live at the WoW Hall last night. First off, I’ve never been to a “death” or “doom” metal show before or truthfully ever heard a band play this particular genre, and I was a little hesitant about doing this review.  I wanted to like them, and as I was there at the request of a friend of lead man Mike Scheidt, I felt a little more than the usual pressure to give a good accounting of the show.  I shouldn’t have worried…

Coming off their 2011 world tour, our Eugene boys hit home HARD.  As someone in the audience during their soundcheck put it, it was so loud his cajones were vibrating!  I don’t have any of those necessarily, but I do know I was vibrating!  If I said this was a full sensorry experience, that wouldn’t even begin to describe this show.

    This is a three-member band that is simply huge – no other way to describe them.  They made me want to get out there on the floor.  The audience was just mesmerized – there was no mosh pit, everyone was glued to the stage, astounded and completely captured.  It was brutal… EPIC… This is what you want to hear with subs full-on when people have completely pissed you off and you just want to beat everything and everyone into absolute annihilation.

I think the WoW Hall is one of the few venues here in Eugene that would be able to carry this large a sound.  YOB would probably have obliterated the sound system anywhere else – I liked them and definitely would want to see them again live.

   Technically, they did some really nice work with special effects between mics and guitars and boxes.  Travis’ drums were so rock hard and perfect, with Aaron’s multi-layered bass runs laying intricate patterns over that.  Add Mike’s sheerly stupendous lead guitar riffs and vocals on top of that, and you have a tsunami wall of sound crashing over and over you. Their timing was impeccable – I noticed that they don’t speed up the songs as they progressed through chord and tempo changes, which was very nice.  They continually pulled the audience into the performance, and their live stage presence is beyond description.

The only negative comment I have is that I have so often found at a hard rock concert (by whatever name or genre you want to use) that it is nearly impossible to understand the lyrics if you don’t know the material by heart in advance.  That’s not to say that I didn’t absolutely dig the hell outta this show as I mentioned already – it just makes it more like an instrumental performance, which actually fits this genre.  Mike’s vocals so perfectly matched the guitars that it almost didn’t matter in this case – they were closer to a 4th guitar running through the songs, making it that much more hot and heavy. I could easily see This Patch of Sky, for example, sharing the stage with this band.

I didn’t get anything like “death” or “doom” from this performance, which agrees to what Mike has said in interviews of their material.  YOB is just really, really good LOUD heavy metal/grunge stylings.  If AIC had taken “Dirt” and gone darker, deeper, and heavier, it might have sounded something like what I heard last night.  Bottom line on this show – if you stay true to what you love, the music will not fail.  These guys are the proof of that.

They’ll be hitting the road again soon, so if you have the chance to see them in a live show you better do it.  They are the epitome of everything that is perfect in metal, by whatever name you call it.

Find YOB online at http://yobrock.com/as well as FB, ReverbNation, etc.

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This review is split in two – no way I could put both of Friday’s shows into one column!

I wanted to make a special point to be here and see Scott Austin in an acoustic show. The last time I saw him (see review 8/13/11) it was in a much different venue, and with The Everyone’s Band backing him.  That was where I first fell in love with his poetry of word and song.

In an acoustic show, Scott has one of those voices that sits like a perfect single-malt scotch – smooth and mellow at first, following with a warm afterglow.  Velvet, silk, honey… none of those capture his voice, but somewhere in all of that is Scott. His guitar work is equally enchanting; a sweet backdrop to his picturesque lyrics.  His songs speak to everyone equally, bearing witness to the common threads in our lives.

By request, he gave us a stellar performance of “Crazy Awesome” which the audience just devoured.  Another one of my favorites, “Happy Now” was also very memorably portrayed.  Both of these are available on Scott’s debut EP album, “Into The Light” which you can find online or at the merch table of his shows.

Select covers were mixed throughout his originals, each performed in a uniquely Scott Austin fashion.  One of my favorite covers from last night was Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry” – done un-reggaed and what I call “Scott-ified.”  Just loved it! He makes every one of his covers become one of his own creations, each an original work of art in his loving care.

On many of them, like “Let It Be,” it took a few moments for the audience to figure out why a song sounded familiar – and then you’d see the collective “ahh!” as recognition dawned on us.  In a very real and personal way, it was a true collective experience.  Rarely do I see an audience, especially one in a small tavern setting, become a communal creature, but this is exactly the effect Scott has.  It is a unique talent and one we seem to have lost – I continue to be reminded of Seger, Springsteen, or even Dylan, when I watch Scott perform his magic.

He also makes a point of connecting with individuals throughout the club, grinning and cracking jokes between songs, nodding and smiling with eye-to-eye contact during a song.  I’d be hard-pressed to recommend a more mellow and perfect end to a work week.  Find Scott on FB, bandcamp, and ReverbNation so you can be sure to catch his next live show.

Scott’s set list (actually his repertoire) : 

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SPOTLIGHT – WestEnd Tavern, 563 West Centennial Boulevard, Springfield, OR

This little bar is tucked away in one of our ubiquitous strip malls – you might miss it at a casual glance.  But it was obvious from the nearly full house that many folks consider it worth their time and trouble to be there.  It seemed to be a friendly and warm establishment; upon walking through the doors for the first time last night we were greeted with a hearty “hi!  how are you?” from the personable lady behind the bar.  They have a nice selection of mouth-watering hot dishes and a full bar, with some nice Hop Valley on tap including the seasonal Bad Tempered Gnome, an excellent brew for those of us that love and appreciate a dark-natured ale.

For such a tiny place, the sound was absolutely lovely.  It might have something to do with the unfinished wood walls, aided by its unique floorplan – not quite an L, almost a Z-shaped layout.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and, now that we know where to find it, will be looking forward to coming again to see live local music.

   Thursday’s show with Robert Meade and Nathan Lynch at The Black Forest was in celebration of and kick-off for their upcoming acoustic tour for the Sundance Film Festival.  Of course Rob was entirely unpredictable and amazing as always – managing to sound perfectly composed one second and exploding into manic super-guitarist/vocalist mode the next without blinking an eye.  Thank you for playing one of my faves, “On The Beach” (although I admit I don’t remember it being performed quite that energetically before!) – as I said, unpredictable!  When music becomes predictable we need to find another form of amusement I think…

      It was our first time to experience Nathan’s work and I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect (he has quite a bit to be compared to, playing and touring with Rob).  We settled in with his opening of “Infatuation” thinking, “yeah, nice guitar work there… and good vocals, a nice mix definitely…” and THEN he went into full-Nathan-mode (as I’ve learned is what he really is!), running vocals from one end of the spectrum of range and volume to the other with full theatrical presentation and amazing acoustic guitar riffs.  I understand he plays often with a bassist but as he and Rob will be touring as a solo acoustic show, I expect he was performing a solo show tonight for that reason.  In any event, not having a bassist accompany him tonight (understanding I haven’t seen/heard him play that so I don’t really have a good basis of comparison) did not detract from the effect he had on us, trust me!  If I say he’s a force to be reckoned with that would be an understatement…

We thoroughly enjoyed what we could catch of both these guys before we had to dash out (at midnight!) as it was a work weekday night (talk about a contradiction in terms!) and the TCC crew all have to get up at the crack of dawn (well, actually since the time change that would be about an hour BEFORE the crack of dawn in actuality) for their various day gig duties.  No pictures from this show I’m afraid, but we’ll plan for that absolutely the next time we catch them!

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    Saturday at Luckey’s was a real surprise – the club started out relatively empty, but by the time the band had finished their first number the place was quickly become packed.  Fun to see Nathan Lynch (and Rob Meade a bit later) for hugs and hi/bye’s as well!

Mood Area 52 – Michael Roderick (front vox/guitar/accordian/trumpet/piano), Amy Danziger (cello), Billy Barnett (acoustic guitar), Jeremiah Harris (acoustic standing bass), and Tony Figoli (drums/percussion) 

Sometimes I do a lot of research on bands before I see them so I know what to expect, but I hadn’t had a chance to do that before encountering (no other way to say it) Mood Area 52.  As we watched them set up I thought, “ok, they look fun and interesting – kinda gypsy/folk -ish” … and while that is true to a certain extent, it is no more a complete description of this band than, say, calling the New York Philharmonic Orchestra a “nice string group.”  Their webpage uses the terms “instrumental tango, lounge, cabaret, and exotica” among others to describe their music, and those are equally flat, two-dimensional adjectives to paint this multi-dimensional group of extremely talented, theatrical, and charismatic musicians.

Starting with those who most often don’t get enough attention simply because they aren’t possibly as flamboyant as others, let’s take a look at Jeremiah Harris on standing acoustic bass.  His runs were simple, poignant currents that ran along and under all the pieces, giving a timeless clarity and evenness to what would otherwise be untethered flights of fancy.

Billy Barnett is superb on acoustic rhythm/lead guitar.  His chord work blends seamlessly with the rest of the group and you might miss his prowess completely until he breaks into a lead solo that sends notes flying and spinning in the most beautiful melodies.

Tony Figoli on drums makes a basic kit sound anything but basic, utilizing everything including the stands themselves for a repertoire of effects that were absolute perfection.  His timing was superb and the fact that he doesn’t always play with this group made all of that just that much more amazing.

 Most impressive was Amy Danziger on cello – a consummate virtuoso, blending classical bow cello with percussive plucking that continually caught you by surprise with the sheer beauty of her work.

Of course, the man who stole our hearts was front man/vocalist/accordianist/guitarist/pianist/trumpeter Michael Roderick.  An absolute dead-ringer for Johnny Depp, he comes across as very quiet and subdued… until he opens on vocals, running everything from a growling bass to a searing tenor in styles ranging from New Orleans’ jazz to old-school blues.  He is absolutely stunning on every instrument he plays, from guitar to accordian, and vintage instruments ranging from trumpet to what I can only describe as a toy piano.  Just amazing – he continually caught us off-guard and there was no way to not dance with this group!  I especially loved his mini-vignette intros for certain pieces.  One of the few times I thought a set was entirely too short – every song was its own separate entity.

I did get a chance to talk to Michael briefly after the set to confirm the folks who were at this performance – he gave me their website (http://www.rocketboyarts.com/mood_area_52) as well as a couple CD’s that he wouldn’t take any payment for (“I’d rather our music was out there being listened to!”) – thanks Michael, we are definitely doing that!!

They capture your attention and hold it hostage, playing it, stroking and teasing, building up until it erupts in this amazing wall of sound that envelopes you in the experience.  Jeanice and Rachel both agreed – Luckey’s is the perfect venue for this band, they completely fit in this club and their music makes you sincerely wish for the cigar smoke atmosphere of the past as you are transported back in time!

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Sam Hahn (lead vox/guitar) with Zak Johnson on acoustic standing bass (thanks Fatty – ExiledInEugene – for providing Zak’s info!)

     This duo was just fun – Sam’s evocative lyrics, soulful vocals, and nice guitar work were perfection combined with Zak’s bass work.  Another duo who definitely have a bigger sound than what two people would expect to have.  Sam’s vocals remind me a bit of Donny Iris (and THAT dates me, right?!).  While I’m not sure this is an accurate portrayal, his lyrics do give a definite impression that Sam has a bit of unresolved history with the opposite sex but that may just be part of the fun – dunno!  All I know is we were continually laughing as he made us girls feel nearly insulted but coming just short of actually being offended.

   Equally amusing was a guest appearance by someone who tried to be incognito in a ninja-mask (I have to say, the ukulele was a dead giveaway tho!)  Craig Chee’s addition was a treat for sure…

The Craig Chee Band – Craig Chee (lead vox, ukulele), Sean Ponder / Joey Hepner / Theo Halpert

Nice energy and a well-balanced group of musicians.  We couldn’t stay for much of the first set but what we caught we thoroughly enjoyed.  It was obvious this band has a serious local following, as the club was packed to SRO for this CD release performance.  They have a beautiful big keyboard sound (reminiscent of Elton John), with nice vocals and a solid presentation.  And I have to say – I have never seen a ukulele rock with that much energy since Elvis!  I’m looking forward to seeing them again…

 

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Well, first off, apologies for this being sooooo late (nearly a week) – call it Turkey Day – A – Phobia, or just a lack of time while trying to get EVERYTHING else done on this three-day work day work week…  but I do apologize to all three bands for this being so way freaking LATE… then the technical difficulties attached to going offline and all that…

nevertheless, we have PHOTOS and COMMENT from last Saturday’s show at Quackers (and a Spotlight for the venue to boot, go TCC!) so here we go, ready or not!  And as this is our final and last column before we go off the grid (with downstairs neighbors pounding on the ceiling/floor below us, guess we need to take it down a notch maybe???) we give you….

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Open – Dead Set Life (no info online for this band!)  I would get you set up with how to contact this band, but they have very little online info available unfortunately….

Photographer Jeanice and I absolutely LOVED these guys, who evidently wish to remain anonymous online (huh?!!) as we could find nothing about them on the internet at all but some blank FB and old myspace pages with no band member names etc.  So….  going just on the basis of what we saw of them live, while only 3 members were in this night’s show, I understand another guitarist was unavailable for this show but they still completely awed us.  I think they have played this venue previously and we just missed them but we won’t do that again if we can help it, trust me.  The first thing I noticed was their vocals – I could understand them (and lyrics that made sense), and that each of these guys make this incredible wall of sound look so easy -

drums were so simple, eloquent and tight, heavy on cymbal (with one cymbal? WTF? evidently the rest of the brass was forgotten until the show started!)

So yeah, we won’t mention how the brass rack arrived via friend in the middle of the set… right?  Damn, I just mentioned it, didn’t I?

Bass knows his business, keeping it snapping and lively while running backup vox – nicely done!

And lest we forget, frontman on lead/rhythm guitar AND vox extraordinaire… if we said his guitar weeps and wails, would you hear it?  If we said his vocals were clear, pretty one moment and biting the next, would you hear it?!!

Face it – if you weren’t there, you DIDN’T hear it… your loss!

I loved the repartee between the band members and the audience.  I liked that they work with what they’ve got to KICK YOUR A$$!  I can’t honestly imagine what they sound with four members playing…  we especially loved “Rat Race” opening and absolutely LOVED “STRAIT JACKET” – and that the bass player hung out with us most of the night, chatting and trading impressions of the other bands – thanks for the awesome night!

       

     

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Second up – Vial…Experiment (see FB and ReverbNation pages, right?!)

The last time we saw these guys it was a very short set at 2am…  Coming on after Dead Set Life as second up, this was our first chance to see them play a full set – and that not in a cramped, rushed venue – right?

Call them stoner psychedelic metal (if there is any such thing) – they feel almost oriental in their chord progressions and patterns, not to mention their time signatures… 

We were bludgeoned!!  Absolutely loved their cover of AIC’s “Junkhead”….

Kevlar (we know him by another name but no matter!) is completely captivating as frontman lead vox and guitar – we would almost forget what we were waiting for  -

Gary’s guitar just RIPS (and yes, darling, your hair is gorgeous as you whip your head around).

Tony on bass just stands there, pounding sound around everyone, mohawk standing standing proudly.

And their temporary drummer (who is nameless at this moment but not without image, right?!!) absolutely nailed every song, every time… HIRE THIS MAN NOW… need I say more???

 

I’ll always love how Kevlar switches it out from screamo to lead vox (me being the NOT screamo fan, right – except for Slipknot/Stone Sour and the like)…  Also love how Kev and Gary play guitar in unison between guitars which is really unusual…

should be payed more and kept on – he was seriously SICK – and was that a Gladhander shirt Gary was wearing???  gotta love Eugene’s serious support in the music scene here!!

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Last up… Gladhander

What can I say about these guys??? We loved them when we saw them in Last Band Standing, but this was the first time we could see them play a full set – they are the fully elemental hard rock band definition.

Mitch is completely beyond description with his clear and cutting vocals and searing lead/rhythm guitar licks.

Dave on bass is headbanging amazing, and

Kasey on drums keeps everyone in line while keeping up the energy. 

 

One of the amazing things about these guys is their energy – cataclysmic….

We were completely blown away with this set… beyond words, sorry – I was left speechless…

   

all these bands have Facebook or ReverbNation or myspace pages – but more than anything else you want to CONNECT with them so LIKE THOSE PAGES – RIGHT?!!!

and always Always ALWAYS – go see LIVE LOCAL MUSIC when you can… enuf said…

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SPOTLIGHT – Quacker’s Last Stop – 2105 West 7th Avenue, Eugene

With no house PA system but a couple full-size floor speakers, that’s ok – the fact that this sports bar venue is sponsoring (no cover at the door) live local bands speaks volumes.  They have a decent-sized stage, nicely appointed, with real huge wood insets on the stage back and surprisingly good sound flow through the club.

Mitch Chamberlain (from Gladhander) tells me their food is amazing, with a wood-fired pizza oven and grill – it sounded amazing but with the holidays fast approaching and my pants already fitting tighter than I would like, I took a pass on the menu.

It was a very nice venue and we look forward to coming back to see more local live bands play here – ya’ll should seriously check this out!

So here I was, dead (really, actually dead – just hadn’t had a chance to be declared legally dead by the coroner but in every other way, I was DEAD, trust me) with so little sleep as to be in the negative zone at this point… and it was Friday and Robert Meade was playing a solo acoustic show at Mulligan’s Pub… and me without my trusty pad of paper and pen… or photographer sidekicks???  WTF?!!!  Nevertheless, I did want to hear Rob, he is so amazing – if you haven’t heard him before look him up on FB and plan to be there, right?!

So I could only stay for one set (and the pictures are stolen from Rob’s FB page) – but here is what I loved in just 60 minutes:

  • He starts the set early (slated for 9pm, he opens at 8:45p)
  • Someone (not sure who it was, Mulligan’s regulars will know him I am sure) drops in some mouth harp at the bar… to which Rob manages to cajole and sweet-talk into sharing the mike with him on the cover of Petty’s “MaryJane’s Last Dance” which was every way awesome!
  • This really sweet instrumental piece that I absolutely fell in love with… so I grab him after the first set when I need to leave (or risk driving completely somnambulent at this point) and ask for the title, he tells us, ‘There is no title for the instrumental right now. I’ve just stuck it in front of an existing song called “Run” for the time being…” which is no help at all but he does give us a link to listen here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JVxMvndWEQ.

Rob is gearing up for his upcoming “Sundance” tour with Nathan Lynch (who partnered with Rob on his recent Santa Monica tour), heading it off with a 2012 New Year’s show at Luckey’s on January 4th.

If you are anything like me (completely NOT patient), Rob gives us some comfort – ” JUST IN: Nathan and I are playing for a full night at Black Forest on Thursday Dec. 1st to raise funds for the trip.”

Guess who will be there (with FUNDS, natch) –

Here are some links, including a video of “RUN”

Robert Meade:
Facebook: www.robertmeade.net
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JVxMvndWEQ

Nathan Lynch:

http://Myspace.com/N8Lynch

http://facebook.com/n8lynch

Spotlight on:   Mulligan’s Pub – 2841 Willamette Street  Eugene, Oregon

This is your average neighborhood kick-back spot, with a couple of pool tables and a nice bar – but they feature live local musicians every week which gives them a huge THUMB’S UP from your’s truly, right?  And the fact that the folks there (at the bar and on the tables) were applauding (rather than ignoring) the featured artist playing that night speaks volumes.  I did at first think I was the only girl in attendance, but there were others there, they just were very quiet (very much not like me!) and I must have missed them at first glance  =)~

They also feature an open mic every Wednesday (see http://www.myspace.com/mulligansopenmic) if you are so inclined

This is a comfy place to hang your coat and have something to warm you on a COLD Eugene night – I liked this place and I’ll be back again.