Robert Meade – WoW Hall, July 22, 2011
We had an amazing weekend, with lots of stuff to see and hear and write about! Friday found us at the WoW Hall to catch Robert Meade opening for Floater on July 22, 2011. Robert is a pretty new addition to the Eugene music scene, having started out south of us, traveling to the East Coast, and then finally landing here . This solo guitarist/vocalist has a great voice (reminds me of Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan) and commanding stage presence, and his guitar work is first-rate as well. We really liked his opening number, “All & Everywhere” with its snappy/poppy folk sounds and nice energy. His vocal range is excellent, and he started building a rapport with the audience (primarily just killing time until Floater hit the stage) early in the set. The crowd (pretty thin at the beginning of the set) soon increased, as more folks trickled in and stayed, cheering after each song finished. His second song, “On The Beach” is a pretty ballad, with a nice transition up to a plaintive, high energy “hard” folk piece. Maybe you could call it “modern folk” if there is such a term. I especially liked how he used the last part of the word “beach” to create the sound of waves breaking. “Lingerie” followed that, with more excellent vocal effects. The entire set was entirely too short (in my opinion), closing with a unique cover of John Lennon’s “Happiness (Is A Warm Gun)” that was just perfect. While I thoroughly liked this solo set, I could almost hear him backed by drums and a bass guitar. Go figure – I checked out his history after the show and he used to have a backing band of anywhere from two to four other members previous to starting his solo gig in 2010. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear tuned for more from this talented musician!
Set List: All & Everywhere, On The Beach, Lingerie, Cambio, Holla, I Want Love, Happiness (Is A Warm Gun) (cover)
Saturday found us slummin it downtown at Diablo’s to catch a couple cover bands that are hardly anything short of amazing. I don’t usually “cover” cover bands, but couldn’t resist this opportunity to hear some old-school rock!
The Seven Surfers – Diablo’s, July 23, 2011
A trio of talented guys consisting of Pete Weinberger (lead guitar), Mike Nemeth (bass), and Matt Vargus (drums), we were pleasantly surprised by both their amazing musicianship and the energy flowing between them and the audience. As Mike will tell you, they subscribe to the “church of surf,” their music bringing us back to simpler and happier (but definitely not more innocent!) times. They were a refreshing break from my self-ascribed penchant for searching out new local hard/alt rock music. I had to ask after their set where the rest of the band was (as only three were there tonight), and Mike laughed and yelled, “SHARK!” One never knows whether he’s serious or just messin with you, but I suspect in this case it was the latter. While no one got up and danced (which was an absolute shame), there was no head not bobbing or foot not tapping through their entire set. I think they do have several songs in their set that are originals in addition to the traditional covers, such as “Wipeout!” – I’ll have to confirm that as I’m just not familiar enough with this style or music period to be anything close to an expert. I can tell you that Pete’s guitar work is absolutely flawless, Matt pounding along on drums with more energy than I would have thought possible without missing a beat or speeding up or slowing down, and Mike’s bass guitar riffs running alongside the guitar for a wicked-sweet, full sound that was pure pleasure. Don’t try to find them online tho – they seem to have stayed true to the 60’s music scene and are nearly non-existent on the web! I did manage to get some contact info for Mike and Pete individually tho, you can find both of them on Facebook – check the Diablo’s events calendar periodically as they are a favorite of the patrons there and visit regularly.
With a psychedelic light show backdrop from “The Godfather” (aka Don), the band is: Greg Scott on guitar and vocals, George Nash on guitar, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals, Marcus “The Man” Mueller on bass and vocals, and Jeff Alberts on drums and vocals. Covering 60’s oldies such as The Doors (Greg looks and sounds like Jim Morrison!) and Velvet Underground, these guys play some serious old-school rock-n-roll. I especially liked their cover of Peter Weir (Fleetwood Mac)’s “Oh Well.” Lots of folks got up and danced for this set which was fun to watch and only added to the performance. Another group of excellent musicians – and again, as I don’t usually review cover bands they will only get a passing glance here, but you definitely want to catch these guys live at Diablo’s if you haven’t previously – outstanding musicians and funny as well!
Spotlight – Diablo’s Downtown Lounge (959 Pearl Street, Eugene, Oregon)
Located next to the Greyhound Bus Station, this club is a favorite for folks who want to kick back and relax in a rather diabolically-decorated, yet comfortable lounge. If seriously twisted is your thing, head downstairs to the basement where they have regular events including Fetish Night. I’m not sure what was going on below us during our visit (rumor had it possibly a rave), but the bass pounding through the floor kind of set my teeth on edge. We opted not to explore downstairs, but instead availed ourselves of front row seating in front of the stage in the main street level lounge. Anvil, who runs house sound while doubling as bar-back, was friendly and informative (and hella cute to boot!). I loved the awesome etched black ceiling tiles, and they have an absolutely first rate wood dance floor in front of the decently-sized raised stage. We’ll be back on August 6 to see IB6-UB9 playing with Eastman Band and will definitely get there early for optimal seating! For more info, check out their webpage at http://diabloseugene.com/club_info.html.