Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

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 https://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.

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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.

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.

We really didn’t know what to expect with either of these bands – but seeing as how we’d never been to Luckey’s for a show either, we figured all bets were on!  So without further ado, we give you…

Leaves Russell (Matthew Russell – vox/keys; Isaac Medina – bass; Thacher Schmid – strings/vox; Jackson Conrad – drums)

                       

Wow – where do I even start?!! This four-piece band from Portland blew us away… First, I have never heard or seen a band that plays progressive/alt rock that didn’t have a lead or rhythm guitarist, but Thacher’s strings are far and away some of the best lead riffs I’ve heard.  If you could put Transcending Maya with This Patch of Sky, and then add a little Forever Growing into the mix, you might see a shadow of what this band gave us.

Matt’s vocals are pure honey, with a range that goes from sultry to raw power, and his proficiency on the keyboards was simply beautiful.  Jackson’s drums alternated between pounding and a sweet, simple foundation, and Isaac’s bass (both electric and standing) was a different kind of perfection, running a steady stream of dark melodies like the undercurrent of a river that you just wanted to drown in.  And seriously?  He makes love to and with his standing bass, swaying and weaving with it – it was… hot!

Thacher’s backup vocals were perfect, blending so seamlessly with Matt’s lead vocals that you could hardly tell where one started and the other came in.  And his work on the strings (violin and what they called a “mini-guitar” – it wasn’t a dulcimer or mandolin, I’m not sure what the actual definition of that instrument is!)… I don’t know where to begin.  If I say that they were hot and bright and hard and completely amazing, that wouldn’t even come close to adequately describing it.

The combination of the vocals with the keyboards and violin was haunting, evocative of your darkest fantasy – just lovely.  Their songs run from funk to eclectic to light-hearted stomps.  I bought a CD – it’s become my new obsession!  Find them on Facebook and ReverbNation.  Truthfully – I think their live work completely outshines their studio album – check out this recent video from Portland’s Hawthorne Theatre:

Scott Austin and The Everyone’s Band (Scott Austin: acoustic guitar, lead vocals; Ben Klenz: drums; Joe Intile: bass, backing vocals; David Michael Frank: electric guitar, backing vocals; Erik Berg-Johansen: violin)

     

What a great group of guys outta Eugene!  They were lively and tight, with Scott on acoustic guitar and lead vocals.  Erik’s violin was an interesting addition to this grassroots jam band.  Folks were immediately out on the floor, struttin’ and cuttin’ moves – even the folks playing pool were bobbing and weaving.  Scott reminds me a bit of Bruce Springstein and Bob Seger – not so much in sound but just his energy, as his music comes shooting straight from the heart.  He has this magnetism that pulls you in to the party!

And it was fun to see Robert Meade (who recently opened for Floater at the WoW Hall), snapping pics and cuttin’ it up on the floor as well – got to say hi and get a hug, always a treat!  Also note – Scott’s guitar is NOT pink as it looks in the photos – not sure why the stage lights were pretty much off for their set, but his guitar is a natural blond wood, not pink!!  And me without my fedora too – man, I really shoulda worn it…

The backup vocals by David were nice, and his riffs were well done too.  I really liked Erik’s violin work with the guitars, it made for a great combination.  Scott’s lyrics are easy to understand, speaking of things that everyone can relate to, and the composition of his music is just pure fun.  I think most of his previous work has been solo, with a band backing him being a fairly recent addition.  With the addition of the Everyone’s Band, it just brought up the exponential element of his work.  We especially liked the title track from his recent EP, “Into The Light.”

And damn – he looks good in jeans and a black tee!  Find Scott here:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000696684928&sk=info; http://scottaustin.bandcamp.com/

Spotlight – Luckey’s Club Cigar (933 Olive Street, Eugene, Oregon)

This was our first visit to this venue, one of Eugene’s oldest establishments.  Walking in, it felt warm and inviting – we could still almost smell and see the blue cigar smoke haze from times past.  I think they must have the longest bar of any club I’ve ever been in!  The club is big and dark and feels very much like a place where you wanna just put your feet up and have a cold (or hot – depending on the weather) beverage.  With a full bar, you could easily spend most of an afternoon or evening perfectly content.  They have three pool tables, with tables and seating scattered throughout the club, as well as several black leather couches close to the stage and a huge dance floor area.  The house sound was excellent, and the stage, while deceptively small, has enough depth to allow folks room to move while performing onstage.  We definitely liked this club and are looking forward to coming back soon!

  I knew we were gonna be pummeled but just could not resist the opportunity to follow Nancy Glass’ advice (see her Night on the Town column dated July 30, 2011: http://eugenedailynews.com/2011/07/30/night-on-the-town-16/) and see two of Eugene’s finest metal bands lined up with two bands from Roseburg to make a seriously hard freaking rock show for a Saturday night.  It was all that – we had an awesome time, and even got a chance to sneak in a few surprises to boot!

Dead Horizon (Ryan Gould-vocals; Jake Logsdon-drums; Rosco Perkins-bass; Paul Radon-guitar; Brandon Chapman-guitar)

  So, remembering that neither photographer Jeanice nor myself find ourselves seriously hard-core screamo fans (no apologies here!), we decided to focus primarily on the musicianship for this Roseburg-based band.  And we were definitely not disappointed – this is a very tight band, with a lot of energy and good stage presence.  Front man Ryan knows how to pull the crowd in, Shephard pounds on drums (without a shirt on which was a different kind of distraction!) along with Rosco’s ripping bass, and both Brandon’s and Paul’s guitars are hard-driving solid walls of screaming sound.  They did a great job of mixing up the music between the guitars, and it was so nice to see Rosco not playing the typical hide-n-seek bass player role – he was front and center, directing traffic alongside Ryan!  Ryan’s vocals did include some spoken/sung parts which were nice when they happened alongside Brandon’s occasional vocal contributions.  Their timing was perfect throughout the set which was also really nice – an excellent set by a great band!  Find them here: http://www.myspace.com/thedeadhorizon; http://www.reverbnation.com/thedeadhorizon; http://www.facebook.com/thedeadhorizon?

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Gladhander (Mitchell Chamberlain – vocals/guitar; Kasey Waite – drums; David Ghelfi – bass)

  The last time I saw these guys was during the 2011 Last Band Standing competition, and getting a chance to catch up with Mitch after the set tonight was awesome (thanks Mitch!!).  For a trio, these guys have a much bigger sound than the sum of their parts.  Dave’s bass snaps and pops, and Mitch’s guitar work is always a treat, with silky-smooth transitions from running rhythm guitar backgrounds while carrying the lead vocals to killer lead guitar riffs.  Kasey’s drumming is still flawless, using the double-pedal bass kick to full effect and keeping the different time signatures flowing smoothly within the songs.  I especially liked the two song medley (“Spit” which transitioned into “Fine”).  Always a pleasure to see these guys again, find them here:  http://www.facebook.com/gladhandermusic?; http://www.reverbnation.com/gladhander; http://gladhandermusic.com

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Lidless Eye (Matt Webber/vocals), Jay Stanturf /rhythm guitar, Brian Auer/lead guitar, Tony Marin /drums, Nick Kirby/bass

  With screamo lyrics by front-man Matt that I could understand mixed with straight vocals, I actually enjoyed this hard-core set from the second Roseburg band of the evening.  They have an excellent, tight sound, with Jay and Brian’s guitars blending seamlessly, Nick’s bass in-your-face pounding, and Tony’s drumming was just spectacular.  Not to mention Matt’s serious energy (the pictures show nothing – it was just impossible to catch him standing still!) combined with this solid wall of sound – I kept saying “Wow!” over and over (to Jeanice’s annoyance after awhile!). Since these guys are based out of Roseburg, I didn’t do a lot of research on them prior to the show. It wasn’t until Jay popped a string right after the second song and Matt asked Brian to do a guest guitar solo that I realized there was more here than I first realized – for that you have to backtrack five years, when I lived for a year in Roseburg and got to know the most amazing cover band that has ever existed called “Silent Witness” (which I think has since disbanded).  They still have a video floating around (although someone completely over-produced it after the fact) called “Technical Difficulties” where you can see the lead guitarist playing the most amazing guitar solo… well, it used to be the most amazing guitar solo, until I heard Brian tonight.  But it was Matt’s use of the phrase that clued me in – he kept repeating, “we are experiencing some minor technical difficulties…” and then would glance at Brian.  After the second time he did that, I took a hard look at Brian – and realized it was the SAME guitarist from my favorite Roseburg cover band!  What he did tonight was so astounding (and it is probably just normal messing around for him) – I’m not sure who the composer is and title of the piece, but I can recognize classical music (especially piano) when I hear it, and the guitar solo Brian performed sounded like nothing I’ve ever heard before – a freaking harpsichord on steriods!!  Simply amazing, he is absolutely one of the most gifted guitarists I have ever seen, and of course we chatted really briefly after their set while they were tearing down.  Finally, you had to see Matt during the last song when he decided (with a cordless mic) to take a tour through the club while singing the vocals and ran out the door to the street, then back in and out on the floor with the crowd just screaming…  Who cares what the people outside the club thought – it was just awesome!!  Do NOT be surprised when these guys go national – I suspect that is just a matter of time. Find them here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lidless-Eye-Band/189361904415097?; www.reverbnation.com/lidlesseyemusic

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Vial Experiment (Kevlar/ guitar-vocals; Gary Hutchings/lead guitar, Tony Hahne/bass; Linn Wheeler/drums)

  It was so late by the time these guys hit the stage (2am) that their set was cut short, but I’m glad we stayed to catch what we could from them!  First, I really like their “grunge” drone sound, and Kevlar’s vocals that mix screamo with regular lyrics.  Their sound reminds me like a cross between Pink Floyd and Rush, but gone completely metal – Gary’s guitar drives freaking hard with Kev running alongside him, and Tony’s bass work is excellent.  Linn’s drums were awesome as well, timing dead on and without a flaw.  The lead vocal mic could have used a little less reverb, but otherwise it was a great set.  Being a huge AIC fan, I loved their cover of “Junkhead” with their own unique twist, turning this hard rock song into screamo-metal but it worked!  I’ll be looking forward to seeing them again for a full set.  Find them here:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/vialexperiment/103480626362242?; http://www.reverbnation.com/vialexperiment

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  Spotlight – John Henry’s , 77 W Broadway, Eugene, OR

What can I say about John Henry’s?  It felt like coming home (we spent ten successive weeks there covering the 2011 Last Band Standing competition), with Brooklyn Jay behind the bar pouring the baddest-a$$ drinks in town – always ready with a joke, snarl, or a grin (sometimes all three at once!).  The club is creepy, with cobwebs hanging from the rafters (untenanted as far as I can tell) that apparently are leftover from some previous Halloween party, your basic black and red flat finish paint for decor, a spacious black and white tile dance floor, and a killer house sound system – we just love the place!  Definitely one of my absolute fave clubs for live entertainment – they have fun stuff happening every night of the week so you have zero excuse for sitting on the couch bemoaning the fact that your social calendar is empty on any given day… Check out their Facebook page for regular and special events and be sure to “friend” them or you’ll seriously miss out!

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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)

Find Robert here:  www.RobertMeade.com,  http://www.reverbnation.com/robertmeade#!, and http://www.myspace.com/robertmeade

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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.

The Kingpins

  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!

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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.