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And the Youth Shall Lead: We Are Brontosaurus' sack lunch indie rock adventure 

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Dylan Howe is eating what appears to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a table in a cramped Northwest Crossing coffee shop while talking about his band, We Are Brontosaurus. In a few minutes, the power trio's guitarist will also dig into a stick of string cheese - a staple of any sack lunch - as he attempts to fit a meal into a life that includes playing in one of Bend's most intriguing rock bands, ultimate Frisbee practice, and being a junior in high school.

Across the table from Dylan, the band's lead singer, Owen Quon, speaks acutely about Bend's youth music scene in a soft yet deep voice that is a mere whisper in comparison to the rampaging vocals he unleashes on the band's indie rock recordings.

"It's amazing to see that the music scene in Bend is starting to grow, especially in the youth music scene there's a lot of kids starting to play in bands," says Quon, the son of Mark and Linda Quon, who together play around town as The Quons.


There's little reason why the young men of We Are Brontosaurus shouldn't be the coolest kids at Summit High school, where all three are currently juniors. After all, they've only been a band for six months, but during that time have produced an EP that's good not for a high school band, but for any local band and sparked the curiosity of Bend's MySpace-trolling music fans with their Cold War Kids meets Dismemberment Plan take on indie rock. But We Are Brontosaurus aren't rock stars nor do they think they are. Rather, they are 16 and 17 year olds who have to fit shows and rehearsals around track meets and baseball doubleheaders.

"We like having a group of people that enjoy our music and I know that we have that, but it's not like we're rock stars or anything at our school," says Howe.

On Saturday night, the band is sharing a bill with another fledgling rock band, Goodbye Dyna, at the PoetHouse. Goodbye Dyna drummer Jay Schmidt stumbled upon the band on MySpace and thought they deserved some attention, even though they were a good decade younger than his own crew.

"I was totally impressed by their songwriting initially, and even more blown away when I found out their age and the brief amount of time they've actually been a band," Schmidt says.

We Are Brontosaurus stand out in Bend's music scene because, put simply, they are in a field of their own. There are other bands - especially among the younger ranks - playing in the same indie rock vein, but We Are Brontosaurus combines emotive vocals (that often bleed into awesomely powerful and delightfully on-key screams), ambient guitar tones and poppy hooks all with a punk rock edge. Yes, their age can be heard at times in some simple song structures, but for the most part the guys are solid beyond their years. It's impossible not to wonder what these guys will sound like once they progress past the days of peanut butter and jelly and baseball practice. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those things.

In a noisy bus rumbling along the Columbia River en route to Pendleton where the Summit High baseball team is playing a three-game series, We Are Brontosaurus drummer (who is also the center fielder for Summit's JV squad), Connor DeSha, tells the story of the band's genesis over a shaky cell phone connection. DeSha and Howe had been in a primarily classic rock band from middle school until last year and continued jamming together until joining up with Quon in October. This resulted in DeSha, previously a bass player, moving to the drums and Quon shifting from guitar to bass.

"I knew that Dylan was a talented guitarist. I knew that Owen was really good, so I could feel something," says DeSha, a devoted Radiohead fan who says, like his band mates, that he would like to immerse himself in a rich music scene when he goes to college.

College is still a couple years away and for now these three guys seem quite content with just being just one band in a constantly growing high school music scene happening here in Bend.

"I like being in a high school band because there's a camaraderie between all the bands," says DeSha. He then pauses before putting it even more simply, "I like the whole idea of being in high school."

We Are Brontosaurus, Goodbye Dyna
7pm Saturday, April 11. PoetHouse Art, 55 NW Minnesota Ave. $5. All ages.

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