Look! Up on the stage! It's a rap artist! It's a rock band! It's... expressionist art?
The fact is that all answers are at least a little bit true when it comes to describing Bend collective MOsley WOtta (MO WO). The 2010 winner of Bend's Last Band Standing competition has been dazzling local and regional stages with energetic concerts ever since earning that title. Last year they took their songwriting capabilities to a new level.
Front man and father Jason Graham combined the storylines into one colossal album titled KinKonK. When Graham was a child, his family moved from the Chicago suburbs to Bend. That fish-out-of-water tale, when magnified through the lens of the 1933 King Kong film and the slave trade, resulted in the fictitious—but reality-based—central character of the album, the larger-than-life KinKonK. The experimental hip-hop concept album wound up rightly placed at No. 4 among the Source's top 200 albums of 2012.
Larry and His Flask (runner up)
The boys of the Flask have been hometown punk-folk heroes since they emerged out of the whiskey-drunk ether of the Breezeway busking their fingers to the bone years ago. The members may no longer be permanent residents of area—the band is on the road most of the year, and even toured as far as Canada and Europe in 2013—but they still manage to draw a loyal crowd to all of their hometown concerts and rally votes to be runner up for Best Band.
Necktie Killer (runner up)
Ska music hasn't been popular since the 90s right? And even then its sway over the airwaves seemed to last for only a millisecond.
Today in Bend, Ska is alive and well thanks to the dynamic band Necktie Killer.
Fast paced is a bit of an understatement when talking about the bounce-til-you-upchuck rowdy offerings of this murderous group of ultra-talented musicians. Necktie Killer compounds the brightness of their danceable dub-pop rock with lustrous brass like trumpet and trombone. (EM)