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Empty Space Orchestra: Pre-snow shovel jam.Not trying to brag or boast (or eat French toast), but Sound Check's prediction for what was to go down

click to enlarge Empty Space Orchestra: Pre-snow shovel jam.
  • Empty Space Orchestra: Pre-snow shovel jam.
Empty Space Orchestra: Pre-snow shovel jam.
Not trying to brag or boast (or eat French toast), but Sound Check's prediction for what was to go down last Saturday night was pretty much dead on. Yup, nailed it!

As forecasted on the Our Picks page last week, we said that folks would start up the night at the Silver Moon for the gutted version of Larry and His Flask, and so they did. Music fans rocked the moon as the increasingly wacky yet acoustic members of LAHF tossed their bodies around the room. The band then offered up praise for Hillstomp, the Portland gritty blues duo playing across the street at the Domino Room and instructed its fans to head over to that show as they wrapped up their own set.


A bit earlier, at the aforementioned venue across the street, Bend's own Empty Space Orchestra proudly filled the opening slot for Hillstomp, serving up a constantly evolving instrumental sound that has lately become the talk of the scene. Saturday night's set saw the band cross genres, sounding like alt-jazz trio The Bad Plus at times and at others pumping out harder rocking interludes reminiscent of Built to Spill. Showcasing the sick amount of talent that exists within the band, the entire lineup gathered around an assortment of drums (with bassist Shane Thomas pounding on an old snow shovel) cranking out an intensely tribal groove to close out a set that had much of the floor moving.

Sound Check then went out for a breath of fresh air, which was quickly followed by a long succession of not-so-fresh breaths inside a smoky M&J Tavern where Tex Velvet were providing country favorites to a mostly crowded bar.

Returning to the Domino Room, Hillstomp had just taken the stage, raging through a bucket slamming, guitar wailing version of R.L. Burnside's "Poor Black Mattie" and a number of other blues-meets-punk originals that have become steady favorites here in Bend over time. We said there would be a big crowd in the Domino Room and we were right - but what we didn't expect was a near packed house of revelers cheering on the Portland duo.

Guitarist Henry Kammerer, with his hair split into a pair of French braids and wearing what appeared to be glorified swim goggles, thanked the crowd for coming out, adding that it was the band's last show for a few months and how pleased he was to be taking a break on such a high note. Good job, Bend - nothing like providing some post-Thanksgiving feel goodery.

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