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From the Ashes: Jukebot and Blowin Smoke 

click to enlarge onstage_blowinsmoke.jpg

Last fall, a staple of Bend's live music scene for the past few years, El Dante, decided to call it quits. Those who saw El Dante probably remember their mostly jammy take on reggae, funk and positive-vibe rock bent on moving some asses on the dance floor. The six-piece outfit was kind of like an inordinately talented wedding band, but without the tuxedos and the cornball-ishness.

The band decided that their stylistic differences were enough to lead them in different directions, and it seems they have done just that, quickly forming two new outfits. First there's Jukebot, which features two El Dante members in Gabe Johnson and Tyler Mason and played a coming-out show at McMenamins a few weeks back after originally forming to serve as the Church of Neil house band.

The other faction of El Dante, vocalist Marzell Sampson, keyboardist Erik Murdock and percussionist Jarrod Donatelli went on to create Blowin Smoke (photographed), which debuts on Friday night at the M&J Tavern. Murdock says Blowin Smoke is keeping El Dante's party vibe going with plenty of funky dance-rock sounds. The band also includes Mark Barackman on guitar and bass, Nathan Wegner on bass, flute and sax and Brett Allehoff taking up drumming duties.

Murdock says there's no bad blood between the two factions, even after a somewhat rocky break up (show me a band break up that's not "rocky" and I'll show you my pet unicorn). All in all, it's great to see that the talents found in El Dante haven't died off. If anything, this has expanded the local offerings and given us twice as many chances to party along to the sounds of these acts, which you can do this weekend.


9pm Friday, February 19. Silver Moon Brewing Co, 24 NW Greenwood Ave. $5. Brent Alan and Gabe Johnson Duo open.

Blowin' Smoke

9pm Saturday, February 20. M&J Tavern, 102 NW Greenwood Ave. Free. Joanna Lee opens.

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