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Weekend Rally: Getting our Bend Roots stuck and trying to dance with Taj 

click to enlarge The Dirty Words Display the Ultimate Rock Star Stance.
  • The Dirty Words Display the Ultimate Rock Star Stance.
The Dirty Words Display the Ultimate Rock Star Stance.
With Oktoberfest raging downtown on Oregon Avenue, wiener dogs racing about and beers sliding down many a throat, a Floater show at Midtown and Alaska's Paper Scissors indie jamming at the Silver Moon, Sound Check sketched out a nice plan to hit it all on Saturday. But the first stop was the Bend Roots Revival, where we'd poked our collective head in on Friday night for the tail end of the Person People throwdown and also returned later for the Grateful Dead covers by Rising Tide.

Saturday's Bend Roots lineup was complete with all the local all-stars, and we got started early with a show by Anastacia and her new band that showcased the songwriting ability of one of Central Oregon's finest female performers. Next we took in some Brit-flavored indie rock from the young men of Space Hoax and chased that down with a rousing set by the raging rock and roll sounds of The Dirty Words.

We then settled in for a pitcher of margaritas with The River Pigs before helping the sun set with a friggin' insane set by the increasingly tight Empty Space Orchestra, who delivered an all instrumental set. OK, so by this point we were supposed to be packing up for a trip downtown for a quick Oktoberfest appearance before heading up to Greenwood for the Silver Moon/Domino Room scene...but we couldn't leave the intersection of 14th and Galveston...just couldn't desert the local music scene.

So, thus did Sound Check spend the rest of the night getting down to DJ Barisone, who warmed the crowd for the rolling funk powerhouse we like to call El Dante. And damn have those guys gotten their act together - tossing out a cover of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" along with a set that had the crowd packed into the Victorian Café tent gyrating. And the groove continued even after Bend Roots organizers said - in true block party fashion - that they'd have to tone it down a notch to accommodate the neighbors.

click to enlarge Taj Mahal: Blues Great and Tommy Bahama shirt model.
  • Taj Mahal: Blues Great and Tommy Bahama shirt model.
Taj Mahal: Blues Great and Tommy Bahama shirt model.Sunday night saw us recharged and checking out The Taj Mahal Trio at the Tower Theater. Celebrating 40 years of making music, Taj proved he's still got it...and then some. The man can shake it! Too bad there was no space in the Tower auditorium for Sound Check to shake it along with the master. Most of the show was dominated by his more popular hits and an especially lively and animated rendition of "Annie Mae." One day before the release of his new album, Maestro, Taj played a new track from that record, "Zanzibar," and had the whole crowd mesmerized-even without the gorgeous voice of Angelique Kidjo, who accompanies him on the album.

Tickets were pretty pricey, so it's no surprise there were plenty of open seats. There very well may have been some who might appreciate the mastery of Taj's blues guitar, but didn't have the cash to get in the door. It also didn't help that the show was at the end of the Bend Roots weekend, and some might have opted out, having gorged themselves on free music for three days straight.

For video from Bend Roots Revival, click on over to

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