From classic country to French pop rock to '90s grunge adjacent American rock — Bend's got quite the plethora of big names in the industry coming to town, and it feels like it's safe to say a summer in Central Oregon is becoming an ongoing music festival. Like, who are we? We're pretty lucky, folks! The Source Weekly staff has been in the pit, on the lawn and singing loud from the crowd at some certainly special shows. Here are a few we caught, and our general gist...
The Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Corgan was in full Goth (semi Julia Fox) eye makeup on Aug. 6, wearing a Nosferatu-esque cloak and studded black boots while serenading classics like "Tonight Tonight," "Cherub Rock," "Zero," "Adore," and a rather weird Talking Heads cover of "Once In A Lifetime." He even gave a shoutout to Smith Rock Records stating, "You guys got a really great record shop."
"A Night With Cake" on Aug. 4 consisted of a start time at a snoozy 8pm with an intermission in between. John McCrea, was the show a stand-up comedy set or headlining performance? Despite the time spent talking to the crowd versus the blasting trumpet, that giant disco ball was pretty cool.
Stone Temple Pilots
I've got to say, STP really brought the heat. Opening for The Smashing Pumpkins, original members since 1989, Eric Kretz (drums) and the DeLeo brothers, Dean and Robert (bass and guitar) and current lead singer Jeff Gutt amped up the energy early in the set with "Big Bang Baby" and "Vasoline" and continued with tracks off of its 1994 breakthrough record "Purple" — like "Big Empty" and "Interstate Love Song."
If Thomas Mars' crowd surfing on Aug. 3, ahead of the Beck performance, didn't go viral, then for those of you who may have missed it — it may have been the most epic performance of their smashing hit, "1901" — which was playing on every indie-alt. radio in 2009. The band's double-decker stage and double screened neon visuals made its indie-pop sound pop off for the eyes and ears of the crowd. Lots of jumping and dancing.
Holy wow. Mr. Beck, David Hansen, really brought it. Not to mention, he gave a shout out to the kayakers listening from the river. That was pretty rad. He opened his Aug. 3 show with "Devil's Haircut" (one of my personal favorites) and gifted the Hay Ho crowd with classics including "Loser," "Think I'm In Love" and "Dreams." He flashed some disco moves, and even dropped his hip-hop vibe with "Wow," — off of his 2017 record "Colors." The visuals were off the chain and you could really tell he was feeling the lyrics and the crowd. Also, did anyone see on Beck's Instagram story that Krist Novoselic (co-founder of Nirvana) was behind the stage? Wild.
Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Mt. Joy, Yola and so much more at FairWell Festival
FairWell Festival on July 21-23 at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds was a buffet of amazing artists – everyone from Willie Nelson and Zach Bryan to Sheryl Crow and Band of Horses. While most people stuck around to see Willie Nelson close out the festival on Sunday night, the party got started early, on Friday, with so many fun moments. Some of our favorites throughout the weekend: Nathaniel Rateliff's seemingly effortless talent, Yola's guitar playing and overall incredible stage presence (and that voice!), Mt. Joy's inclusion of a fitness trainer doing burpees, and energetic Charley Crockett singing honky tonk with that deep, velvet voice, Band of Horses belting out its popular tunes, and of course, Willie Nelson playing alongside his son, Micah Nelson. What a ride!