Razing the Roof with New Neu-Metal
While the Baby Boomers of Eugene are dry-cleaning their bellbottoms and dusting off their platforms for Elton John, the kids are getting ready for that "other” show kicking off the entertainment side of Matthew Knight Arena. The ominously titled Nightmare After Christmas tour is bringing to town some of the biggest hard rock and metal bands in the business today. And the roof of the new arena will be tested, because these guys are going to try to blow it off.
Avenged Sevenfold is one of the foremost bands in what is being called the "New Wave” of American heavy metal. The Southern California band has been shredding it for more than 10 years now ã combining the scream-o bark of hardcore, the riffage of Mtley Cr'e and the double-bass-drum attack of Megadeth. All this is doused with a radio-friendly sheen, making Avenged Sevenfold one of the most commercially successful bands of the new millennium.
Joining Avenged Sevenfold are Hollywood Undead and Stone Sour ã both "new rock” radio staples. Stone Sour is equal parts `90s era bubble-grunge balladry and epic heaviness, while Hollywood Undead plays that hip-hop/metal hybrid sound innovated by Korn and perfected by Linkin Park ã but with a party-friendly edge.
We often see bands in Eugene that are either ascending or descending in their careers, but rarely do we see a bill of bands at the height of their commercial and artistic success. So, lets practice our air guitar, throw up some devil horns with our fingers and hope Matthew Knight Arena continues to be a welcome addition to the music scene in Lane County.
Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Hollywood Undead and New Medicine play at 6:30 pm on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Matthew Knight Arena; $25-$39.75. ã William Kennedy
Weird Banjos and Furrowed Brows
If you're a fan of modern-banjo country rock, youll be pleased to hear that Danny Barnes is rolling through town this week. Fans of unexpected covers will probably be pleased, too, though for haters of the above, it might behoove you to just stay home and get drunk ã Barnes banjo style is strange (to say the least) and his songwriting is even stranger. While its clear that he has a comfortable grasp of both country and bluegrass traditions, he tries to peel away the layers of each genre and create an entirely new sound which, to put it bluntly, is really fucking weird. Though a step up from the likes of Big & Rich and Jason Aldean, Barnes big saving grace is his experience. From a young age he began garnering knowledge and skill with country, bluegrass, jazz, rock and even punk, and so a mélange of styles is able to shine through the country harmonies and banjo chunk.
Despite an array of solid testimonials from the likes of Sam Beam, Dave Matthews and Keller Williams, among others, I found myself with furrowed brow as I listened to his most recent release, Pizza Box. The album is redeemed mostly by its use of guest musicians and some of the more rockin riffs ã beyond that I found it hard to imagine myself ever wanting to pick up Danny Barnes again. As previously stated, fans of this genre will certainly get a kick out of this one; to each his own, thats what makes music great. As for the aforementioned covers: check out his (almost weirder) version of Becks "Loser” from 2003s Dirt on the Angel. Beyond all this, Ill leave it up to you to decide.
Danny Barnes plays with Betty & the Boy at 8:30 pm Friday, Feb. 11, at the Axe & Fiddle; $10. ã Andy Valentine
Airstream 4 Lyfe
Considering the fact that the entirety of Hymn for Hers new album Lucy & Wayne and the Amairican Stream was recorded inside a 16-foot Airstream, its shockingly well engineered. Sure, the acoustics within such a small, metal place were probably useful, but its a testament to the talent shared between Maggie Jane and Pierce Ternay that the album turned out the way it did. The music is different from the Americana floating around these days, mostly due to the distortion that fuzzes the acoustic instruments on almost every song. Hymn for Her clearly had country traditions in mind, though they added a rock twist that makes everything more fun. This isnt just a collection of weakening croons; its a solid record of unique music.
How about that Airstream thing, though, right? So cool. It makes perfect sense that Hymn for Her are touring right now because, well, theyre always touring. They literally live in an Airstream ã no, thats not just a gimmick ã and travel from place to place across the nation recording their music and finding inspiration. Its clear, too, that they drew from multiple sources while recording their newest: sounds of the Delta, sounds of the Northeast, sounds of Arizona and the Southwest, burlesque, country, classic rock, theyre all in there somewhere. Its fun-loving hillbilly rock, and if this is what a mulch of different parts of the U.S. sounds like, maybe the whole country should collaborate some time.
Hymn for Her plays at 10 pm, Friday, Feb. 11, at Diablos Downtown Lounge. ã Andy Valentine
Peace Out, Brooksy
Long-time Lane County resident and fingerstyle guitarist extraordinaire Brooks Robertson says farewell to our beloved city on Feb. 12 when he makes a break for the stars up in Portland. LaVelle Wine Bar, a recurrent host of Robertson, plans to make the event as fitting as possible while we see off one of the areas most talented and unique artists. Brooks has been named the Buster B. Jones of his generation, and this seems apt considering how smoothly and impressively he makes his guitar hum. Jones was also a mentor of Robertson from an early age, and so the legacy of virtuosic fingerpicking will live on for years to come.
Theres something about the power and raw energy of one dude sitting in a chair with just a six string and a bunch of intense chops that makes the heart sing. Brooks has made this feeling a reality for years in Eugene, and theres no doubt hell do the same up in P-town. His reputation is already large, and its boosted magnificently by his memorable second-place overall finish at last years "Yamaha Six String Guitar Theory Competition,” an international event that draws guitarists from almost fifty countries worldwide.
The evening-long "Bon Voyage” event at LaVelle features a meet-and-greet with Robertson starting at 5 pm, a set by local country-pop band Apropos from 6 to 6:45, and a two-hour Brooks set worthy of this momentous sendoff beginning at 7. Food will be available for purchase all night, and everything else is free. Could you really ask for more?
So lets doff our hats to Brooks for supplying us with one of the coolest guitar techniques around. Thanks for all the good times, dude.
The Brooks Robertson "Bon Voyage” concert starts at 5 pm, Saturday, Feb. 12, at LaVelle Wine Bar; FREE. ã Andy Valentine