Eugene has a lot to celebrate: flourishing restaurants and breweries, a refurbished downtown area, leadership in all things green and the friendly vibe, just to name a few. Eugeneans, give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. Since our city has so much to sing about, who better to help ring in another glorious Eugene Celebration than a smorgasbord of national and local musical acts? We’ve put together our list of must-see acts that love the city as much as we do.
Friday, August 23
When guitarist Gretchen Menn and drummer Clementine came to the realization that they both wanted to learn Led Zeppelin’s music, the all-woman tribute band Zepparella was born. “These are players that made us want to play the instruments that we play. They’re our heroes,” Clementine says. Without recreating Zeppelin’s stage shows, the band creates its own individuality by improvising within the framework of the original songs. Be sure to catch Zepparella’s answer to the heavily intricate “Dazed and Confused,” in which Clementine says each member really gets to shine. Zepparella rocks the LCC Atrium Stage 10:30 pm to midnight.
Saturday, August 24
Pinback is the partnership between Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell Smith IV, two San Diegans who have been creating postmodern indie pop since their self-titled debut album in 1998. Pinback blends synth hooks with catchy acoustic guitar licks, a la their 2001 song, “Penelope.” Guitarist and vocalist Rob Crow is humbled and excited about returning to Eugene. “I’m just thankful to play at all,” Crow says. “We put out everything and always try to play as many songs as possible.” Pinback plays 10:30 pm to midnight at the LCC Atrium Stage.
For 22-year-old Caroline Bauer, music was never something she thought she would be known for in the public sphere. “The private experience of writing a song in and of itself was enough to sustain me for a long time,” the acoustic songstress says. Yet Bauer’s melodic magic created by her tender honey-dripping voice and perfectly paired acoustic guitar unfailingly pulls audiences into her vulnerable, honest world. With her EP Goodbye Beautiful out, her “Last Train Home” music video gaining national acclaim and her first album on the horizon, this EW Next Big Thing finalist is only at the dawn of what is sure to be an illuminating career. Caroline Bauer plays 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Eugene Weekly/KRVM Broadway Stage.
Portland is home to some fantastic combinations, such as adding bacon to a doughnut, so it’s no wonder that the part-hillbilly blues and part-punk band Hillstomp calls Rip City its home. Similar to older Black Keys, Hillstomp is the union between a loud guitar and a hammering set of drums with some washboard, buckets and spoons thrown in. Known to draw in new fans due to their energetic performances, Hillstomp is a force to be reckoned with. Catch them at the Equinox Real Estate/KLCC Stage from 6 to 7 pm.
Eugene Celebration will be a homecoming of sorts for Danny Seim, one half of Portland’s Menomena. “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s a feeling of nostalgia there,” says the drummer, who grew up in the Emerald City. These multi-instrumental purveyors of progressive indie rock slam down complex rhythms and brutally honest lyrics to emote an aggressive experimental sound. Even naming the band Menomena — for the Muppets song that the band later discovered was originally composed for a Swedish porno — perfectly describes the very aesthetic that the band’s content embodies: young, personal and cheeky with hints of intellectual sarcasm. Don’t miss Menomena 9 to 10 pm at the LCC Atrium Stage.
Sunday, August 25
Moondoggies’ songwriter and guitarist, Kevin Murphy, was born deaf in his right ear. “I’ve read that’s the music ear,” Murphy says, while checking in before the band’s upcoming tour in support of its new record, Adios I’m a Ghost. Even with the musical ear impairment, Murphy and Co. continue to make classic rock sound exciting with scorching guitar solos and sing-along harmonies. In their live shows, the Moondoggies aim to leave nothing behind. “Some people control the stage,” Murphy says. “I go up there and try and give it my all.” See for yourself at the Equinox Real Estate/KLCC Stage from 3 to 4 pm.
When Laurie Shook happened upon a man holding a giant golden egg in Seattle, she had no idea of its supernatural powers. It wasn’t until she started using it as a makeshift percussion instrument in her band Shook Twins that she realized its full potential. “It will grant wishes to anybody,” she says. “It’s beautiful.” Like the egg, the quirky modern folk sextet, captained by identical twin sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook, embodies an adolescent magic. Armed with guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, glockenspiel, beat boxing and the famous golden egg, Shook Twins flawlessly capture a range of dark to feel-good content by way of their raw instrumental talent and folksy charisma. Shook Twins shake things up 4:30 to 6 pm at the Eugene Weekly/KRVM Broadway Stage.
It’s impossible to list every not-to-miss act here, so go to eugenecelebration.com for the full listings to make sure you don’t miss local faves Floydian Slips, Marv Ellis, Lafa Taylor and Moonalice, the latter of whom will be sure to play Eugene’s theme song: “It’s 4:20 Somewhere.”