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April 1, 2015 11:03 AM

Treefort Music Festival

Foxygen frontman Sam France

Boise, the cultural oasis of Idaho, as well as Eastern Oregon, hosted the fourth annual 5-day Treefort Music Festival this past weekend.

Treefort doesn’t have the drugged-out “let’s-wear-American-flags-as-capes” vibe as Sasquatch or Coachella. Instead, its part-street fair part-Portland’s MusicFestNW (back when it was still held in various bars). Treefort consists of several areas, including Alefort, Comedyfort, Yogafort and Hackfort (for tech-savvy festivalgoers), as well as a main stage.

Adjacent to the main tent is a block-long row of food carts, where you can get everything from Boise’s own potato bacon pizza to the Boston shake — a milkshake with a sundae on top. Each day, four or five shows performed on the main stage, with the rest scattered at 20 different venues in the downtown area, creating a city-wide community music celebration.

Friday night, Built to Spill gave a less than enthusiastic performance, lacking the same energy as (I hope) they had 15 years ago. Frontman Doug Martsch looked like he’d rather sleep than play an encore — but maybe I’m just bitter they didn’t play “Strange.” Built to Spill closed out the main stage, but the downtown party had just begun.

Afterward, San Francisco pop punk band Joyce Manor played a full house to the industrial-style bar Knitting Factory, covering songs from their latest release Never Hungover Again. When they asked the crowd to buy them tequila shots, a woman obliged and the band happily took them onstage.

A few blocks away, Neurolux was filled to capacity with a line halfway down the block. Boise band The Dirty Moogs, a gang of four men with white-rimmed glasses and button-down shirts played electronic space-age music as a laser light show was projected on a thin scrim in front of them.

Saturday’s lineup included Desert Noises, Motopony and !!! (pronounded chk-chk-chk) on the main stage, as well as shows until 2 am to round out Treefort’s last night.

In the early evening, New Orleans band Generationals played the main stage, providing indie electro-rock jams for the sunny Boise day, playing songs from their recent release Alix and ending with “Trust,” an anthemy dance song that’s genuinely hard not to like.

What Generationals did best, however, was warming up the crowd for Foxygen, the Westlake, California-based psychedelic rock band. Foxygen gave one of the best performances of the day, complete with choreography from ’60s-style backup dancers, broken mirrors and the always energetic performance of frontman Sam France, who is reminiscent of Mick Jagger. The photographers were equally as entertaining to watch as they dodged France’s movements while clicking aways.

Later that night, Of Montreal performed to a sold-out show at the El Korah Shrine (or “The Shriner” to locals). The Athens-based psychedelic rock band (who’s toured with both Foxygen and Generationals) played for almost two hours, performing everything from “The Party’s Crashing Us” (2005) to songs from their recent release Aureate Gloom. The always enigmatic frontman Kevin Barnes sang with a solemn, straight face as projections of psychedelic kaleidoscopic art and images of sperm played behind him. The show ended in a prompt and epic 25-minute encore. During this time, most of the crowd made their way out and only the truest Of Montreal appreciators danced until the end.

Despite the 8-hour drive through high desert and eerily small towns, I’m sold for Treefort 2016.

March 31, 2015 05:11 PM

The Eugene Police Department would like your help catching a cat burglar whose exploits were caught on a cat cam.

More precisely, EPD is seeking an armed robber who broke into a house near the University of Oregon. The robber was filmed by a camera set up by a cat sitter to record the cats he was caring for while the owners were away. 

In the first video, if you look fast, you will see one of the kitties in question, as well as the burglar. In the second you just see the guy turning off the camera. If you can ID the robber, the Eugene police would like you to give them a call at 541.682.5573

(The full press release is below.)


Video one

Kitty (not a suspect)

Actual suspect


Video two (aka dude turns off the camera)

Here is the full (short) press release from EPD:

Detectives looking for information in Burglary (Video footage)

Last week, Property Crimes detectives received information and video of a burglary that happened on Sunset Drive, near the University of Oregon campus, directly to the east. The incident happened on the second story of a two-level residence and was captured on video, after a person house-sitting for the owner set-up a camera to watch the cats while the owners were away.



If anyone has information about the armed suspect in this video, please contact detectives at 541.682.5573

Update: Can you still call them cat burglars if they aren't stealth? They have arrested two people in connection with the crime. 

March 30, 2015 02:45 PM


Words by Rick Levin • Photos by Todd Cooper

As Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield kicked into a tremulous, tender cover of Elliott Smith’s “Baby Britain” to open their March 27 set at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, the butterflies were evident. After all, Portland was Smith’s stomping ground, and Avett and Mayfield — on tour to support their gorgeous new album of Smith songs — were acutely aware that, for many in the audience, they were treading hallowed ground. Avett acknowledged this fact a few songs into the set, when he said that, were they to play only one show on the tour, Portland would be it.

And so, nerves and all, Avett and Mayfield were embraced by a packed house of hometown fans who were treated to a cycle of songs that touched every beautiful, bittersweet byway of Elliott Smith’s brilliant career. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime performances — a perfect convergence of history, artistry and inspiration — as two great songwriters, so deeply touched by the craft of a departed fellow musician, pour their heart and soul into a celebration that seemed to overflow the time and place that defines it.

Any trepidation quickly disappeared, as Avett and Mayfield brought an engaging combination of warmth and humility to the stage, which resembled a sort of stylized Betty Crocker kitchen from the 1950s — perfect for the intimate buzz of Smith’s songwriting, which turned everyday scenes into cosmic meditations on love, loneliness and the ravages of addiction. The song selection — moving from anthems of alienation (“Let’s Get Lost” and “Memory Lane”) to scorched ballads (“Between the Bars”) to eulogies to annihilation (“Fond Farewell” and the stunning “Twilight”) — was interspersed with originals by both Avett and Mayfield as well as a number of fantastic covers, including Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” George Harrison’s “I Me My” and a rollicking version of Neil Young’s “Out on the Weekend.”

It might sound distinctly un-Elliott-Smith-like, but a kind of collective love and faith flowed through the Crystal Ballroom that evening, a feeling of mutual connection to Smith’s music as well as an affection for two fine performers who brought their considerable talents to bear on a tribute long in the making. At the end of the show, and two standing ovations later, it felt like something momentous, even necessary, had occurred — a resolution of sorts, like something broken put back together, if for just a moment. 





March 26, 2015 01:33 PM
It's spring break; the weather is great and half of Oregon is on vacation (since apparently every school in the state has the same break). The University of Oregon seems to be celebrating by getting rid of staff that either release records OR object to the release of records.
The R-G reports that the UO has apparently not only rid itself of the archivists who released records from the presidential archives to a UO professor who requested them, but also this break week fired one of the school's counseling center employees who "letter criticizing the university for accessing an 18-year-old student’s therapy records."
According to the R-G in the case of the archivsts and the document release:
The document trove — which the university eventually recovered — contained emails, reports and other papers of four former presidents, university sources said.
That would be the records of Michael Gottfredson, who resigned in August; Bob Berdahl, who served as interim president; Richard Lariviere, who was fired in 2011; and the late Dave Frohnmayer, who retired in 2009.
Citing the confidentiality of personnel decisions, Klinger declined to elaborate on the archivists’ departure from their jobs.
The archivists, James Fox and Kira Homo, could not be reached for comment. They have been on administrative leave since the administration discovered the release of the documents.
Meanwhile, the therapist announced her dismissal via email, the R-G writes:
Karen Stokes, former executive assistant to the director of the counseling center, announced her dismissal in an e-mail broadcast to counseling center staff today.
Stokes and senior staff therapist Jennifer Morlok alleged in February that the university interfered with the student’s care and took the student’s private medical records — to prepare for litigation — without the student’s permission.
In Thursday’s e-mail, Stokes wrote: “I am disappointed that the UO has chosen this course of action. I, along with Jenny, had hoped that our letter of concern regarding the medical records that we believe were unethically and illegally disclosed would promote positive changes.
“Instead of taking our concerns to heart and recognizing the courage it took to come forward with such concerns, the UO appears to be more concerned about defending itself and attacking those who brought the ethical and legal concerns to light,” Stokes wrote.
No updates on any of this on the UO's media relations page.  However, Economics Prof. Bill Harbaugh, who was the faculty member who requested the presidential records has some updates on his UOMatters.com site, as well as his letter to the library committee on the issue:
Subject: “The Incident”
From: Bill Harbaugh
Date: March 18, 2015 at 12:18:48 AM EDT
To: Adriene Lim <alim@uoregon.edu>
Dear Dean Lim, Associate Dean Bonamici, and members of the Library Committee -
Thank you for allowing me to attend your meeting today.
At the meeting Andrew Bonamici said that, in the interests of balancing confidentiality and public access, and the impossibility of inspecting every document individually, that the UO archives had policies or procedures for allowing researchers access to files and folders from the archives that had not been fully reviewed for confidentiality. This access was conditional on researchers agreeing not to make confidential documents public. (This is not verbatim, it’s my recollection of the gist of what Andrew said.)
I don’t know what you’ve been told about how I got the digital Presidential Archives, but there was nothing nefarious about it. I sent the special collections reference desk a request for information on how to access the digital archives. I was told that the digital archives might contain confidential documents protected by FERPA or other laws, and that if I agreed not to release those documents, I should send in a usb key and I would get the archives.
[Here’s the disclaimer language: Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.]
I agreed to this condition. I sent in the usb key. I got the documents back. I kept the confidential documents confidential, as I had promised.
It strikes me that this is exactly the procedure that Andrew explained today should have been followed by the archives. It was followed.
So, what is this controversy all about? I only posted two documents. No one has made a credible case for either being confidential. One, of course, was very embarrassing to the General Counsel’s office, and, in my opinion, that’s why the UO administration went after me, and the archivists.
Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics
March 23, 2015 04:12 PM

Eugene School Board Chair Jim Torrey is facing some competition for his spot this year. Kevin Cronin, regional field director for the Democratic Party of Oregon and "Best Local Hellraiser" in EW's Best of Eugene, entered the fray and filed for Position #5 on the Eugene School Board on March 18, creating a Facebook page and running on a platform revolving around funding. He says on his gofundme page:

I am running to eliminate the root of 4J’s funding problems - Measure 5. Measures 5, 47, and 50 cripple local revenues, cutting local funding for schools. State revenue isn’t always reliable, and 4J has sought alternative funding methods in the past. Before my first term is over, I will organize a coalition of school boards, community organizations, and responsible Oregonians who believe in overturning the failed policies that got us into this mess.

In an email to EW, Cronin says he's running because Oregon's school system is broken. "I went to high school here in Oregon and I dropped out in the 9th grade," he writes. "I eventually went to community college, then graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013. The 4J Board does not have any young people serving on it. I can be the voice the board lacks. I know first hand how our schools fail young people."

Meanwhile, Eugene musician, parent and college student David Nickles made his school board announcment after Cronin's, citing his motivation to run based on his lack of choice when he was a 4J student.

On his Wordpress website, he says:

You might ask how 4J failed me. The answer: Lack of choice. The one-size-fits-all approach to education may work for the majority, but is pure oppression to the greatest minority of all: The minority of the individual.

Unchallenged by the curriculum and without options, I quickly lost the passion for learning that my parents worked so hard to instill. School, for students like me, became a sobering lesson in the insanity of the omnipotent state. Our public schools are a tragedy, and simply throwing more money at a broken system is not the solution that our students deserve.

My solution? Choice.

My opponents, incumbent “conservative” Jim Torrey and Democratic Party insider Kevin Cronin, will speak of taxes and budget shortfalls. I, however, will be speaking about choice.

Jim Torrey, former mayor of Eugene, has served on the 4J board in Position #5 since 2007 and currently serves as chair. 

Eileen Nittler is campaigning for Position #4 on the 4J school board to fill the spot of Craig Smith, who is not seeking reelection. Also running for Position #4 are Scott Landgreen and John A. Baumann, a retired doctor.

 And there's one other contested race: Incumbent Mary Walston will run for Position #7 against candidate Colin Farnsworth, Oregon coordinator for national civil rights group People Against the National Defense Authorization Act. 

The deadline to file for 4J School Board has passed, and the election is May 19.

March 23, 2015 12:20 PM

It’s difficult to imagine a finer or more fitting tribute to the songwriting genius of Elliott Smith than the new release Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. Smith, who died tragically in 2003, left behind a gorgeous body of work that plumbs the abyss of alienation and addiction, in songs whose compositional genius and pristine lyricism remain, to a large degree, underappreciated beyond his core fan base and musicians, like Avett and Mayfield, who recognize his rare gifts.

Despite — and, wickedly enough, thanks to — his struggles with heroin, Smith forged a solo career marked by a kind of scorched, ferocious integrity that forever flirted with the dark side, and his songs emerge from some personal hell as gems burnt clean of cant and caterwaul. Combining a poet’s sense of image and metaphor with an ear for pop phrasing that recalls the Beatles and Dylan, Smith wrote sad songs that transcend their own sordid subject matter, achieving the besieged grace of pure art.

Reaching into the rich, textured trove of Smith’s music, Avett and Mayfield have selected a cycle of songs that at once captures the depth and breadth of his talents, while also perfectly suiting their own. Years in the making, this album functions as a great (re)introduction to Smith’s music — a respectful, deeply felt tribute to the legacy of a fellow great musician. But it is also a lovely album in its own right, revealing new layers to Smith’s songwriting without losing a thread of his artistic intent.

From the early classic “Between the Bars,” which opens the album, on through posthumously released classics like “Fond Farewell” and “Twilight,” Avett and Mayfield bring an abiding passion and musical economy to their performance, teasing out the universal blues that hide in Smith’s idiosyncratic confessionals. Mayfield’s honey-sweet voice, so excruciatingly evident on tracks like “Angel in the Snow,” is the perfect counterpoint to the crackling vulnerability of Avett, whose soaring vocals turn “Somebody That I Used to Know” into a desperate plea. And when the two of them harmonize, the results are pure lovely.

What’s most amazing is the way Mayfield and Avett are capable of taking what’s most hermetic and idiosyncratic about Smith’s work — the sly drug analogies, the agonized kicks, the rococo junky spirals of immaculately damned logic — and finding their own language of love and loss. Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith is a labor of love. More than that, it is a nod to a tragic artist whose music, so painfully and delicately wrought, so brutally truthful and truthfully pretty, is its own redemption.

“An Evening with Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield” performing the songs of Elliott Smith takes place 8pm Friday, March 27, at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom; $45, all ages, tickets at etix.com.


Photo by Crackerfarm

March 17, 2015 11:59 AM

Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Words by Rick Levin • Photos by Todd Cooper

No doubt Jeff Tweedy is one of the finest songwriters of his generation, but what really puts him over the top as an artist is that voice — by turns raw, scorched and honey-sweet, Tweedy’s singing is capable of evoking moments of passion in all their complexity, walking a tightrope between sincerity and irony, vulnerability and rage. And that voice was on full display Sunday, March 15, when — with his latest outfit named, suitably enough, Tweedy — the Wilco front man performed an intimate set of new and old stuff for a rapt audience at The Shedd.

Backed by a band that included some longtime friends as well as his son, Spencer, on drums, Tweedy commenced his set with a cycle of songs drawn from the new band’s 2014 debut, Sukierae, which includes squelchy, anthemic hard rockers (“Please Don’t Let Me Be So Understood”) as well as a handful of pop gems (“Summer Noon”) and the sort of gutsy, waltz-driven folk (“Nobody Dies Anymore”) that’s become the man’s trademark.

As tight and engaging as the band was, it was Tweedy’s warm, humorous banter between numbers that drew in the crowd. Typically focused and taciturn, Tweedy on this night engaged the crowd with wry, lighthearted jabs about Eugene’s “stoner” status as well as relating the story of his brother’s aborted career at the University of Oregon in the ‘70s.

But, in the end, it was the music that mattered most, as Tweedy and crew wove a rich, moving tapestry of a sound into the rapt atmosphere of The Shedd’s Jacqua Hall. In between rollicking sets by the band, Tweedy took center stage, alone under a single spotlight, and played a series of songs that reached back into his substantial catalogue, including stark, moving renditions of “Jesus, etc.” and “You and I,” as well as a stunning rendition of “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and the old Wilco classic “Passenger Side.”

Opening for Tweedy was The Minus 5, an all-star band founded by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.) and including among its current members R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. Supporting their latest album, Dungeon Golds, the Minus 5 ripped through a set of smart garage rock that was the perfect appetizer.

Audio from the performance can be downloaded at Seen & Heard


Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)

The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)

March 16, 2015 04:19 PM

Last Night Today: Tycho at McDonald

 On Sunday night, the McDonald Theatre was filled with a swaying crowd and the ambient music of Tycho – the four-piece San Francisco band who favors blissful synths and sunset gradients.

 Tycho is producer Scott Hansen, along with Zac Brown (bass) — who bears no relation to the country singer — and Rory O’Connor (drums). Although Hansen released his first EP back in 2002, Tycho is most known for 2011 album Dive and 2014 album Awake, which spurred performances on the music festival circuit last year. Eugene was the first stop on the group’s spring 2015 tour.

Electronic musician SHIGETO, a fellow Ghostly International act, opened the show. By the time Tycho started a little past 9 pm, both levels of the McDonald were nearly filled with people, despite Monday being the start of finals for students.

After the first song, Tycho received an explosive applause that matched more of what I imagine the McDonald’s recent J. Cole concert received than I would have expected for the laidback nature of Tycho. But as the set progressed, the band supplemented dreamy synth vibes with catchy bass riffs that rounded out the ambient sound. Seeing Tycho in concert effectively convinced me that they’re an act that’s worth going to see, not just to accompany study sessions or to fall asleep to.

The band has become famous for their aesthetically pleasing stripped down album art, which features a circle with a gradient of colors present in a sunset. The onstage backdrop was evocative of this same aesthetic, features kaleidoscope images of the same colors mixed with montage video footage of indie girls, the sky and sand.

Tycho succeeded in providing a stimulating experience, bringing their music from people’s bedrooms to the stage.

March 16, 2015 11:51 AM

WildCraft Cider Works and Mame put together a great Sushi and Cider dinner last night. Here is a little look.

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

March 11, 2015 04:27 PM

On Feb. 26, we wrote about Old Growth Ales, a local brewery that's aiming to expand its outreach and start producing its medicinal and botanical ales on a commercial scale.

This week, Old Growth Ales made its fundraising goal of $20,000 on Kickstarter, with a total of 158 backers raising $20,361. See the jubilant victory post here.

We'll be looking out to see what comes next for Eugene's latest brewery!

March 9, 2015 12:55 PM

Some remarkable footage of a bayou sinkhole in Alabama sucking down trees. And this is not the only place this is happening.

March 9, 2015 12:24 PM

In case you missed it on the radio, find photos and an audio track on tiny houses on the NPR program On Point with Tom Ashbrook.