The drive from San Francisco to Portland is more than 600 miles, and the inspiration to keep moving can range from energy drinks to mix CDs, but for Eric D. Johnson, frontman for the indie rockers Fruit Bats, the inspiration is Eugene’s Fisherman’s Market. “That is one of my favorite places ever,” he says. “I often find myself doing these really long, crazy, balls-out San Francisco-to-Portland drives all the time. That’s like my treat to myself on the home stretch. I find myself often truckin’ up the [I]5 just thinking about an awesome, delicious fish sandwich.”
Fruit Bats have been producing music for over a decade and their sound recalls the falsetto vocals of Neil Young mixed with the subtle rock of alternative country. Their last release, 2011’s Tripper, was replete with thumping acoustic jams and would play perfectly alongside The Shins or Dr. Dog. The Fruit Bats were last in town in 2011 when they played at WOW Hall. “Our last show in Eugene was like our favorite show we’ve ever done,” he says. “We have a lot to live up to.”
The Fruit Bats will share the stage with Yellowbirds, a Brooklyn group that finds the sweet spot between pop and psychedelic garage rock. Johnson has known Yellowbirds singer Sam Cohen since the early days of Fruit Bats. “We’re kindred spirits, I think, in a lot of ways,” Johnson says. “If anybody is a fan of Fruit Bats, they’re probably going to like Yellowbirds.”
Fruit Bats play with Yellowbirds 9 pm Thursday, Aug. 1, at Sam Bond’s; $10.