Double-REVIEW: Beck @ Les Schwab (Bend, OR – 5/27/12) and Jack White @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 5/28/12)
It was a long Memorial Day weekend. But it was a musically fruitful weekend. I could have made it more fruitful by adding The Shins / Blind Pilot / Head and the Heart as well as the Tenacious D shows on Friday and Saturday in Bend, respectively; alas, I needed to save some time and energy for Beck in Bend on Sunday and Jack White in Eugene on Monday. It was still quite a great full weekend for my ears!
I had never seen either Beck or Jack White in concert. I was familiar with Beck’s music fairly well… having all of his stuff. I was completely unfamiliar with Jack White’s music – outside of some of the White Stripes and Raconteurs that I’d heard. Needless to say, I was equally excited about both shows.
Beck in Bend was the tail-end of a nice “Bend Ale Trail” weekend for me… sampling some new places for me: 10 Barrel Brewing & Good Life Brewing. Both highly recommended for their beer and their food! Bend also had some lovely weather and some odd rainbows in the clouds…
Metric was Beck’s opener… the Toronto indie rock quartet ripped through a dancey hour-long set. Their fifth album, Synthetica, comes out on June 12, 2012. If the way they had the Bend audience going is any indication, the new album should be a crowd pleaser as well.
Beck went on after a short set break… kicking the show off right with some Odelay goodness by way of “Devil’s Haircut.”
Among his two-hour long set, he bounced around his back and “recent” catalog (2008’s Modern Guilt) fairly well. Every era got some great representation. As mentioned, I had never seen him live before. I was pleasantly surprised with the great mix, especially the songs off of Sea Change…
Beck’s Setlist: about 2 hours
- Devil’s Haircut
- Black Tambourine
- Soul of a Man
- The Golden Age
- Lost Cause
- Sunday Sun
- Think I’m In Love
- The New Pollution
- Modern Guilt
- Paper Tiger
- “Song for Bend” [Improv]
- End of the Day
- Tropicalia [partial]
- Gamma Ray
- Where It’s At
- Encore: Soldier Jane
- Looking Back
Next, on to Eugene…
I missed Jack White’s opener, Quasi. I’d heard of them before, and would have liked to have seen the show (I like Sam Coomes work with Elliott Smith). Alas, driving back from Bend and personal commitments made it so we skated into the venue right as Quasi was ending their set… d’oh!
Jack White’s show… what to say, what to say? Professional, yet muddy. Loud, yet not necessary. Thoroughly energetic, yet confusing. Quite enjoyable, yet painful.
The man writes hooky songs, and plays guitar and piano very well… yet, the sound was cranked through the roof. It lost so many of the lushness and subtlety that I think would have been suited for this show at the Hult Center.
Another thing that can’t go without mentioning, the “III” imagery abounding. Sure, rockstars should have iconic imagery. But a suffix namesake seems like an odd thing to so vehemently brand… unless you’re branding your ego or something.
Several times it seemed as if Eugene wasn’t stroking his ego enough… he quipped that if we didn’t want, they didn’t have to come back out (after their 45 minute initial set). He tried to get the crowd to do a sing-a-long on one song, but it seemed as if the song had ended already, and it was more of a confusing thing (or so it seemed to me).
The loudness, was, again… unnecessary. Fantastic musicianship and seemingly intricate things going on with fantastic players… completely lost in the brash, feedback-induced sound cloud. So many subtleties lost. So many subtleties lost.
Jack White’s Setlist: two sets, ~45 mins & ~35 mins
- Set 1: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground [The White Stripes]
- Missing Pieces
- Sixteen Saltines
- Love Interruption
- Cannon/300 Pounds of Joy [Howlin’ Wolf]
- You Know That I Know [Hank Williams]
- Hotel Yorba [The White Stripes]
- Weep Themselves to Sleep
- We’re Going to Be Friends [The White Stripes]
- I Cut Like A Buffalo [The Dead Weather]
- Steady as She Goes [The Raconteurs]
- Set 2: Freedom At 21
- Trash Tongue Talker
- I’m Slowly Turning Into You [The White Stripes]
- Carolina Drama [The Raconteurs]
- Seven Nation Army [The White Stripes]
- Goodnight, Irene [Lead Belly]
(pro photos from Eugene will be posted at jwiii.com)
The bottom line… I really enjoyed the Jack White show. The flaws that I saw in the show are totally fixable. Who am I to say what he should do anyhow? :) I’m just thinking that something that shows off his musical chops, his writing prowess, his voice, his players, and his songs at the forefront – not clouded by sheer volume – could have been far, far, FAR more enjoyable… and probably far, far, far more enjoyable to more to others (not just me).
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Beck’s Site
- Beck’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Metric’s Site
- Metric’s Facebook / MySpace / Twitter
- Les Schwab Amphitheater’s Site / Facebook / Twitter1 / Twitter2
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
- Jack White’s Site
- Jack White 2012 Tour Photos by Jo McCaughey
- Jack White’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Quasi’s Site
- Quasi’s Facebook / MySpace
- The Hult’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
Next show for me… Emily Wells @ WOW Hall on 6/3.
Toad the Wet Sprocket dug through their catalog and delivered a long set full of their hits, as well as a couple brand new Toad songs, during their evening capping set at the Bend Summer Festival on Friday night. John Kingham joined them on keyboards. There are rumors (per a Facebook post about the Washington show) that a new studio album may be out by years’ end.
Here’s what they played in Bend…
- Something’s Always Wrong
- Whatever I Fear
- Fly From Heaven
- Good Intentions
- Way Away
- Is It For Me
- The Moment [new song]
- Friendly Fire [new song]
- Come Back Down
- Nightingale Song
- Finally Fading
- Crazy Life
- All I Want
- Fall Down
- Encore: Sister Christian teaser [Night Ranger]
- Come Down
- Walk on the Ocean
more photos below
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Site
- Glen Phillips’ Site
- Toad & Glen’s Social Media Links (see below)
- My Other Related Reviews~
Next shows for me… the Dead Kenny G’s @ Sam Bond’s (Eugene) on 7/13 and then Eddie Vedder & Glen Hansard at the Schnitzer (Portland) on 7/14.
TOAD THE WET SPROCKET PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution
(click for larger)
SO, in late 2009, I jumped on the “damn, I like this tasty beer” bandwagon and bought a case of Deschutes Brewery‘s The Abyss 2009. I had it in 2008 and liked it; so why not!? The price wasn’t something to sneeze at, but it essentially became the start of my now bustling beer cellar. The Abyss is an Imperial Stout, clocking in at 11% abv – brewed with licorice and molasses with 1/3 of the beer aged in oak barrels. It’s quite a treat, and it comes out once a year in black wax dipped 22oz bombers.
It’s also in limited quantity, hence my impulse purchase of an entire case being not all that irrational. A beer barrel (BBL) is 31 gallons (roughly 2 full kegs)…
Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 – Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 – Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 – Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 – Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 – Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)
Well, fast forward to Thanksgiving 2010, I cracked a 2009 Abyss open, and wow… I did not like it. I shared it amongst friends; so we managed to kill the bottle. We had plenty of beer on hand that day (various homebrews as well as growlers of Block 15’s La Ferme de Demons & Gilgamesh’s Mamba); so I didn’t make a big deal of it.
Then I had another Abyss 2009 around Christmas. I drank about 8-12 ounces of it and hated it… I did the unthinkable. I poured about half a bottle down the drain. When you’re expecting a creamy & dense licorice & molasses bold stout on your lips, the taste that was coming from the glass was simply unpalatable.
The 2007, 2008 & 2010 Abyss vintages were / are phenomenal and hit the mark based on what you’d expect from a partially oak-aged imperial licorice & molasses stout. What went wrong with 2009’s vintage?
Jan 31, 2011… the brewery announced that they found the culprit… a wild yeast called Brettanomyces (aka “Brett”) was found in some of their oak barrels (this also affected the 2009 Mirror Mirror release). Brettanomyces varieties (Bruxellensis, Lambicus & Anomolus), as well as other wild yeasts like Pediococcus or Lactobacillus are sometimes used on purpose in beer. In fact, I have a double red ale going now that just finished a fermentation with Wyeast’s Roeselare #3763 – which is a souring yeast blend with a Belgian style ale strain, a sherry strain, two Brett strains, a Lacto culture, and a Pedio culture.
As with many things beer, I’m blaming my friend Aaron for my introduction and head-over-heels love of sour beers. Last summer he was on a sour kick that baffled me, then he introduced me to some sours, and then Cascade Brewing in Portland opened up a pub. Now… every time I go up there, I have to hit up their Barrel House in SE Portland. I went to a brewer’s dinner last fall (menu) that was out of this world amazing. They are the “House of Sour Beer,” but even Cascade trys to stay away from Brett, as it has a way of taking over everything. They had some beer get infected, rolled it out to the barrel house and then destroyed the barrel(s) involved afterwards.
Brett is a wily devil, and its impact on the 2009 Abyss is likely bad news for many people. Well, now that I know what is giving off the “bad flavor”… here is where I’m going to see if psychology and perception are gonna make this more than half a case left of “infected” 2009 Abyss turn into a treasure.
February 6, 2011… I decided to crack open another bottle.
First taste? Oh, yeah, it’s definitely infected.
But… now I like it.
Explain that! Not even five weeks ago, I had some of the very same infected beer, and I dumped more than half the bottle. Now, I have it… tastes probably identical, but since I was expecting a soured Brett-y beer, I am totally digging it.
Oh, Brain, you have pwned me again.
Happy psychology experiment on Deschutes’ accident. Well, at least I have some more left to enjoy over the coming years. For future releases, they will be flash pasteurizing their oak-aged beers – to kill any wild yeast strains prior to blending. 2009 Abyss & Mirror Mirror may be bad for some, but they also may be a special treat for others. I’d suggest not sending them back to the brewery for a refund. Find someone out there who will trade you for it. Rather than seeing it get dumped, put it to use… in a sour fiend’s mouth. :)