Eugene Weekly : Music : 7.24.08

Short Journey

Mon Marie

Acoustic guitar twiddling and solos are featured prominently amongst a strong drumbeat and accompanying vocals in the mesmerizing sound of alternative folk rock band Mon Marie

The band, which describes itself not only as an alternative folk band but also as Western dance beat, wasn’t always the four-member band it is today. Starting out as an acoustic duo known by another name, Mon Marie was formed after the duo’s members — guitarists and songwriters John Smithson and Jason Davis — decided to relocate from Michigan to the West Coast. Settling in Washington and adding bassist Daniel Walker and drummer Chris Thielen, the duo transformed into the band Mon Marie, named after the town in Michigan where the journey first began for Smithson and Davis.

Mon Marie, Baitball and Right Left Grand play at 10 pm on Friday, July 25, at Luckey’s. 21+ show. $5.— Inka Bajandas


Sam Bond’s is Growing Up

Sam Bond’s Garage is celebrating its 13th anniversary, and employees say that the whole neighborhood seems to have grown up alongside the popular venue. Bartender Diane Cooper says that the popularity of other nearby restaurants, coffee shops and businesses has made Whiteaker a vibrant and exciting place to be. “It’s nice to be in a place where we all support each other,” Cooper says.

Entertainment for the 13th anniversary show includes Baitball, which features the club’s owner and one of their cooks, and The John McEnroes (also featuring two employees), who dress up in tennis outfits à la the renowned quick-tempered player. Peter Wilde will perform, as will “cartoon jazz” band Scrambled Ape, among others. 

Over the past year, old friends have come back to visit, such as former Eugenean and current Decemberist Chris Funk playing with Ashleigh Flynn; Ann-Marie Bragger left after six years at Sam Bond’s to open the new restaurant Belly; longtime Whiteaker resident Dan Schmid is now playing with Frank Black (who recently relocated to Eugene). Those are just a few of the exciting things that have happened to the Sam Bond’s extended family over the past year and it’s great to watch everybody do well, says Cooper. “And being alive after 13 years, and we’re still having fun!” Scrambled Ape, Baitball, The John McEnroes, Peter Wilde, Tom Heinl, Wishtar and other special guests play at 9 pm Saturday, July 26, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. Free.
Vanessa Salvia

Booze Music

Dry County Crooks

Reflecting on the name Dry County Crooks got me thinking about what the modern music scene would be without whiskey. If you believe half the bands out there these days, their lives would have been blessedly uninspired by mayhem and heartbreak if it weren’t for that bad old bottle. Both DCC and the Voodoo Organist (appearing together at John Henry’s with the deliciously alcohol-soaked Sawyer Family) mention whiskey as either a musical influence or a lyrical theme in their promotional materials. Both are also touring in support of new albums. Coincidence? Probably, but clearly there’s something attractive about music inspired by nights so saturated in reeling oblivion that songs of agony and regret just naturally follow.

Voodoo Organist has thrilled Eugene audiences with his frighteningly creative intensity for years. His act lives up to its name, both in content and in rad-ness. Dry County Crooks are three albums into a career deeply influenced by the barest-laid souls in country with a dash of Shane MacGowan (and, of course, grain alcohol) thrown in for self-destructive good measure. Their latest release, When Hearts Break, features some rockin’ (if somewhat predictable) numbers that audiences will love (“Bad Seed” is an imprisoned man’s rockabilly anthem about his inevitable future in the underworld), but also includes some startlingly dark and moving songwriting. Hillbilly punk rockers who appreciate subtle wordsmithing should risk getting their asses kicked for wearing earplugs; if you take distortion down a notch, Dry County Crooks might just inspire some tears that didn’t come from having a bottle broken over your head. Dry County Crooks, the Voodoo Organist and the Sawyer Family play at 9 pm Friday, July 25, at John Henry’s. 21+ show. $4. — Adrienne van der Valk


Out of the Box

When I first played the Vermillion Lies CD, my girlfriend poked her head into the room and asked, “What is this?” “These two sisters from Oakland,” I answered. “They call themselves thrift-store cabaret.” “It sounds old like a scratchy old record player or something … but kinda new, too,” she commented. I think that’s an apt description of Vermillion Lies — old without being anachronistic, but also new without being overly ironic. 

Zoe and Kim Boekbinder are the sibling masterminds behind Vermillion Lies and, whether they like it or not, they are sure to prompt comparisons to that other two-sister thrift-store confectionarium, CocoRosie. Both duos use mischievous combinations of toy instruments and found folk sounds to create a surreal, spontaneous, old but new style of music. But what separates Vermillion Lies from CocoRosie is that their fractured fairy tales and vaudevillian vignettes encourage sing-alongs (or what they call scream-alongs) and madcap laughter. Live, the sisters, decked out in burlesque 1920s garb, pull offbeat instruments out of a large trunk before each song. Audiences ask, “What’s in the box?” (which is also the name of the band’s new album) while the Lies take out toy pianos, typewriters, tricycle bells, barbecue grills, gas cans, tin cans and assorted pots and pans. If you’re looking for a musical circus without the scary clowns but with more kazoo solos, then Vermillion Lies just might be your cup of tea. Vermillion Lies play an all-ages show at 7 pm and for the over-21 crowd at 8:30 pm, Saturday, July 26, at Axe and Fiddle. $5.
Jeremy Ohmes

Don’t Not Dance


2Mex is one of L.A.’s underground hip hop veterans, and he’s one of the most prolific MCs performing today by anyone’s standards. After 10 years in the game, he’s perfected his wordsmithing. But this isn’t the kind of hip hop you dance to. It’s not like you can’t dance; it’s just more likely that you’ll be mesmerized by 2Mex’s conscious poetry and the intense, rock-influenced beats prevalent on Break Up Your Make Up, the latest in his impressive body of work. In his long career as an independent artist, he’s put out more than a dozen solo records and lent his talents to at least as many collaborative projects, particularly with his crew, The Visionaries.

He’s touring now with The Smob, a Phoenix-based MC quintet that’s got a lady vocalist, Miss J, in the group as well as DC Mynce and MCs Kreechr, 1IB and Stoic. Compared to 2Mex, they’re new in the game their debut album, I Hate Your Face, dropped last year but they’ve got a rare specimen in their arsenal: a female. Unlike a lot of hip hop groups with a token female back-up singer, Miss J takes the lead in the group, writing and singing her own songs. They’ve got a second album in the works, which you might be able to pick up at the show if you like what you hear. 

2Mex, The Smob, Verbal and Animal Farm play at 9 pm Saturday, July 26, at John Henry’s. 21+ show. $5. — Sara Brickner