The Birthday Party
The measure of a person’s life might be taken in the number of years on the planet, close friends and family, career changes or kids. But for a prolific musician like Ed Cole, the years may be marked by innumerable song lyrics, late night band practices and broken guitar strings.
For his 40th birthday party, Cole is celebrating a little bit of each of those things. The shindig was a good excuse/opportunity for Cole to reunite one of his past bands, Ed Cole and the College Girls of Tora Bora, with Billy Barnett (owner of Gung Ho recording studio) on bass, Eugene drumming demi-goddess Raenie Kane (who is flying up from San Pedro, where she now lives), Dave Snider (new member and Testface genius) on guitar and Mr. Ed C. himself (married father of three) singing and strumming guitar. (Originally, Barnett’s son Tyrone Barnett also played guitar. Tyrone lives in Brooklyn now, so Snider is in.)
The College Girls open up the night, followed by The Golden Motors (Dan Jones’ new band and good friends of Cole’s), then The Soothesayers and Cole’s current steady band, The Underlings.
Cole and his crew will be playing songs from his 2002 solo self-release Rainy Day Manifesto, as well as “a few surprise songs from elsewhere in my past catalog,” he says. “I hope it’s not too corny to set up my own party,” Cole says (note to Ed: No, it’s not!), “but I figured, what the heck. You only live once, so you gotta have some fun while you’re alive.” Amen to that. Ed Cole’s 40th Birthday Party featuring Ed Cole and the College Girls of Tora Bora, The Soothesayers, The Golden Motors and The Underlings takes place at 9 pm Friday, Aug. 13, at Sam Bond’s. 21+. $2-$5 — Vanessa Salvia
Take a Ride on the Wild Side
It wouldn’t be fair to attempt to categorize the Boulder Acoustic Society. Even their name doesn’t quite accurately describe their sound. It wasn’t what I expected at all — kind of like the feeling of riding in the passenger seat when a 15-year-old tries driving for the first time. You bravely hold on tight, try not to scream and hope for the best. In the end, your driver surprises the hell out of you by how well he or she pulls it off. You had more fun than you thought you would, so you say, “Let’s do it again!”
The Colorado quartet’s current release, the cleverly packaged Punchline, on Austin’s Nine Mile Records, is all musically over the place. Each track calls up a different genre tag — folk, punk, pop, gospel, blues or rock — or any combination of them. Each vocal treatment conjures a different voice from your melodic memory, be it Andy Summers howling out “Mother,” a smoke-enveloped Tom Waits hugging the keys or even the Irish whiskey-driven sharp wit of Denis Leary. In unskilled hands, this could end up as a big hot bowl of bile. The fearless boys of the Boulder Acoustic Society — equipped with violin, accordion, standup bass, percussion and the occasional ukulele — bravely deliver it all polished brilliantly. They once covered the Miley Cyrus song “Party in the U.S.A.” with Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Now that’s brave.
Boulder Acoustic Society plays at 8:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 14, at The Axe and Fiddle, Cottage Grove. $5. — Blake Phillips
Rasta at the Ranch
The Northwest World Reggae Festival is bringing roots reggae to its Marcola campsite, just 20 miles northeast of Eugene.
“We’re into good music and we want to satisfy even a crossover of people that are inspired by reggae,” says Megan Stolle, co-organizer and producer of the festival.
In a fragmented genre of music like reggae, where roots and traditional reggae can be at odds with the heavier dancehall, reggaeton and even dub subgenres, an inclusive attitude is imperative. The lineup at the festival ranges from old school veterans like Don Carlos, the Twinkle Brothers and Winston Jarrett to the likes of San Francisco’s dubtronica project Heavyweight Dub Champion and even Eugene’s Marv Ellis. Each day features a different regional focal point, with Jamaica, St. Croix and Hawaii featured on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Local reggae acts such as Madjestic, Lilla D’Mone and I-chele will be featured as well as Corvallis’s Sar Shalom.
The festival tends towards Rasta cuisine in its food offerings. “We’re serving vegetarian, vegan, aka ital in the Rasta terminology,” says Stolle, “which is pure, natural, whole, raw, locally grown, with conscious cultivation.”
The NWWRF gives Oregonians as well as outsiders the opportunity to experience a culture from its classical roots to its most current offerings. Its setting on a private lot in Marcola provides a natural environment and intimacy that’s sure to exude some irie vibes.
Northwest World Reggae Festival takes place Aug. 13-15 at Bob’s Ranch, Marcola. Three day pass with camping $120, two-day pass with camping $100. Day passes also available; see www.nwwrf.com for details. — Andrew Hitz
A Festive Celebration of Local Hip Hop
Even though Mackdub’s rhymes are filled with shoutouts to his home, Portland, the MC has a presence in Eugene. He founded the Eugene hip hop version of Summerjam — which was originally called Rhymefest — and has been involved in every aspect of hip hop culture. Far from the Summerjams of, say, Seattle, which feature prominent national talent, this is a bill of all local MCs (most of whom you’ve probably never heard of) and breakdancers. Unsurprisingly, Mackdub headlines. His music’s best when he takes on hyphy on tracks like “Mackdubizindahouse,” a cocky rap that brings a young Mac Dre to mind. This is a jam-packed bill, so seeing everyone will be difficult, but make sure to check out Endr Won, a reformed problem child with an in-your-face rhyme style, whether he’s talking about sobriety, his affinity for women and the problems it causes (“She Rolls”) or idiots who’ve never heard of KRS-One and listen to Soulja Boy. Mackdub, Todd G, Endr Won, Drops, Kent B, Dirty Kane perform at 8 pm Saturday, Aug. 14, at the WOW Hall. $10. — Sara Brickner
Kids with an Edge
Rock ’n’ roll becomes child’s play each year at the Music’s Edge Rock Camp. Music instructors Tim McLaughlin, Zak Johnson, Ehren Ebbage and John Shipe work with kids ages 10-18 who come to the one-week camp to polish their music skills. Along with rock ’n’ roll essentials like bass, drums and guitar, the young musicians might want to play keyboards, violin or cello. This week’s session is the second camp this summer; McLaughlin says there will be around 40 kids.
When campers arrive at Music’s Edge’s WOW Hall headquarters the first day, there is an informal audition, after which McLaughlin and the other instructors place them into bands. “We use our best judgment to put them into groups,” says McLaughlin. “It’s an interesting process every time.” Then, the kids disperse to different corners of the WOW Hall to learn and practice with their bands. By the end of the week, each band has chosen a name, had their photos taken and created flyers to pass out for the upcoming show.
The end of the week marks the big show on the WOW Hall stage, with a second show at the Saturday Market. Four bands will perform on Friday to showcase what they’ve learned during the past week. McLaughlin says that while the kids often do covers of classic bands — Jimi Hendrix, The Cure or Cheap Trick, for example — they might change the songs to fit specific styles. For example, there might be a band with an indie rock sound that covers classic rock songs. “It might sound like the Decemberists doing Cheap Trick,” McLaughlin says. After the camp, a lot of the kids continue their involvement with music, and some will even keep playing with the band they formed during this camp.
The Music’s Edge Rock Camp showcase starts at 7:30 pm Friday, Aug. 13, at the WOW Hall. $5. — Catherine Foss