Like any good block party, the Whiteaker Block Party has much to satisfy the aural senses — perhaps too much for one person to make sense of, and thus here are some (stage) handy picks to check out on this wet, hot American summer day and night. But be a good community member and check out all the stages — Blair Alley, Slash and Burn, Hostel, Uncle Brad’s Secret Stage, Territorial — and get to know your neighbors.
WBP will kick off the day with a nod to its roots. Singer-songwriter Jesse Meade has been a key component of the celebration on and off the stage since he moved in with fellow WBP performer Girin Guha six years ago. A master of iconic Mississippi blues guitarist John Hurt’s fingerpicking method, Meade blends earnest lyrics, traditional blues and hints of country into a style all his own. Catch him at 2 pm.
According to bassist Eli Copeland, the groovy territory of Inner Limits is a space where heady jazz connoisseurs and metal heads are known to set aside their differences and dance. “It’s not something that you can put in a box,” he says of the funky foursome’s multidimensional sound. Inner Limits will embark on a quest to get your toes tapping to its improvisational jazz-fusion funk stylings at 5 pm.
Finishing off the night is another local band ready to unleash rock ‘n’ roll fury upon this town. Cash Only combines elements of rockabilly, surf rock and punk into a musical concoction that resembles The Cramps and Reverend Horton Heat. Their neighborhood ode, “Whiteaker Bumps,” rolls on like a hearse en route to hell; the chorus drone of “Why can’t you give me the Whiteaker bumps” will ring like a true swan song for the night. Cash Only plays at 9:30 pm.
Ninkasi Patio Stage
Quirky jazz folk group Hot Milk came together at the UO because of mutual love for the way jazz fluidly moves without constraints. Lead singer Rebecca Conner’s enchanting voice surges through masterfully syncopated instrumentation, creating a warm, dreamlike experience. This must-see group kicks off at noon.
“I’m ready to party and rock out,” says Eric James, lead singer of the Bellingham, Wash., rockers Black Beast Revival. BBR had a successful year since it played at WBP last year. With an EP released, a vinyl record out and a six-week tour of the West completed, BBR can’t wait to return to Eugene. “It’s seriously one of the best times I’ve ever had,” James says. Catch BBR at 6 pm.
Prepare for a truly electric performance from Portland-based sister act Acoustic Minds. Twins Amanda and Jenni Price lay soulful harmonies over producer and keyboardist Aaron Altemose’s expertly blended synth-pop tracks and Josh Lorenzen’s spacey bass beats. “We are trying to bring live what happens behind the turntables,” Jenni Price says. With an album on deck and new dance pop single “Love Somebody” generating buzz, Acoustic Minds will be blowing minds at 7:30 pm.
Volifonix is the Willamette Valley’s answer to psychedelic funk. EW’s 2012 Next Big Thing winner plays with funky riffs, pounding drums and sexy sax; like a college freshman, these guys are more than excited to experiment. You can prep for the quintet by chilling out to the band’s 2012 sophomore album Space. Volifonix hits the stage at 4:30 pm.