Back Beat

Whitney Mongé
Whitney MongéPhoto by Patrick Kehoe

Edit: The Boreal is relocating  the February Poison Idea show due to capacity issues to a yet-to-be announced venue.

The Boreal is changing the local music climate. As of Dec. 18, the new all-ages music venue surpassed its Kickstarter goal of $3,500 and will open its 1,100-square-foot space at 450 W. 3rd Ave. in January. The Boreal is operated by a four-person collective including Kathryn Alexander, Sean Prive, Eric Devin and Tyler Giard (of local band Southtowne Lanes). “We had lived in Eugene off and on for several years, and we never really saw that there was a place to see the music we were interested in,” says Alexander, who is originally from St. Paul, Minn., but has lived around the PNW for the past 10 years. “There are more DIY music venues in Seattle and Portland. There wasn’t that same culture in Eugene and we missed it.” The first show Friday, Jan. 10, is a benefit concert to offset the expenses of opening a new venue, featuring four to five local bands including Southtowne Lanes. The Boreal already has some big shows on the docket; look for Portland’s famed Kings of Punk band, Poison Idea, in February. For more info, visit

Don’t miss: Olympia-based experimental folk-pop singer Stephen Steinbrink 9 pm Jan. 5 at Tiny Tavern; the “dream country” and chocolate-y voice of Jake McNeillie & Co. 8 pm Jan. 7 at Cozmic.

The Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove continues to book some of the most interesting regional female musicians, e.g., Kattail and Whitney Mongé. Kattail layers folksy vocals over twinkling electro-pop and acoustic melodies — hear her at a free show 8:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 4. The L.A.-based former Eugenean even has a ditty called “Cottage Grove,” with an accompanying music video shot entirely in Cottage Grove. Seattle-based Mongé and her smoky, gritty pipes deliver a twist on alt-soul 8:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Fiddle.