Back Beat

Matt Knight Arena has booked Grammy-winning rock group Tool for March 7 and pop king Bruno Mars for Aug. 11. We’re glad to see these big names in music coming to Eugene, but besides these two concerts, a handful of UO basketball games and monster truck rumbles, Matt Knight’s event calendar is glaringly empty for 2014. What happened to concerts being a crucial source of revenue? And why is one of the country’s most expensive basketball arenas ($200 million-plus) sitting empty most of the year when it could be booking bigger music acts?

The Boreal, the new all-ages music venue at 450 W. 3rd Ave., isn’t wasting any time beginning to book shows. Local bands Dr. Rocket, Bustin’ Jieber and Hands Like Sticks play “a night of ’60s-style glam-sass pop, avant-garde funk-jamz and lush-vocaled rock and roll” 8:45 pm Jan. 31. A UO campus favorite, the experimental indie-pop Blind The Thief, plays 8 pm Feb. 4. Feb. 18, The Boreal is bringing in some East Coasters with Baltimore’s War On Women, a “co-ed, feminist hardcore punk band.”

Speaking of alternative venues, booker Mike Meyer brings living blues legend Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton to a house show 7:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 755 River Rd.; $15 door. The Wall Street Journal has said of Paxton: “He’s virtually the only music-maker of his generation — playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements — to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ’30s, the blues of Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson.” For event info, contact Meyer at