Garth BrooksCourtesy of 8, Ten Inc.

Party On, Garth

Pop country superstar and OCF’s 50th highlight summer concert season

It’s summertime in Eugene and the livin’ is sometimes easy, while other times it’s a mad dash to get out of town before all the campsites fill up. If you find yourself with an evening to spare, however, there’s all sorts of good live music to enjoy all summer long. You can also enjoy those warm evenings outdoors — that is, if you can stand the pollen.

Every summer concert season means Cuthbert Amphitheatre kicks into gear. This year offers a few pleasant surprises and lots of familiar faces — can we just give Michael Franti and Rebelution keys to the city, for crissakes? 

On the bright side, there’s Steve Martin and Martin Short at Cuthbert Amphitheatre Saturday, July 20, and the Beast Coast tour comes to Cuthbert July 27, featuring Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies among others. 

On Aug. 11, funk legend George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic bring their One Nation Under a Groove tour to Cuthbert supported by Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone and many others. Catch Clinton before he retires.

At press time, the Cuthbert schedule feels a little slim — yet another season when Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheatre concert line up cleans the floor on Eugene’s schedule. Let’s hope the good folks behind Cuthbert have a few surprises left in store.

Heading to Eugene’s indoor venues, The Minus 5 plays Friday, June 14, at Sessions Music Lounge, supported by Decemberists side project The Eyelids. Also at Sessions Music Lounge is Portland garage rock band Summer Cannibals Sunday, June 16, and Austin indie rockers Okkervil River play Sessions Music Lounge Sunday, June 23.

Some shows coming this summer to the venerable WOW Hall include Fellowship of the Wing with John Kadlecik Thursday, June 13. 

In addition, Eugene’s OG ska punk scene stalwarts The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies celebrate the release of their 11th studio album Bigger Life, Friday, June 14, at WOW Hall. 

Catch Portland soul band Adebisi’s EP release party June 28. Another show not to miss at WOW Hall this summer is Thunderpussy, Monday, July 22.

Unlike in years past, McDonald Theatre is pretty active this summer. Some shows not to miss include the electro-disco-funky sounds of Chromeo Monday, June 10, the post-rock of Godspeed You Black Emperor Wednesday, Aug. 21, and the literate indie folk of The Mountain Goats Saturday, Sept. 7.

In the Whiteaker, Old Nick’s hosts Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Drowse, Planning for Burial and Entresol Monday, July 15, and Deaf Kids Monday, Aug. 26.

But I suppose some of the biggest music news in Eugene this summer concert season is pop country mega-star Garth Brooks emerging from retirement Saturday, June 28, at Autzen Stadium. 

That show sold like a gazillion tickets in about two seconds, though (it’s sold out), so good luck scoring some. I guess it just proves Garth still has a lot of friends in lowest-common-denominator places.


Jim James

Photo by Neil Krug

In addition, the Oregon Country Fair turns 50 this year, and to mark the occasion they really brought it with the music lineup. Artists performing at this year’s OCF include Phil Lesh, Dandy Warhols and Jim James of My Morning Jacket

Happy Birthday, OCF! You’re 50 now. Just don’t start voting Republican.