Once upon a time, crowds gathered in sweaty, dimly-lit rooms to hear music played live by actual flesh and blood musicians.
At times throughout the past year or so it seemed uncertain if those days would ever return. With the economic reopening of Oregon at the end of June, though, local venue concert calendars are really filling up. Since you’re likely out of practice keeping tabs on that sort of thing, we compiled a list of our picks for local must-see concerts, throughout late summer and early autumn.
First off, local post-Taylor Swift singer-songwriter McKayla Marie performs her pop-folk and country music with big Nashville potential on July 22 in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center, part of the 10X10 Series, a new initiative bringing smaller-scale concert productions to the venue.
Speaking of the 10X10 series, on Aug. 22 the Illinois-based The Brother Brothers play their brand of folk music with exquisite picking and the kind of tight, heavenly harmonies only possible from identical twins, also at the Hult.
For tickets and more information about both these shows go to HultCenter.org.
The concert schedule at Sessions Music Hall in downtown Eugene really gets going in September, with a strong list of shows beginning with the groove and funk pop of Andy Frasco & The U.N. on Sept. 23, and indie singer-songwriter Andy Shauf on Sept. 25, among many others.
For showtimes and tickets go to SessionsMusicHall.com.
On Sept. 11, Big Freedia returns to WOW Hall, playing a New Orleans-style hybrid of drag culture, hip hop and Mardi Gras frivolity called bounce music.
South Eugene High School graduate and indie rock musician Michelle Zauner performs as Japanese Breakfast at WOW Hall on Sept. 24 supporting Jubilee, widely considered her best recording to date, as well as a bestselling new memoir called Crying in H Mart.
For more information about both these shows check out WoWHall.org.
On Sept. 3, Cuthbert Amphitheater’s season picks up a bit later in the season, tempting rain with The Beach Boys, but not all of the boys are back in town — the lineup is missing Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. Electronic musicians change up the tunes when Louis the Child and Porter Robinson take the stage Sept. 16 and the 23, respectively.
As for The Shedd, we like the bluesy songwriter Ruthie Foster on Sept. 29 and the entrancing jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux on Oct. 7.
McDonald Theatre is also back and business, offering the dark-yet-danceable synth-pop quartet Future Islands, returning to Eugene Sept. 9, Austin-based indie- blues and folk artist Shakey Graves Oct. 6, and pop-country singer-songwriter Jordan Davis, Oct. 7.
But perhaps the crowning concert of the season at any venue is Wilco, returning to Eugene Oct, 8 at the McDonald. That’s a busy night in town, though, because singer-songwriter Todd Snider also performs that same night at the Hult, so choose wisely.
This, of course, only skims the surface of the many great concerts planned for the post- or at least tailend of the pandemic, and more shows are announced seemingly every day.
Other shows to look out for later in the fall and winter include Phish at Matthew Knight Arena, Portland hard-rockers Red Fang at Sessions, Portland indie-pop group Portugal. the Man at the Cuthbert, and — break out the Manic Panic — because the Violent Femmes are coming, also to the Cuthbert.