Photo by Ian Enger.

Return of The Macks

Fresh off a Willamette Week best new band win, former Eugeneans The Macks perform at WOW Hall

One album, Rabbit, out in spring 2022, and in the summer, a first-place finish in Willamette Week’s best new-band competition — for most rock bands, those two things might be enough. For The Macks, though, there was more work to be done. 

The rock quintet, formerly of Eugene and now based in north Portland, also managed somehow to write and record their second album of the year and third full-length release, Dajiban. 

Dajiban’s album release show is Dec. 2 at WOW Hall in Eugene. 

To liken Dajiban to the sprawling experimental Rolling Stones classic Exile on Main St. is like writing a biography for a band too soon. The Macks aren’t there yet. 

There is a similar out-there quality to the music, though, built around guitarist Ben Windheim’s riff-oriented playing, a sludgy yet simplistic groove-oriented rhythm section from Windheim’s brother, Josef, on drums and bassist Aidan Harrison, and Sam Fulwiler’s tenor singing voice and classic rock ‘n’ roll rooster routine. New textures are added with the recent addition of Jacob Michael Perris on keyboards. 

Dajiban was produced by the band in their home studio on a vintage reel-to-reel tape recorder for an analog feel, like capturing chaos at its inception. Elemental rock ‘n’ roll — like the record’s hammering lead single, an ode to pandemic life called “I Get My Shit Delivered” — flourishes in a liminal space between raw creation and perfection.

According to Ben Windheim, working with analog tape added depth and fun to the creative process. 

“The approach of this album was to avoid overdeveloping anything,” he says. “We’re in a creative hot spot. Our group cohesion is at an all-time high. It’s at the point we don’t have to think about the idea a whole lot. If we’re enjoying playing it together, then we can trust that process and see it through.” 

Since moving to Portland and particularly after the Willamette Week best new band win, opportunities have opened up for The Macks to play bigger spaces, with opening slots at venues like Portland’s Crystal Ballroom and festival appearances. 

After album release shows in Portland and Eugene, The Macks go on tour in California, punctuated by a set at MonkeyBee Festival III, a garage-punk music festival in Mexico City. 

These higher-profile gigs have been eye-opening, Ben Windheim says.

Playing in bigger spaces and in front of larger crowds exposes a band’s weaknesses right away, he says. “We’ve been working a lot at getting better, which is audible. We’ve been playing hard over the last year, year and a half.”

Though The Macks have moved on to Portland and beyond, the band has no intention to leave Eugene behind for good, Windheim says. Eugene fans, Ben Windheim says, “still treat us so well.”

The Macks’ Dajiban release show, supported by Growing Pains from Portland and Eugene’s Candy Picnic, is 8 pm Friday, Dec. 2, at WOW Hall; $10 advance, $12 door, all-ages.

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