In The Pocket Artists is a Bend-based booking agency with 19 exclusive artists on its roster — and an increasingly influential reach across the country. Founded by Gabe Johnson in 2006, In The Pocket — which also has a satellite office in Portland run by Hunt Frye — is currently seeing several of its bands take off, most notably East Coast “rockrobeat” band Rubblebucket, bluegrassers Head for the Hills and Town Mountain, and new signings The Macpodz, a “disco bebop” act from Michigan. (Johnson also invests his time, money and effort into Bend's artists, with Person People and Empty Space Orchestra both in the fold.)
In The Pocket also makes its mark on the local live-music scene, where Johnson books a good chunk of the free concerts at McMenamins Old St. Francis School and Les Schwab Amphitheater, plus several of the shows at Bend's various seasonal festivals. This weekend, no fewer than four In The Pocket bands will perform around town, coming from Bend and both coasts and covering all kinds of styles.
As if Johnson won't be busy enough with all that, he'll also show off his guitar skills tonight at Parrilla Grill with his new band, Jukebot! Find out more about the company at www.thepocket.biz.
— Ben Salmon
Show: 6 tonight, Parrilla Grill (635 N.W. 14th St., Bend), $5
Scoop: A relatively new local band full of familiar faces (from Person People, El Dante, The Sofa Kings and David Bowers Colony), Jukebot! plays hard-hitting funk, soul and rock ‘n' roll, highlighted by quintet-wide mega-chops and the towering vocals of Stephanie Slade. After only a handful of shows, their live prowess isn't yet legendary, but it may be headed that way, as evidenced by the tracks they put on their website.
Empty Space Orchestra
Show: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Les Schwab Amphitheater (344 S.W. Shevlin Hixon Drive, Bend), free
Scoop: Many a Bendite has had their face melted by the proggy, space-jazz jam machine that is Empty Space Orchestra. Now that the quintet is touring, others in the region — from Boise, Idaho to Bellingham, Wash. — are getting their chance to check out one of Central Oregon's best bands. This gig at the amphitheater will give them more space to fill with colossal grooves than anywhere they've ever played. Expect them to fill it, and loudly.
The Staxx Brothers
Show: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Bite of Bend, free
Scoop: What’s up with all the bands these days that ignore the “roll” in rock ’n’ roll? Indeed, rhythm and soul is a lost art in 2010, but not for The Staxx Brothers, a family of funk-making freaks who crank up the volume to make the party sweat. This band doesn’t beat around the throwback bush; theirs is a powerful fusion of true funk — think The Meters and Funkadelic — and the heavily amplified hard-rock history of their home town.
Hood: Brooklyn, N.Y., Burlington, Vt., and Boston
Show: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Bite of Bend, free
Scoop: The fastest rising band on the In The Pocket roster, Rubblebucket is a band with a funny name and a ridiculously fun sound that seamlessly incorporates indie rock, Afrobeat and technicolor jams with a DIY ethos and communal party vibe. Any band that can cite Talking Heads, James Brown and Bjork as influences — and then back that up by touring with Ozomatli — is guaranteed to bring the good times.