If it seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen Hillstomp ‘round these parts, well, it has.
A scroll through the Portland-based junkyard-blues duo’s Facebook profile tells the tale: In September of 2011, there was word of an “indefinite hiatus" followed by talk of new side-project bands and increasingly infrequent updates.
Then in February came some cryptic language.
“If you put your ear to the tracks," the status update says, “you will hear a very faint, very distant, yet (slowly) growing rumble."
Ooh, buddy ... sounds like the Hillstomp train is up and running again!
Anyway, in April came word of the band’s need for a new practice space, and in June, guitarist Henry Kammerer mentioned that he would soon become a father.
Presumably, that has happened, because in August, the band announced the end of that indefinite (read: one year or so) hiatus and unveiled some upcoming tour dates, including Saturday in Bend.
They also described a practice thusly: “Broke things, pissed off the dogs, got complaints, forgot everything, made new stuff up. Right on track to come to YOUR town and wreak Havoc!"
Wreak havoc is indeed what Hillstomp does. Kammerer is a wild-eyed madman with a slide in his hand, tearing through punk-fueled Mississippi Delta blues licks like they insulted his new baby. And his partner, John Johnson, bashes out heart-stopping beats on a drum kit fashioned from garbage, including buckets, paint-can lids and the like. And duct tape. Lots of duct tape.
Together, they’re a hoot. And they’re back to rock Bend. Woo-hoo!
Also worth noting: Saturday night’s show features a couple of like-minded local bands that have been rising within Bend’s burgeoning roots-music scene. Avery James & The Hillandales do brokedown blues and Grit & Grizzle is one of those newfangled punkgrass type of bands.
Hillstomp, with Avery James & The Hillandales and Grit & Grizzle; 8 p.m. Saturday; $7, plus fees in advance at www.bendticket.com; The Old Stone, 157 N.W. Franklin Ave., Bend; www.facebook .com/riseuppresents.