Under the “Band Interests" section of its Facebook profile, the Portland-based band Sassparilla lists just one thing:
“To meet Tom Waits."
If you know the work of Mr. Waits, then you can guess what Sassparilla sounds like. The band has been kicking around for several years, cranking out a shadowy brand of roots-blues, clunky ragtime and ornery rock ‘n’ roll that would sound good at closing time on Saturday night at the bar on the corner of Heartattack and Vine.
All that said, if you click over to Sassparilla’s official website, a song called “All the Way In" from the band’s new album, “Magpie," starts up and soars into an all-together-now chorus that recalls the accessible Americana of white-hot bands like Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers. Is Sassparilla aiming for new heights? I don’t know; I haven’t heard the rest of “Magpie." But “All the Way In" certainly indicates they have the chops to do so if they please.
One thing is for sure: This band’s live reputation is built on sweaty, energetic performances that exceed even the high bar set by their recordings. So you can click around your computer all you want, but the best way to experience Sassparilla is by checking them out Saturday night.
Sassparilla, with Shade 13, Susan SurfTone and The Outer Space Heaters; 8 p.m. Saturday; $5; The Horned Hand, 507 N.W. Colorado Ave., Bend; www.reverbnation .com/venue/thehornedhand.