Bend Guitar Blast takes over Tower stage

Fun fact: Guitar geeks are one of the most passionate and devoted strains of geek. It’s science.

Whether we’re talking “gearhead geek,” aka the guitar player who seems to speak in tongues when talking about amps and pedals, or the “gawker geek,” aka the superfan who loves to lock eyes on the hands of any performing axe-wielder, guitar geeks are generally very serious about their geekery.

And we mean that in a good way, of course. Geek, in this context, is definitely a term of endearment.

So, geeks, prepare to freak: The Tower Theatre has taken the normally slow live-music month of January — not to mention the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the theater’s renovation — and turned it into a shrine to the six-stringed god.

Beginning Wednesday and running through Jan. 30, the Bend Guitar Blast will bring in a parade of major-league guitar players, plus a screening of a film about jazz-guitar great Pat Metheny and some public workshops. (Visit for more info on those.)

First up on Wednesday is a visit from the California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio, two groups of virtuoso players, performing (separately and together) familiar favorites and intricate originals on both acoustic and electric guitars.

Then on Thursday, it’s time for the New West Guitar Group, a band (including Bend native John Storie) that moves “from chamber-like elegance and fragile introspection to exhilarating swing and gritty blues,” according to Acoustic Guitar magazine.

The rest of the Blast schedule looks like this:

Jan. 24 — Omaha Guitar Trio and Cavatina Duo — classical, flamenco, jazz, pop and more

Jan. 26 — Jeff Peterson — Hawaiian slack key guitar

Jan. 27 — “Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project” — documentary film

Jan. 28 — Bill Frisell’s Guitar in the Space Age — tribute to mid-20th century guitar music

Jan. 29 — Christie Lenee — funky, percussive finger-tapping

Jan. 30 — International Guitar Night — four guitar gurus from around the world

Tickets to individual concerts cost $20 and $30, plus fees, with all shows general admission. Festival passes are $129. More info is available through the Tower at the contacts below.

California Guitar Trio and Montreal Guitar Trio; 7 p.m. Wednesday; $30 plus fees.

New West Guitar Trio; 7 p.m. Thursday; $20 plus fees.

Tower Theatre, 835 N.W. Wall St., Bend; www or 541-317-0700.

Return of Black Pussy but at Pakit this time

Last June, the Portland band known as Black Pussy did a smokin’ show at the now-defunct Bend rock ’n’ roll bar The Horned Hand. It was really terrific.

At the time, it was hard to imagine the quintet playing a venue more perfect for their brand of heavy, ’70s-inspired stoner-blues-rock than the hunting lodge on a bad trip that was the Hand.

But that was before we saw what Pakit Liquidators on Bend’s east side could be. On Saturday night, Black Pussy will play the former home-improvement supply yard, which was cleaned up last summer and now is a super cool place to see a show, what with the labyrinthine layout, the hodgepodge vibe, the shadowy nooks and crannies. Pakit is psychedelic in its own sort of confident, vintage way, not unlike Saturday’s headliner.

Black Pussy, by the way, is inching closer to putting out its new album, which was recorded last year by stoner-rock giant Brant Bjork in the Southern California desert. Until then, visit www to hear the band’s swaggering sonic assault.

Black Pussy, with The Rum and The Sea and Hobbs the Band; 9 p.m. Saturday, doors open 8 p.m.; $5; Pakit Liquidators, 903 S.E. Armour Road, Bend; www.riseup

Tango Alpha Tango visits Volcanic Theatre

Occasional beards notwithstanding, the folks in Tango Alpha Tango look like nice, clean-cut people.

So where does the grimy, gnarly blues-rock sound of their 2013 album “Black Cloud” come from?

I know, I know: Never judge a book by its cover. Fair enough.

Music’s about the sound anyway, and Tango Alpha Tango’s is striking: Ancient blues riffs filtered through a modern rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, with regular psychedelic space-jams sprinkled in here and there and plenty of guitar heroism. Frontman Nathan Trueb’s voice is perfectly gritty, and he uses it in a slinky, sort of sinister way that sounds like it’s always floating through smoky air.

“Black Cloud” is an outstanding listen, a showcase of Tango Alpha Tango’s impressive range. Hear for yourself at the band’s website,, where it’s streaming in full. Then go see one of Portland’s most underrated bands Thursday at Volcanic Theatre Pub.

Tango Alpha Tango, with All You All; 8 p.m. Thursday; $5; Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 S.W. Century Drive, Bend;

Silver Moon welcomes hip-hop wordsmith

The name Landon Wordswell is, I believe, a play on words. Think of it this way: “That MC can really rap. He lands on words well.”

So it’s a descriptor, too! Indeed, Landon Wordswell is a talented rapper based in Eugene who specializes in conscious hip-hop delivered over interesting, often jazzy beats. For proof, visit the Bandcamp profile of his record label, Blue Bottle, and listen to “Blame Me,” a song from his upcoming “And All That Jazz” record. It’s dope.

Wordswell, according to his bio, toured with Gift of Gab in October and has opened for big-timers like Talib Kweli, Raekwon and Devin the Dude. Tonight at Silver Moon, he’ll be joined on the bill by Northorn Lights, Those Guys, Mostafa and C-Legz.

Kudos, by the way, to Silver Moon for hosting an underground hip-hop show.

Landon Wordswell, with Tim Hoke, Northorn Lights, Those Guys and more; 8 tonight; free; Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom, 24 N.W. Greenwood Ave., Bend; www.silvermoon

Jay Tablet, DJ Harlo get the party started

There’s a show happening Saturday night at the Domino Room, and the bill looks like a pretty good primer on the past, present and future of the Bend hip-hop scene.

Now when I say “past,” I don’t mean to imply that any of these fellas — young fellas, no less! — are washed up. They are not. But Mez was an integral part of Person People, the Bend rap collective that dominated the 2000s. And Amsterdam has been around for years, performing solo and with a variety of groups. Both can rhyme their faces off, and charismatically.

The headliner is Jay Tablet, busy local MC and producer whose musical productivity and business hustle is unparalleled in town. He’s a touring machine, though this is his first all-ages show in his home town. Oh, and his songs are fun late-night party jams, too. He’ll be joined by his dude DJ Harlo, a popular local performer in his own right.

And opening the show will be a couple of relatively new names on the scene. Chandler P is a young MC with an impressive party-rap album called “Language Arts” at, and Mac Rad, a Bend-based live hip-hop band with guitars and two MCs. Hear ‘em at

Jay Tablet with DJ Harlo, plus Mez, Amsterdam, Chandler P and Mac Rad; 8 p.m. Saturday, doors open 7 p.m.; $10 plus fees in advance at, $15 at the door; Domino Room, 51 N.W. Greenwood Ave., Bend;

— Ben Salmon