31 May 2011

The Decemberists: Road Trip, Bend Oregon

Every place, of course, has a history. Yet some places are more celebrated than others. When a place contributed to a nation's growth, shared its growing pains, and suffered for its contributions it is especially worth celebrating. Such is Butte America, the little city in southwest Montana that I call home, a place shaped by a century of copper mining and smelting.

A lot of film, literature, and music has been produced about Butte's history. This canon ranges from Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest (novel) to the recent PBS documentary film, Butte, America. Butte's Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine disaster (1917) has generated its own share of interest. 168 miners died, making it the world's worst hardrock mine tragedy to date.

The most recent contribution to commemorate the Granite Mountain Mine Disaster is the song "Rox in the Box" (click this link to hear it on YouTube) on the new album (The King is Dead, 2011) by the indie rock band, The Decemberists. For those of you that don't know this group, check out this song and other favorites such as Down by the Water -- good vibes reminiscent of Neil Young and REM. Here's the band ( photo by Autumn de Wilde for The Guardian newspaper):

Mrs Rover & I drove the 700 miles (almost 12 hours, with a lunch & supper stop) to Bend, Oregon, for The Decemberists outdoor concert. We camped at Tumalo State Park, enjoyed a sunset along the lava cliffs of the Deschutes River:

Took in some of the great local brews (Brew Werks selection pictured here):

Took in some of the sights (?) of Information-Age-Bend:

And saw our first California Quail:

I'd be remiss not to plug the duet Rodrigo y Gabriela that opened the show (check out a video of their music here). She is the most amazing guitar player I've ever seen/heard. Didn't even know it was legal to do that with a guitar!



Arija said...

Oh my, that guitar playing was orgasmic, Gabriela played in a trance-like state. Her rasquado technique was perfect, it is a wonder she still has fingertips let alone nails.
What a wonderful trip and experience or you both.

Janie said...

The Decembrists have a great folksy sound. I was really impressed by Gabriela's guitar playing. Amazing!
Sounds like a fun trip.

Richard Gibson said...

The Decemberists are also somewhat reminiscent of Mountain Moongrass. Or maybe it's the other way around, either way pretty cool.

Should Fish More said...

Glad you are enjoying my home town, Pat. My sister had a place about 3 miles north of Tumalo State Park, and I've camped there too. The Deschutes is pretty good fishing at times; I've caught browns in the stretch in your picture. If you hang around there, check the view from Pilot Butte, on the south end of Bend. When you look east, remember that when I graduated from BHS, there were no houses to the east. Check out Drake Park, in the middle of town, Mirror Pond, where I caught a lot of fish in the late '50's. And try the Pine Tavern for dinner.

troutbirder said...

A 12 hour drive is what I call dedication. Sounds like a lot of fun...

BLD in MT said...

What a coincidence! I just learned of The Decemberists through XM Radio. They were playing a cover of Row Jimmy by the Grateful Dead. It was absolutely incredible. If I ever get the chance to see them Live I certainly will take it.

We drove out to the coast for a music festival last year....saw my first California quail and was giddy. I wish I had been able to snap a photo.

R y G are unbelievable. My brain can't even make sense of how it is possible!

John Bardsley said...

Sounds like a great trip, and a nice post as usual. It's worth noting that the lead man/vocalist for the Decemberists is a Helena native and attended the University of Montana.

Sean E said...

You know Colin Meloy from the Decemberists is from Montana?

Lisa Wilson said...

Great photos! What fun! The Decemberists will be here for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on Saturday. Sadly, tickets sold out so fast this year I couldn't get any for that day. :( I will get to see Steve Earle and Sarah McClachlan though.