Staggering, Swaying at Sam Bond's Garage? Blame It On the Beer

Written by  Published in Live Reviews Saturday, 08 January 2011 19:00

At Sam Bond’s Garage, there are certain things one can always count on: a packed house, and stronger-than-you’d-suspect beer. Local musicians Stagger & Sway know this, and even penned an ode to the notorious Eugene bar that encaptures the weird quirks that make Sam Bond’s special. Now, I’d consider myself a Monday-night bingo and Tuesday-night bluegrass connoisseur, but I soon discovered Friday nights at Sam Bond’s Garage are an entirely different beast.

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The Tara Stonecipher Band was the first act of the night. Composed of Tara Stonecipher on guitar/lead vocals and Gregg Vollstedt on electric guitar/vocals (and with a guest drummer for the night), the Eugene-based Band played a mix of Americana/folk/alternative country tunes. In the middle of their set, the Band performed two post-breakup songs that conveyed so much soul and honesty that they might as well’ve came with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s - meaning they would be extremely helpful to have on hand in that situation. As the crowd grew and the night went on, the Tara Stonecipher Band also performed some more uptempo tracks, prompting some patrons to push aside tables (the few that were unoccupied, at least) near the stage to create room to dance. Some of my favorite tracks performed last night include “Carolina” and “California,” which are not available online anywhere (the Band is currently unsigned) but hopefully will be soon.

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Next up was Lana Rebel, a Portland Americana/country artist who sounds like a mellowed-out June Carter Cash. Her laidback, easygoing country tunes fit the Sam Bond’s crowd nicely, giving them time to order drinks, catch up with friends before beckoning them to the small, makeshift dancefloor. Rebel’s lead guitarist (pictured above on the left-hand side) took over lead vocals for one uptempo number, as recorded in the clip below:

Lana Rebel - Live at Sam Bond's Garage 1/7/2011 by BestNewBandscom

Some of my favorite tracks from Lana Rebel’s website include the clean, understated “Purify” and the more uptempo “Yes Is Better Than No.” Check out more of Lana Rebel’s music here.

After Rebel’s set, I decided to duck back to my seconds-away apartment for a few minutes, as the Sam Bond’s crowd was starting to overwhelm me. The 29-degree temperature outside had me immediately snuggled under a blanket on my couch, but I gave myself a five-minute time limit - I even set an alarm on my phone! But the sleep-inducing powers of my Hop Valley's Natty Red soon washed over me, and when I next looked at my phone, it was 1:50 a.m. To my horror and embarrassment, I’d fallen asleep and missed the band I was supposed to cover. At that point, I knew there was nothing else I could do - Stagger & Sway’s set was long over, and the bar was about to close. “Besides,” I reasoned with my sleepy self, “I bet it wasn’t that difference from their music video...”

Based on the assumption that most musicians are better experienced in concert than on a CD, I bet I missed a great performance from Stagger & Sway last night. From the looks of the crowd (and the strength of that beer!), I bet I would’ve really enjoyed myself too. But judging from the band’s loyalty to the venue (and the fact that they’re based in Eugene), I’m sure Stagger & Sway will return to Sam Bond’s Garage soon. ‘Til then, I’ll be just a hop, skip and a comfy couch away.

Lana Rebel is currently heading south to a string of California shows, including ones in Arcata, Caspar and Santa Rosa (see her website for details). Stagger & Sway will perform next at the Twilight Cafe & Bar in Portland on Jan. 27.

Last modified on Saturday, 23 April 2011 18:37
Monica Christoffels

Born in Manila, Philippines, Monica Christoffels, 23, lived in Los Angeles as a child but considers Eugene, Oregon her home. After writing for the local newspaper in high school, she rekindled her affinity for writing after working as an administrative assistant at the Oregon Daily Emerald. When not covering the local music scene, Christoffels moonlights as a climate hawk, unofficial Eugene restaurant critic and diehard Oregon Ducks fan.

Website: twitter.com/mpchristoffels Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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