April 18, 2018
A Guide to Live & Local Music in Bend
By: Tyler Spragg
Photo by Isaac Montoya
- Object Heavy performing for the Apres Ski Bash series at Crow's Feet Commons in 2018.
In Bend, we are known to spend bundles of time connecting with nature in our extensive and diverse outdoors. Within 30 miles of downtown, one can almost endlessly explore the beauty of the Cascade Lakes Highway, enjoy skiing down the magnificent Mt Bachelor, or experience the world class climbing at Smith Rock State Park. But after day breaks and everyone heads back to town, you’ll find the community connecting indoors with each other over a locally brewed beer and some truly outstanding home-grown tunes! In addition to the nature of our topography, music is another medium that Central Oregon uses to express itself. Each performance is individual and unique in its own way – you can’t see the same show twice. Here is a local’s guide of where to go for a unique and memorable evening soaking up the soundscape of your favorite mountain town.
One of our favorite venues to catch some local and live music is at the Volcanic Theatre Pub. There is a wide spectrum of genres to witness at the Volcanic - one night, you might be boppin’ about to the punk infused folky jams by local heroes Larry and His Flask, and the next night, the Volcanic crew may break out the comfy sofas while Portland’s Haley Johnsen serenades you with her velvety, va va voom voice. If you are staying at The Pine Ridge Inn, enjoy the mile walk over to the Century Center, which houses the Volcanic as well as the good vibes of GoodLife Brewing Company. Fuel up for the show with a flatbread and their signature Sweet As northwest ale before walking the 20 yards over to the Volcanic. Expect admission price to be between $5 and $12. Check out their Event Calendar to find your favorite musical flavor!
Staying true to the funky McMenamins brand, Bend’s St. Francis location is a quirky campus that offers quality free concerts in Father Luke’s Room. Shows are usually scheduled Tuesday’s through Thursday’s and feature some lively local acts, like the young and funky Maxwell Friedman, or Portland’s Jerry Garcia Birthday Band, for all of you Dead-Head’s out there. Arrive early with swim trunks and a towel for a pre-show soak in the Saltwater Spa, then rinse off and grab a beer at the Fireside Bar before heading in for the music.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, follow the blue lights after the show to unwind with a custom cocktail in the secret bar, The Broom Closet.
The Lot is a hip gathering place surrounded by food carts and some friendly, Bend-y neighborhoods. If you brought along your guit-fiddle and are itching to play, come down to The Lot on Wednesday night for Open Mic where you can share your voice and bare your soul to the mob on The Lot! If it isn’t Wednesday (or you aren’t feeling particularly brave), head on down the rest of the week for some mellow, easy listening to compliment the easy drinking Crux Pilsner on tap behind the bar. Also, reference our recent blog post highlighting the best food carts in town for recommendations on how to navigate The Lot and narrow down the tough decision on which cart to choose.
Pro Tip: If carts aren’t your thing, grab a bite and a pint across the street at Sunriver Brewing, who offers the best food you can get at a Bend brewery – which is no small feat considering the stiff competition in town.
This list would not be complete without M&J Tavern. M&J has truly taken local music in Bend under its wing, supporting an abundance of artists with a space to perform, and connecting them with their listeners through the love of music. Locals and agave enthusiasts choose M&J for this reason as well as their staggering 243 bottle tequila selection! With multiple bands playing on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights (and an open mic on Wednesdays) it seems that in a given year, you would have as much choice and variety in bands as you would tequilas. Experiencing music at this homey little tavern (complete with a laundromat) is always a unique, one of a kind time.
Pro Tip: You can find Silver Moon Brewery, The Domino Room, and Midtown Ballroom on the next block east, towards the Parkway overpass. Just follow your ears – this NE slice of Downtown Bend offers live music most nights of the week.
Well, that’s the scoop on live and local music here in Bend. One last thing – we are proud to have two drummers in the scene and on our Pine Ridge payroll. If jazz and funk are your cup of tea, listen out for their beats in The Same Coin & Soul Providers. We hope you enjoy the tasty tunes of our town!
Ready to move and groove? Book a Stay at the Pine Ridge Inn for welcoming service, large and comfortable rooms, and an unbeatable location close to these outstanding music venues.