When I was in high school in Ashland, Ore., Sideshow Bob was the best band around. They regularly packed the 1,000-plus capacity Ashland Armory with shows featuring fire-breathing, bloody reenactments of the prom scene in Carrie and a lead singer whose demeanor and performances left you genuinely afraid he might eat your children. Whenever they played, bands made of people who saw the show started up the next day, many with members who had never played an instrument before. It's quite possible Sideshow Bob was the most influential band Southern Oregon ever produced.
But when they hit the road to play Eugene, Portland or San Francisco, it was always to an empty room. Why? Who knows. For whatever reasons, sometimes a band, no matter how good, just can't sell it outside of their hometown.
That in mind, I swung by Finn Riggins' show at Music Fest Northwest over the weekend to see how they fared without the home-field advantage.
The answer is: pretty well.
Though the true Rigginshead might be disappointed to hear they didn't bust out the steel drum, they should feel good to know that FR's Saturday show on the back patio of Rontoms was packed, and that the audience included members of other prominent bands and producer Skyler Norwood, who has helmed the mixer for some of the region's most acclaimed bands, including Talkdemonic and Blind Pilot. And more than just being there, the hundred or so folks stuck around, even though Archeology was playing inside and the sun was blazing.
While one guy told his friend that they should stick around because "the next band was much better," another was clearly mouthing the words, "This band is fucking amazing."
Finn Riggins sold one T-shirt, then drove to Hood River, Ore., to play another show.