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MailTribune.com
  • Free music, what's not to love?

    Enjoy Medford's summer park concerts before the world dies of heat
  • I knew the show was going to be interesting when the didgeridoo player motioned to his sound guy to jack up the volume on his twin didgeridoos.
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  • I knew the show was going to be interesting when the didgeridoo player motioned to his sound guy to jack up the volume on his twin didgeridoos.
    Forget cowbell. You can never, ever have enough didgeridoo.
    I make it a point to dig one of the free concerts held at Bear Creek Park throughout the summer. I'm a big parks and recreation supporter. Always have been. City governments across what is left of this nation do a lot of dumb, wasteful things, but parks-and-rec projects usually aren't among them.
    Medford hosts a free summer concert series that starts in June. The shows begin at around 7 p.m. at the amphitheater, which sits just below the skate park. Don't worry, Medfordites, you will be able to hear the show over the sound of valiant kids in Vans shoes breaking their pinkies and spines at the skate park, or as I call it, The 2x4 on Wheels Death Dome.
    On Wednesday, I biked out to the park to catch the Celtic rock band Brother. They did not disappoint, though if I were to market this band, I would be sure to throw in the word "psychedelic" when describing their sound. There's plenty of trippiness to go along with the Celtic thunder.
    (Full disclosure: My homie Jake plays drums in Brother. I've known the dude for years and never once witnessed him punish the skins until Wednesday. It was a guilt itch I needed to scratch.) (An aside to my full disclosure: Seeing Jake in action reminded me that Devo drummer Alan Myers died on Wednesday, after a long battle with cancer. Anyone who has read more than three of these columns knows of my undying love for Devo. Myers was often referred to as the "human metronome" because of his sparse drumming style on the first few Devo albums. He was one of those great musicians whose skills I would describe as awesomely sneaky. Sure, the Devo percussion sounded simple, but careful listening reveals that he found his space in a guitar-and-synth driven art-rock band at a time when this was simply not happening. I listened to Devo in his honor Wednesday night and took full measure of what he brought to that band, which was precision, mixed with spastic fills that went on for just the right amount of time. He was not a showoff. His work will live on.)
    Brother took the stage armed with the aforementioned didgeridoos, Jake, and a mean set of bagpipes. They played a solid set of acidy Celtic mood music that took my ears from the chill forests of Medieval Scotland to a London opium den, circa 1888.
    There were some definite Bono tones woven through the singer's vocals. The dude could hit the high notes that Bono used to before his vocal cords became worn out from humanitarian speaking engagements. The dude also rocked the pipes in a way that made me want to wrap myself in the Union Jack and jump out of an airplane onto a bomb-scarred battlefield over Germany.
    The didgeridoo action was a need at this point in my life. I've given up on my dreams of rock stardom. I no longer have the time or the patience to learn to play a Gibson SG. But I think I can figure out the didgeridoo. I might not make it to Brother level, but I think I could figure out two-way breathing enough to make my apartment sound like a "Crocodile Dundee" outtake.
    Brother plays these parts at various times. They're worth checking out. If only for the didgeridoos.
    I've always thought of Bear Creek Park as Medford's secret weapon. It's a nice plot of land in the southeast part of town that features a collection of things such as a BMX track, a skate park, an amphitheater, some of the best tennis courts in town and enough hills and trees to give you a barrier from these things for peace and quiet purposes.
    Bear Creek Park doesn't seem to suffer from the dirtheads-with-pitbulls-on-methadone issue that plagues Hawthorne or Union parks. I'm sure if you really, really wanted to score a half-gram of meth in Bear Creek Park, you probably could, but you might have to look around for more than five minutes, as opposed to the 11.32 seconds it would take to score a bag in Hawthorne at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
    I'm going to give it up to the parks-and-rec folks for hosting the free concerts and movies in this park through the summer. It's a great idea and is the antidote to those who endlessly complain that there's nothing to do in Medford.
    Trippy Celtic rock might not be your thing, but you could do worse than give it a try at a nice wedge of greenspace that exists within your town.
    It might even inspire to you take up the didgeridoo.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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