This past weekend in Portland, a benefit concert was held for beloved local artist Scott McCaughey, who suffered a stroke back in November. As we mentioned last month here on the KEXP Blog, the two nights (Friday at the Star Theater, Saturday at the Wonder Ballroom) featured an all-star bill including members of R.E.M., Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, James Mercer of The Shins, Alejandro Escovedo, members of The Decemberists, Justin Townes Earle, Patterson Hood, and even more. In typical Northwest fashion, band members swapped left and right, all stepping in to support each other.
The weekend also marked a 3/4 R.E.M. reunion with surprise guest former drummer Bill Berry, who left the band in 1997. Our photographer Niffer Calderwood reports that Berry joined his old band members Peter Buck and Mike Mills for a rock block set of fan favorites "The One I Love," "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville," "Superman," and "Texarkana." James Mercer of The Shins stepped in on vocals for the 1988 Green track “You Are the Everything”, and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists took the mic on the Lifes Rich Pageant single "I Believe."
Additional highlights include Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney filling in on drums for the Portland supergroup Filthy Friends, a band featuring McCaughey with S-K's Corin Tucker, Peter Buck, The Fastbacks’ Kurt Bloch, and more. And The Decemberists treated the audience to a first-time-ever live performance of "Ben Franklin’s Song," a previously unused, unrecorded song that Meloy co-wrote with Lin-Manuel Miranda for the musical Hamilton.
The best surprise of all was seeing McCaughey back on stage with all his friends. The longtime local icon is on the road to recovery, but could still use our support. It's not too late to contribute to Scott's GoFundMe page. Also, there are still some wonderful musical artifacts on auction -- including rarities like a Dream Syndicate test pressing, a Prada shirt previously owned by Buck, a Jean-Michel Basquiat skateboard, with more to come. Check out the list here. Proceeds to be contributed to his fund.
For those of us who missed out on the weekend, check out more of Calderwood's photos below.
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Throwaway Style is a weekly column dedicated to examining all aspects of the Northwest music scene. Whether it’s a new artist making waves, headlines affecting local talent, or reflecting on some of the music that’s been a foundation in our region; this space celebrates everything happening in th...