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Cherry Swirl – A decade of Cherry City Music Festival – 2007

As a fan, watching the Salem music scene blow up in the late eighties and early nineties was a thrill every night of the week. The Ranch and Peppertree continued to rock heavy on Portland Road. Westside Station hosted transcendent shows with bands like the Dharma Bums and Cherry Poppin Daddies. Boon’s Treasury had regular music and big shows were thrown at Mission Mill. The Armory was still a spot on the map for Portland promoters. Mostly headbangers, the bands continued to draw large crowds and play loud shows. With all the options, Salem seemed to satisfy the area with live music.

Potatoe Famine at Coffee House Cafe
Potatoe Famine at Coffee House Cafe

Then things got even better. Mike Jones opened the Grand Theater with a steady stream of touring bands every weekend and local bands like the Violets and Carmina Piranha. Tommyjohn’s replaced the Rolling Bagel and found obscure acts that surprised everyone. Midweek shows downtown became the norm and Salem regained the reputation it lost in the 70s as a destination for entertainment. All was well in the world, and it would last forever.

Jewelia Owens at The Beanery
Jewelia Owens at The Beanery

Or at least until the turn of the century. By 2000, everything changed. With so many choices, attendance started dropping. Bored kids would trash bathrooms and upset venue owners. The ban on cruising had taken it’s toll on Ranch and Peppertree. Westside Station expanded their stage for larger touring acts and switched directions to cover bands. A wild Daddies show at the Mission Mill ended a streak of all-ages shows. Tommyjohn’s closed. Jimmy’s Guitar shuttered under controversy. Mike Jones gave up on the Grand Theater and took his record label to Portland. He felt like the Grand had turned into a day care center. Other than cover bands, live music became harder to come by. The scene fell into a state of hibernation.

Wintermuse at Copperjohn's
Wintermuse at Copperjohn’s

After years of dormancy, new music began to emerge downtown. In 2004, sporadic shows started up at the Cyrus Reed Ballroom. Punk shows took the stage at the soon-to-be Ike Box. Acting to avoid the downward spiral of the late 90s, fandom turned to promotion during a library fundraiser. In an effort to engage a younger demographic for collecting ballot signatures, it was decided to plan an event downtown that would feature local and national talent. With help from Julian Snow and Dino Venti, a concert was planned at Cyrus Reed Ballroom. Captain Beefhart’s Morris Tepper, Peter De Groot’s Anbot Rodroid, and the Julian Snow Trio played to 300 people and the effort to connect community through music was initiated.

Millrace at Coffee House Cafe
Millrace at Coffee House Cafe

It took a few more years to host another show from a totally unexpected path. Area filmmakers were asking for opportunities to make music videos. After pairing directors with bands to shoot a video, Mix-n-Mash 2007 was planned to show the videos. Cherry City Music Festival was born.

Scott Hartmann met up with The Funhouse Strippers in Ranch Record’s basement and shot “Murderer’s Thumb”, a high energy punk song about David Ballantyne’s(?) thumb.

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Another great music video was produced by Sean Farris and his magic elves. Stop motion animation paired with outer space music by Millrace made “Garden Gnome” entrancing.

2007 event schedule
2007 event schedule

Fifty bands were scheduled in eleven venues over 2 days in October. Seven of those still exist today. The Gusto Brothers, Phamous Phaces, Typhoon, Kalaloch, Easterly, Potatoe Famine and Marci Curtis Band are still kicking it like they were a decade ago. Randy Byrnes and Mark Seymour are still playing solo gigs. Ike Box, Boon’s Treasury, Stitch’s (?), Grand Ballroom and the Beanery are the only remaining venues. A moment of silence is reserved for Coffee House Cafe, Grand Vines, The Big Kahuna, Copperjohn’s, Six UltraLounge and all the bands that are no more.

Roger Nusic at Coffee House Cafe
Roger Nusic at Coffee House Cafe

In the weeks leading to the 10th Cherry City Music Festival March 31, April 1 and 2, more stories from the Salem music scene, past and present, will be shared on the web site in celebration of the community built by live entertainment in Salem.

Do you support live music in Salem? Hundreds of bands and thousands of fans gathered at the Cherry City Music Festival over the past 10 years. Your donation helps make this year extra special and keep concerts free. Please chip in for a grassroots event that is still exists after a decade.

Visit Shotski’s every Saturday until the Festival for the Cherry City Music Preview Series. Eight weeks of free concerts are performed on the newest stage in Salem.

Mix-n-Mash returns to Salem February 24-27 at Shotski’s.

Sign up for the Music Festival and we’ll try  to get you a stage.

Here are a few more photos from the first Mix-n-Mash in 2007.

Doug Hoffman and David Fox at the milk bar in Coffee House Cafe
Doug Hoffman and David Fox at the milk bar in Coffee House Cafe

Mitch Duafa, Casey Ocupe, others at Coffee House Cafe
Mitch Duafa, Casey Ocupe, others at Coffee House Cafe

2007 line up:

40 Hundred Thousand Locked Up Guns
Elec Morin
Eskimo and Sons
The Last Slice of Butter
White Lighter
Jr. and the Farm
The Duafa Project
Martyrs of Sound
Nodding Tree Remedies
Roger Nusic
Casey Hurt
Mark Seymour
Hot in Pursuit
Kid Espi
Parfait a.k.a. Le Verbe
Rehab Records
Carmina Luna
Jewelia Owens
Marci Curtis Band
Aberrant Contortions
Altar of Thrond
Boy Named Sue
I’m a Tornado
Jean Grey
Sunday Straight Jacket
Sad Panda
Guards of Metropolis
Jesus Presley
Root Villa
Mark Lemhouse
Pass Margo
Phamous Phaces
Ray Charles Manson Family Feud
Righteous Animal
The Gusto Brothers
The Nettles
Potatoe Famine
The Funhouse Strippers

Cherry City Music Festival Preview Series starts February 6 at Shotski’s


Local music will take the stage at Shotski’s, 1230 State St., every Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. until April, when the Cherry City Music Festival celebrates its 10th year of jamming in Salem. Starting with the Gusto Brothers on Saturday, February 6, the free, 21 and over preview series will include bands that were in the Festival over the past decade.

Sign up to play March 31, April 1 or April 2

Cherry City Music Festival Preview Series:

FEB 6 The Gusto Brothers

FEB 13 Jake Blair Band

FEB 20 Indigo Boyz

FEB 24 Mix-n-Mash 7:00 pm Ignite Salem 7

FEB 25 Mix-n-Mash 7:00 pm Wild Ire (EP release) w/The Dead Giveaways

FEB 26 Mix-n-Mash 11:00 pm Night Lizard

FEB 27 Mix-n-Mash 9:00 Gabe Cox Band

MAR 5 Phamous Phaces

MAR 12 City of Pieces

MAR 19 Ivan de Prume

MAR 26 Eric Lovre Band

The Sexbots perform space age desires at Kraftworks Taphouse, Saturday, April 4, 2015


Portland-based artist Ilima Considine stirs up erotic obsession with her experimental electronica project, The Sexbots,  at Kraftworks Taphouse. Be prepared to cross some boundaries and experience new territory as Ilima guides you through surreal alien landscapes with her high voice and unique delivery.  Art pop fans will be enthralled. Lift-off for the free, 21+ performance is 11:00 p.m., Saturday, April 4, 2015.

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Still Water Vibes grooves Brown’s Towne Lounge April 4, 2015



2014 Muddy Award Nominee and Journey to Memphis finalists Still Water Vibes bring their tight blues to Brown’s Towne Lounge on Saturday, April 4, 2015 during the closing night of the 9th Cherry City Music Festival.

Their studio performance at Capital Community Television at last year’s Festival was phenomenal and they received well-deserved praise from the Cascade Blues Association last summer. We’re just glad when they can play in town. The fre 21+ performance starts at 10 pm.

41 bands in 9 venues during 8th Cherry City Music Fest

Cherry City Music Festival starts tomorrow. Almost all performances free and 21+. Minors encouraged to visit the live broadcast at Capital City TV and be part of the studio audience. Thanks to all the volunteer musicians, crew and venue owners. Enjoy your friends and neighbors making music!

Here’s the latest schedule.
April 3
Boon’s Treasury
9:00 Skip vonKuske’s Cellotronik
Capital City TV
6:00 Jocelyn Paige
7:00 Stillwater Vibes
8:00 Daniel Franklin
Duffy’s Hangar
8:00 Dupree Diamond Dudes
The Triangle
8:00 Open Jam with Joe Kyle
Vagabond Brewing
8:00 Michael Hamlin Taylor
9:00 Brothers Bror
10:00 Walking Eagles

April 4
The Half Penny
9:00 Sacred Road
Boon’s Treasury
9:00 Oh My Mys
Brown’s Towne Lounge
9:00 Corey Knowland
Capital City TV
6:00 Elvicious Cash
7:00 Sour Alley
8:00 Thunder Road
Duffy’s Hangar
8:00 Wax Trap
The Triangle ($5)
9:00 Skrilla, King Rawllie, lucky b., International Famous Uneekint, Shameless
Vagabond Brewing
9:00 The Folly
10:00 3 Bit Bourbon

April 5
The Half Penny
9:00 The Koz
Brown’s Towne Lounge
9:00 The Pumps, The Hundred Dollar Jayhawks
Boon’s Treasury
9:00 Strangled Darlings
Capital City TV
12:00 Psychic Echo
2:00 Poison Love
3:00 Walking Eagles
4:00 Anchor Chain
5:00 Transendia
Duffy’s Hangar
8:00 Gabe Cox CD release party with PB&J and Wil Kinky
Gilgamesh Brewing
9:00 Sam Cooper Band
The Triangle ($5)
9:00 Sunspot Jonz, Kelu, Sea One, Cannabidoids
Vagabond Brewing
9:00 I am a Zombie, Sour Alley