Photo by Will Kanellos

This note is one of the few things I never schedule. Unlike almost everything else in my life, for this particular responsibility I have no reminders hurriedly penned into my planner or Post-it notes stuck willy-nilly on my laptop. Instead, I just wait and, sure enough, every quarter a moment comes along worth writing about.

This time that moment arrived during Ethos’s third annual Bandest of the Bands competition at Eugene’s WOW Hall. A long night soaked with equal parts good music and cold Ninkasi, Bandest of the Bands invites a handful of Eugene’s most talented musicians to play the “bandest” set they can in order to win, among other things, recording time and a profile in Ethos (“Liquid Jazz,” page 42). We were a couple bands into the evening when Hot Milk (this year’s winner though they didn’t know it yet) took the stage and I came up with this note.

As Hot Milk started in on one of their classic mellow numbers, I realized how perfect a parallel exists between a band playing a gig and our publishing Ethos. Sometimes the beat is steady and things get done; sometimes a note falls flat and people start to boo. But whether it’s a new song or a new magazine, what we wait for at the end, with sweaty palms and anxious hearts, is approval from the audience. For Hot Milk, that’s the roaring applause and eventual win that greeted them that night. For Ethos, that’s you reading and hopefully loving this issue.