Oh my god you guys, it is fucking Halloween. It’s HALLOWEEEEENNNNN!!! It’s the best day of the year! Yes, I am a fully matriculated adult and love Halloween best of all the holidays. I realize that’s a red flag for a lot of people. I’ve read all these tweets that are like, “never get into a relationship with a person whose favorite holiday is Halloween.” You know what, I agree, but also FUCK OFF like you’re so perfect and have no childish habits. Oh it’s just a joke, I get it, I get it. Twenty years ago that would have been a funny joke for a standup comic to make. On Twitter in 2015 it’s a self-aggrandizing little piece of ephemera that triggers social justice warriors such as myself to be all, WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME LIVE UP TO YOUR NORMCORE STANDARDS, SOCIETYYYYY? I fucking hate the internet. I love the internet. The internet is dead. Long live the internet.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Will I be seeing you at Jellyballs this Halloween?
JOKES, I can’t afford to travel to NYC. But that’s fine, because there is just so much to do here in Portland that you’d never need to leave town to find something rad. Now, full disclosure, my beloved band SeepeopleS is playing on Halloween, so I am not at all objective about what you should go and do and see and hear that night, but nobody is truly objective about anything really, so no big. If money were no object, I’d rent myself a sensible electric car and a driver for it to haul me around town so I could go to ALL of these events this All Hallow’s Eve, because I love how everyone is doing something different and interesting, I’d love to see everyone’s costumes, and I’d love to see all the bands. I’ll do my best by foot though!
Saturday, October 31
Well well well, look who we have here. It’s 5:30pm on Halloween and you have no costume, you big dumbass.
All week long you’ve been like, “Halloween is for kids and idiots, waste of money, get out of here I’m staying home to watch Hocus Pocus” and then your friend calls and is like, GIRL, BRIAN JUST GOT DUMPED COME ON LET’S PARTY and you’re like, oh shit I’ve been trying to get with ol’ bry bry for years, what to do what to do, stay home in PJs and be a grumpy dump or figure my shit out and get it together and do a rebound drive by on that dick this Halloween? I think we both know the answer to that, ladycakes. Go into the closet. What’s in there, a wig from a few years ago, some elbow length gloves, some spangly shit you bought once and never wore and like, some hot pink fishnets? Fuck it, put that shit on, a delightful evening of being a badass with your friends and flirting with that big dumb backhoe of a man Brian awaits. He’s probably dressed like a cowboy or Paul Bunyon or some shit because he didn’t have a costume either. Not everyone is in it to win it. Pretend you’re into it. Let’s go.
First up, it’s Purple Brainz 3 with Dean Ford at Port City Music Hall! Ok seriously we should all bow down to Dean Ford for his promo photo for this event, because he is bringing us the fluorescent, frill-sleeved, grape flavored, perfect eyebrowed, billowing plumes of dramatic smoke REALNESS that is the real Prince, who I think we can all agree basically created his own genre of music, has written a completely legendary catalogue of music for himself and others in the past 30+ years, has had an entirely enviable career and is hot as fuck. Are you following Prince on Instagram? You should. Beside the point. Anyway, Dean has a new album out called “Get Messy” and the “opener” of this show will be Dean performing some of those songs before he suits up with his band to do Prince hits from 78-04 including all of Purple Rain which I guess is according to the world the best Prince album, but I actually love Controversy best, but that’s only because I’m so obviously much cooler than you.
Anyway, if you don’t know what Dean Ford sounds like, he is like Erasure and Duran Duran had a baby who came out of the womb listening to classic era Prince on his little womb headphones, so there you have it. It’s fucking lovely and dancey, you’ll have a great time. You can’t listen to Purple Rain on Spotify because Prince’s shit isn’t on there, but you can listen on Tidal, Jay-Z’s terrible streaming service, so if you don’t own this album because you’re a fucking idiot, you’ll just have to give Jay-Z your money, because he needs more of it, you see. Oh and after it lets out at 12, since PCMH is all early like that, you still have time to hop across the street to Empire for last call and SeepeopleS. More on that in a bit.
Also, Dean Ford is very good looking and looks impossibly well-bathed. Who are these people who always look like they just stepped out of the groomers? I can barely take a five minute shower in the morning without being late for work.
Next up, it’s Bayside Bowloween with SS Cretins opening for Muck and the Mires, a Boston Band. The Cretins are, what do we call them, surf punk? Surf punk I guess is the genre, to review, kickass ladysinger/guitar player, wardrobe straight out of a Wes Anderson movie and excellent songwriting with that throwbacky sound reminiscent of a Wanda Jackson or the Reverend Horton Heat, but it’s not Rockabilly and it’s not so stuck in the past. Just trust me, you’ll figure it out. The Cretins appear to play first so you’ll have PLENTY OF TIME to come down to Empire after they’re done and see SeepeopleS.
Here’s trouble: Sylvia plays at Geno’s at Midnight, doing Portland’s metal thing for Halloween. They’ve got Mugwort, Sangharsha (NYC) and Zud opening for them, and if you like doom and hard core metal, this is where you’ll be. Sylvia recently won Toilet ov Hell’s ‘Best Unsigned Band in the US’ contest, which was no small feat because it was one of those voting things that requires the band to have the skills to mobilize their friends and family to vote, but then also you have to have, like, real fans to get anywhere with those things. Eh, congrats! I hope you won money. Look, here’s the thing. If you don’t listen to metal ever, you need to go to a metal show. You know how like, there’s that guy from your hometown who never left and has really weird ideas about the world now because his only perspective of life is as this dude who everybody knows and who still lives with his family in his hometown? OK, that’s you, musically. I’m serious, guy. You have to open your mindgrapes. Don’t even tell me that you’re super versatile, musically, come on. I’m a voracious consumer of music and I get stuck in genre holes all the time , and this job writing here and for that other place has opened my mind to new genres and shit and it is so dope! Just get in here with me Bubbles, what’s a bath without bubbles!?
Seriously though, it doesn’t have to be THIS metal show, but if you live here and you aren’t into metal, go see Sylvia at some point. They’re tight as shit, they’re kind of weirdly funny? In a SUPER subtle way? And it’s just heavy and you can just shut your eyes and drink your beer and be carried away on those busty swells that tickle your balls until something MAKES SENSE to you and you suddenly “get” the kids you used to pick on in junior high. Asshole. You metalheads aren’t immune to this either tho, go see a folk show every now and again, for the love. Ok. Anyway, so this sucks, because Sylvia plays at the same time that… wait for it… SeepeopleS does, so you’ll just have to leave mid set so you can see both. It’s only fair. Empire is right down the street from Geno’s and takes credit cards so when you’re ready for a shot or something swing by and buy a drink with your debit card FOR ONCE, Jesus, do I have to do everything for you?
Ok so I’ll finally get to it, here we go, my band SeepeopleS is playing at Empire with Five of the Eyes and a Philly based band called In The Presence of Wolves. Let me explain what we’ve got here. In the Presence of Wolves is an unconventional and sort of structurally adventurous prog rock band, but they’re from out of town so let’s get straight to the gooey center and address Five of the Eyes, who are ALSO an unconventional and structurally adventurous prog rock band, but they’re also indie rock, they remind me of like, The Shins or Built to Spill sometimes, or Chronic Town REM, this raw stripped down feeling that really tempers the histrionics of prog rock, which can feel bloated and self important (and dated - I always feel like people are like “DAD ROCK, SCROLLLLLL” any time I even mention prog rock). And Darrell Foster’s falsetto really grooves, ya dig, he’s got a fun voice. Look here’s their latest video, and it even has a sort of spooky Halloweeny theme:
SeepeopleS is a different story, they’re a psych rock band and the comparison we keep hearing is to Tame Impala’s most recent album Currents. I have been a SeepeopleS fan since I stumbled upon them in 2001 at The Lion’s Den in NYC and nobody really knows what to make of SeepeopleS - are they a hippie jam band? Are they a pop band? So I’ll just tell you what I like about them. What I like about SeepeopleS is that if I were to pick one song and sit you down in a room with it and play it for you, you’d probably not really like it that much. It would feel obscure, almost like being confronted with a fresh Sudoku if you’re not a numbers person. And then I’d play it again and you’d hear something in it that clicks. Then I’d play it again and you’d be excited to hear that ‘click’ part again. Again, and you suddenly feel like you’re weirdly addicted to the song, you have to hear it again, and again, and again so you can worm your way into it and possess it. Then you want to know what other songs there are and a narrative starts to unfold. SeepeopleS is like a mysterious drug, which I suppose is fitting given their not all that private legacy of bananas drug use. Here's a video I made for them:
But this show at Empire, which starts at 9pm, also has a theme. An Illuminati Masquerade Ball, inspired by these photos of a Rothschild Party in the 70’s that counted Salvador Dali among its attendees. Be there, I’m killing it on decor and costumes plus there is a costume contest with handmade art as prizes because fuck you, I don't have any money to give you, get out of here.
Ok, so next up we have Space Gallery’s Halloween Party with its trickster facebook invite that says it features The Flaming Lips, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth and Jesus Lizard, but it’s a TRICK!!! AND IT'S ALSO A TREAT! Because it’s actually local bands Sunset Hearts as The Flaming Lips, Black Pumpkin as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Baltic Sea as Sonic Youth and The Blood Caps as The Jesus Lizard. HAHAHA YOU TRICKED US, YOU GUYS!! I also like that these 80’s bands are listed as bringing “90’s nostalgia” because the players are young enough that they wouldn't have listened to any of these bands before the 90’s because they weren’t really alive and/or old enough to listen to these bands prior to the 90’s. But we’ll let that millenial-centric misconception stand because most of these bands released their most “important” works in the 90’s. Ugh, I hate myself for even typing those last two sentences. The ghost of my dead relatives are hovering over my shoulder right now being like THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON’T FUCKING LIKE YOU, CHRIST YOU ARE INSUFFERABLE YOU KNOW THAT. And I’m like, I learned it by watching you! *shakes fist*
Jeez. ANYWAY, despite everything I just said, this sounds like super fun and we all know my stance about cover bands as acts of terrorism, but Halloween gets a pass because we’re all playing dress up that night and being someone else. I love all of the bands they’re covering - they made some cool choices here. And I’m pretty sure all of Portland thinks so too because this is clearly the most popular choice for Halloween, judging by facebook responses. Also I love Sunset Hearts. So go to this, but when you need a break from “90’s nostalgia,” (sing it with me if you know the words, kids)... well, you just hop on across the street and join us at Empire! For SeepeopleS (who, incidentally, get compared to the F-Lips often by critics, so there’s that)! ahoo!!
Alright, so up next we have Nuclear Bootz, The FURRies, Safe/Word and Captain Martini and the Key Stoners at Mathews Pub. I really like Nuclear Bootz. They run with the punk crowd, but secretly they go home at night, wash the egg whites out of their hair and listen to Beatles and Paul Weller records. I create this fantasy for them because what I’m saying is their heart is that of a pop band. Pop songs. Have we talked about what makes a pop song? It’s really up for debate, right, you could argue about that for a lifetime. But I like to classify a “classic” pop song as that verse verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus chorus thing, which Nuclear Bootz does just fine, just fine indeed. Don’t let that punk grime on the surface fool you. A quick shower and you could take them to Suzie’s party after the football game on Friday night. But this is the show for the disenfranchised music lover, the guys and gals who are like FUCK EVERYTHING but still also want to go out and leave the house. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you won’t find a ton of hard core costumers at this show because they’ll want to be somewhere very packed to show off their costume. But if you just want to get hammered and listen to some crusty punk music and make fun from a distance of all the dumb earnest folks who, like, try, this is the show for you.
And last but never least, there is Spencer Albee’s We Are All Going To Hell Live Dance Party at Portland House of Music. I can’t find much about this online, but I’m sure you guys already know all about it because it strikes me that there are some Halloween traditions in this town that are long standing and this may be one of them, given his place in the music scene here. I really like his music, I think it’s fun and shiny and polished and there’s a place for that among the ruins. On Spencer’s fb page there’s just a whole bunch of Jonathan Taylor Thomas pics and then a flyer for the show and it says “Everyone will be reminding you that they have a Halloween party on Saturday. I will be reminding you of my track record” so I guess that means that this is usually a good party? Sure. Here’s my take on that, though. I know nothing of your track record, Spencer, for I am new and ignorant! Who will I see at this show? What will I hear? What happened in years prior? TELL ME I AM SO GENUINELY CURIOUS. The marketing professional in me is like, “always assume your customers are fucking dumb and know nothing, like me.” Anyway, this will be too far for me to travel away from my home base on Saturday night, so someone will have to report back to me in regard to the mysterious and so-good-they-don’t-need-promotion things that happened therein.
Is there other stuff going on on Halloween!? Sure! Loads of dj'd dance parties, I’m thinking. But the only one you need to go to is Sub/Merge at Flask. This episode is Halloween themed! In not entirely unrelated news, I finally went to that place, that Oasis or Pearl or whatever the fuck dance club. It was tolerable for about 20 minutes. I always wonder why we’re going back to the well on songs like “Let me clear my throat” when there is so much compelling dance music that has been made in just the past five years? Anyway, Flask is much more fun because it has a much more diverse crowd and feels safer, because the unenlightened straight males who think that Oasis is a good place to mine for sex partners are very aggressive and touch way too much butt without permission for any reasonable lady to feel comfortable. Ok, here, gimme a hand while I step down off this soap box.