What the Fuck Should I Do Tonight: The Phoenix Challenge - To The Pain!!

Look, Dicktits (h/t pete), Im just going to let the late great Jerry Orbach say it for me:

Another fun fact, about me: nobody puts me in the corner, either. True story!  

But hold on, wait a second. Am I really wrong?  Let’s find out!  

Yes, it’s true, The Phoenix, most loathed alt weekly in all the land, responded to my tirade against them like a week or whatever ago. Here is what she said:

Heh, I work for the Phoenix. We bought the paper a year ago - otherwise it would no longer be here. The online software was, truly, not great and we did not have an option to keep the old site, and... the old events listing did not work. But we have come a long way, including installing free self-serve listings software on portlandphoenix.me that reverse publishes to print, plus someone on staff checks a big lists clubs and venues we know can't be missed. Give me a list, of what you think is not in there and we will cover it. Alisa@portlandphoenix.me (408)892-9815. You want more listings, here's your chance.

I love this response partly for the way it starts - if WE hadn’t come along to save this paper, why, it would have CEASED TO EXIST AND THEN WHERE WOULD YOU BE!!?!  Um, we’d be… the same? It’s not like any of us are reading it. However, I do commend Alisa for taking the time to comment, and to address at least the listings part of our collective gripes (the editorial snafus I guess are another issue, though to my mind, the more dismissive of local music of the two), as well as to enter the lion’s den and post among the virtual mosh pit of Phoenix hatred that that post conjured up. Brave gal. Side note, there were some weird other comments too, you should go read them.  I love the whole “let’s just let Lauren Wayne pay for our listings!” idea.  Uh… what?  Went a little overboard on the pcp perfume there, kid.    

Here’s some background truthiness for you: last night my beloved macbook pro shit the bed and today I took that thing to the genius bar so fast that I almost got pulled over en route. Turns out I lost my hard drive.  It’s a miracle she lasted as long as she did, says Evan at the genius bar, who kindly walks me through how to choose and price out a solid state hard drive and where to get instructions on replacing it. So tonight I did that, I put a new hard drive in the thing using an eyeglass repair kit and the steady hand of a world class caffeine junkie, and voila! The little fighter powered right on up and just sat there blinking at me all wide-eyed, like, Files, please?  

But the ‘puter cannot be used yet, one must put an operating system on the thing, so I have to wait until tomorrow to use my machine again. So I have my work computer here, and I have forgotten the wireless mouse at the workplace and this computer has the worst, most touchy, “I’ma highlight and erase your shit while you’re not looking” track…? pad? (is that what the little square mouse thing is called?) in the history of mankind, so it is very hard to edit my work right now - I’ll be even more stream of consh than usual, and I’m not going to drill down on the bands this weekend.

NO, in fact, here’s what we ARE going to do… I’m going to list the event and then we’re going to cross reference it with The Phoenix’s listings and see if it’s there!  And then we’ll do some math and like, get a percentage or something! I don’t know!  Hopefully, if Alisa is right, then all of these events will be here.  Let’s find out, y’all!!  Prove me wrong Alisa, Intrepid Internet-Roaming Defender of Inferior Alt-Weeklies!  

Here are the parameters - I have gone to the Phoenix web site, and I have clicked on their Listings page.  I have chosen the date in question, and then I’ve drilled down to “music” under “performing arts.”  Any time The Phoenix has an event listed that I have listed here, they get a point but I do not.  And any time they don’t have an event listed that I have here, I get a point. Let’s see what we’ve got.

Friday November 20

Let’s start with Blue, who has - interestingly - no locals on tonight. They’re usually very local-centric but tonight the entire evening is dedicated to Venezuelan jazz musician Benito Gonzales. Normally I wouldn't mention this but I already started writing it so it stays. LAZY.  But is it listed on the Phoenix?  Yes! Three times, in fact!  OK. Phoenix: 1, Me: 0.

Next up, we go across the street to Geno’s!  To be fair, Geno’s doesn’t have anything listed, and neither does the Phoenix. HOWEVER, a quick reacharound on Geno’s reveals that there will be a local jam sesh going on so that brings us to Phoenix: 1, Me: 1.  It’s tied, you guys!!

What’s next, ok Kafari is playing his classics (Chopin, jazz, et. al.) and original piano compositions at Bunker Brewing. Cool, I had no idea they had music inside in the winter.  This seems fun. I’d like to go. But IS IT LISTED!?  No. You hear that, Bunker Brewing? You’re not important (I think you’re important, Bunker Brewing… you still have me!  Phoenix: 1, Me: 2.

Ok what the fuck who is up next, how about Bully Mammoth, Mouth Washington, Jesse R. Berlin and Tiger Saw at Empire?  Now, Bully Mammoth, who has a metric buttload (as opposed to a standard buttload, buttloads are measured differently in Europe, you see) of EPs is finally releasing their first full length album.  Great!  Let’s go!  Is it listed? YES - twice, even!  Oh, Phoenix, you scamp, proving me wrong! Phoenix: 2 Me: 2

Let’s all pop on across the street now and head into The Dogfish Company for - who else - that’s right it’s Travis James Humphrey!  The Humph!  for happy hour and then jazz with LQH.  Is it listed? No. Phoenix, I’m tempted to DEDUCT points from you for ignoring Portland’s Most Important Acoustic One Man One Guitar Happy Hour and Every Hour Musician The Humph.  However, I play fair, so we’re at Phoenix: 2 Me: 3. The competish is HEAT. ING. UP.

Oh boy and we’re off to Flask Lounge for Friction Friday with Digital Mercenaries!  This is their Drum and bass and dubstep night. Let’s find out: is it listed?  No. Mkay, Phoenix: 2, Me: 4

Of course then there is Salvage (not listed) who has retro surf rockers The Aquanauts and then there’s Plague at Asylum (listed) and Acoustic Artisans has a local folk duo called Burke and Surette (listed).  Phoenix: 3 Me: 5. VK pulls ahead!!

Later on, I suppose after he’s done playing piano at Bunker unless he’s about to prove the theory of quantum entanglement true tonight and What the Bleep Do We Know us all, Kafari moves on to Terlingua with Henry Redman. This set is a duo act with the two of them doing a jazz/hip hop thing. I guess this is Terlingua’s way of stepping up to Salvage and being like, hey guys.  We’re going to take the east side barbecue and live music lovers and just keep them here so they don’t have to go over to you to get barbecue and live music. SHREWD MOVE, Terlingua.  I mean, kind of also get your own style going on? Why are you single white female-ing Salvage?  When did it become a West Side Story situation with the barbecue joints in this town? Anyway. Is it listed? No. Phoenix: 3, Me: 6

Kafari, playing two shows at once.  Great stage presence!

Kafari, playing two shows at once.  Great stage presence!

Lastly, for the sober among us of just those who don’t feel like drinking or just, you know, folks who are under 21 and want to hear some heavy metal, ASFG has Rising Tides. Listed? Yes.  Phoenix: 4, Me: 6.

Ok it’s real close Phoenix (not really), let’s just see what Saturday has in store!

Saturday, November 21

Mugwort, Apollyon and Nycterent play with out of towners Leather Chalice and Opening Bell at dbasement.  DIY metal show.  I don’t even have to look to tell you that this one is not listed, but let’s confirm: no. In fairness, I don’t think dbasement would even want to be listed, so let’s let The Phoenix have a handicap on this one:  Phoenix: 5, Me: 6

King Buffalo, Rigor Samsa and Sunrunner are at Geno’s. Sigh. This is going to be such a good show too, you big dum dum heads. NO. Phoenix: 5 Me: 7

All ages hero venue ASFG has Cheerwine, Safe/Word, Phallus Uber Alles and 40 Miles of Bad Road (h/t PF). Also no. Phoenix: 5 Me: 8

There’s another all ages thing going on too, Friday Night Lites are with Cover One Eye, Real Talk and Crisis AD at Z club. Listed? No. Phoenix: 5 Me: 8

Quick aside: I am LOVING seeing these all ages shows happening.  They’re not big money makers, but kids need to be able to go to a kickass rock show and feel that element of danger and mystery that drew us all into it in the first place.  Ugh, shut up, me.  Anyway.

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The Pubcrawlers and El Grande are at Studio F (not listed), King Day and his New Imperials are at Salvage (not listed), Blue has Jazz at the Blue with a late night set from Kafari and Henry Redman (they’re just redbulling it through the weekend, huh) (listed - 3 times), Flask has Dustin Saucier with Nick Perry’s Brass Tax and Caro Khan (free!) (listed) and Dogfish has The Heated (not listed). Miss Fairchild opens for Kat and the Indominatable Soul at PHOME. (listed, but it doesn’t mention the local opener so no points awarded) Phoenix 7 Me:10

Lastly,Ryan Halliburton and the Still is at Empire with Grey Season and Sorcha Cribben Merrill.  Listed? Yes. Phoenix: 8 Me: 10

Alright, so how did we do?  Let’s recall that I was only awarded a point when I listed something that The Phoenix did not list, and they were awarded a point when something was listed.  And of course I don’t know The Phoenix’s track record on national touring acts because I only deal in local shit.  So, theoretically that puts me at 100% (which is not necessarily accurate, I KNOW I missed some shit (email me your shit, traitors!), I miss shit every week and I also skip some of the stuff that sort of defies my values here, like a certain all white guy reggae band whose band name is hella racist or any band that plays in their white ball caps and has a lot of lyrics about bitches, we stay away from that here because they don’t participate in the community). Anyway, out of 18 events, I listed 18, and The Phoenix listed 8 (really, 7, but let’s pretend).  That puts them at a 44% track record and there is a clear pattern - did you notice it?  If you are a heavy metal or punk band, don’t worry - The Phoenix will never cover you, thereby ensuring your coolness for years to come. It’s like it’s the 80’s again!  But little do they know, they’re sacrificing their happiness.   

Look, I’m not trying to be a dick. Well, that’s actually debatable.  Ok lemme try this again. I’m not trying to be mean without purpose.  I am just trying to point out how much is going on in this town. There are a million and one stories here if someone would just ask. A budding, young, virile music scene isn’t sophisticated enough to generate a boatload of press releases for every little event.  You learn that over time and years.  This is why journalism exists, to eke out these stories that don’t know how to tell themselves yet.  And it’s clear that The Phoenix thinks that the job they’re doing is good enough.  Fine, fair.  Media got simply destroyed with the Internet making everything free.  But hey, guys?  Guess what? The SAME THING happened to the music industry!  Why are we not IN THIS TOGETHER?  Christ.  The problem is that in the mad rush to keep advertisers and generate revenue, you forgot how to make a compelling product. Shit I mean it’s not just you, it’s happening to kings of industry Apple right now because they lost touch with how to stay relevant. I’m sad for all of us, our sugar-encrusted, poor-but-wealth-obsessed, Fall-Out-4-and-2DineIn-bingeing, pack-mentality-moral-outrage-on-Facebooking, every-one-of-us-lonely-as-fuck culture. I’m sad that anything that doesn’t make money out of the gate isn’t worthy anymore.  

Before I go, I have to give a big, humble and respectful shout out to Preacher’s Fire, the new listings paper that you can find strewn about town, without which I would not have known about a couple of the events listed here. You got my back, PF!  Keep your eye out for it, and pick up a copy when you see it. I got my copy at Local Sprouts. It’s beautifully designed and light as a feather so you can fold it up and glance at it when you’re drunk enough to want to leave the house (ON FOOT!!).  

Me, pretty much until the end of March or whenever we start seeing the sun again. 

Me, pretty much until the end of March or whenever we start seeing the sun again. 

Ok bebbies, have a great weekend. I love you so dearly it makes my chest burst like a parasitic alien has just completed gestation in my abdomen.  BE SAFE, do NOT DO NOT NO NOT EVER drink and drive, and be kind.  Gratitude gratitude and all the gratitude to you my friends.