Hello my friends how was your week? Oh, me? Thanks for asking! Well, mine was:
Thank goodness I am gainfully employed again because there is so much good crap this weekend, plus also I have cause to celebrate? You know, celebrate having a job in Our America where they are so few and far between? Look, my oldest friend who still talks to me (I don’t have a tattoo about burning bridges for nothing, people) is an on-air host at a public radio station in NYC, and she has a new evening shift so I’ve been tuning in to support and just listen for funsies and gchat her the lyrics to New Jack Swing songs because they are awesome. Anyway, so the other day when I was listening she played (under duress, the on air staff at most radio stations don’t get to choose their playlists) this new Michael Franti song, which, MY GOD, Franti, we lost you somewhere, huh. This song is apparently about how everyone needs a hug at least once a day or some shit and at one point he just says, “Peace in the Middle East, y’all.”
HAHAHAHAHA THAT WAS IRONIC RIGHT MICHAEL?
Oh wait you were being serious? What is wrong with you? You know that we, as consumers, INCLUDING YOU, are responsible for the wars in the Middle East, right? Oil, babe. It’s oil. Hugs, they won't make any difference. Are you… do you read? Our out of control consumerism is a major driver in everything going on in the Middle East and it has been for decades. There will never be peace in the Middle East as long as our current economic conditions are in place. You and me, Michael, we are the reason for war, and we always have been, along with every other person who has ever ridden in a car, used something made of plastic, or lived in a house with PVC siding. We will not, in fact, "all rise up." We haven't yet, in all these years! You cannot solve the beast of the Middle East with lame palliatives and hugs. You had the opportunity to stay relevant and say something about, I don’t know, maybe some of the shit right in your backyard, like the war that white people are waging on black people, the war that white men are waging on pretty much all women, our cute mass shooting problems, our dwindling and increasingly polluted water supply, our failing education system or maybe even rapidly increasing income inequality and in this cynical climate, in this hugely complex system, your message is hugs and just flippantly saying “Peace in the Middle East, y’all?” What, exactly do you think that’s going to do? Look, go do some yoga or some shit and get off my lawn, we’re done here.
Friday, August 28th
Blue, you’re always good for a Manhattan that will take care of all of your drinking needs for the night, as well as something light, a little amuse bouche, if you will, for the weekend. Hey, someone name your all girl punk band Amuse Douche. That one's yours, for free. This Friday they’ve got the Worrisome Hearts, some dude named Joel Thetford from Texas and Clara Junken. Thematically, we’re in singer-songwriter acoustic country territory. Cool.
Space is also doing an early thing (6-8 pm) in Congress Square Park with a Brooklyn collective called Cuddle Magic who I won’t write about because they’re not from Portland, but I feel like this event serves the local music community in that it is both free and interesting and probably won’t overlap with your show, if you’re playing one. So you can throw back your two Redbulls and pre-show sandwich in the park tonight instead of in your car. Car sandwich is the greatest sandwich. The flavor of sandwich really improves inside the four walls of the sweet, sweet sanctuary of your car.
So besides my tattoo about burning bridges, I also have the knobs from Nigel Tufnel’s amp tattooed on my arm.
Spinal Tap is one of my favorite movies of all time, I could watch it any day at any time and I always find something new in it. Youths of rock and roll, if you haven’t watched this movie, please get on that ASAP if for no other reason than to get a real-as-fuck look at the many humiliations of being in the music industry and the many cautionary tales of how hazardous it is to be a drummer. Anyway, as you may know, Nigel’s amp goes to eleven, it’s one louder, isn’t it? So I feel compelled to go, and to take my tattooed arm with me, to PHOME for THESE GO TO ELEVEN: Covered In Bees!, Pigboat, & Rigor Samsa. Rigor Samsa, the new-er-ish of the three bands on this bill, self-identifies as clusterfuck rock. Ok, that is a great genre name, my hats go off to you, Men of Rigor Samsa. BUT WHAT IS THE MUSIC LIKE?
I appreciate the idea of clusterfuck rock, but I think what these guys are doing is a lot more straightforward than that, you know, rock with eclectic and varied influences; but it’s not atonal and chaotic enough for me to feel like it’s a clusterfuck. I hear a lot of Jeff Buckley’s Grace album in this, and I totally get it guys, we ALL listened to that album a shitload of times. Love that. Plus I always like it when the singer in a band can actually sing. I feel like that is rarer than it should be. I don’t know who in the band is singing, which Rigor or what Samsa offers the vocals, because I am a lazy journalist, but he’s got a great sort of Jack White-y, James Mercer-ish thing going on that is quite pleasing. Oddly, soundcloud cued up a like, Hawaiian? Yogi? song called “Namaste” after playing through Rigor Samsa’s stuff. The soundcloud bot said that it was a related track. This is not accurate information. NEVER TRUST THE INTERNET IT WILL BETRAY YOU AT EVERY TURN.
Points awarded at this show if someone’s guitar has still got the old tagger on it. Don’t touch it, don’t even look at it, it can’t ever be played.
I can’t tell if anything is going on at Bunker Brewing, they don’t update their web site (the last update is for an event in July) and nobody seems to have created any recent events for them on FB for this weekend, so I’m going to assume that the season is over for them? Someone email me if I’m wrong and I’ll fix this part. Bunker was going pretty strong with an event every weekend night for weeks now so it seems weird that it all just ended abruptly. Holla at me, humans responsible for Bunker or for shows happening Friday at Bunker.
Flask has TRVP Night, tonight’s installment of which is called Wet Hot American Gold. Great name. No description as to what that means. I guess I’m supposed to know, if I’m like, in the scene? That means something to some of you, right. Someone from this scene email me, I need a primer on what the lingo is these days. #outoftouch
Yeah and so also on Friday night, Five of the Eyes and Zack Jones are playing at Empire. I guess Zack Jones doesn’t live here anymore, so let’s focus on Five of the Eyes, who, INCIDENTALLY, are playing a Halloween show with my band SeepeopleS and more on that as it becomes available, but it’s a theme party and it is going to be spooky and evil and involve secret societies and black robes and passwords, look, you’ll want to be there, ok? But you’ll also want to be at Empire this Friday because you’ll like Five of the Eyes, it’s fine, just trust me. These guys were pitched to me as a metal band by a friend of the band who I work with who doesn’t listen to metal, but they are not a metal band, I’d say they’re more of a prog rock band. You know, there are like, the obligatory comparisons to Geddy Lee’s voice here and the structure of a prog rock song lives here, but it’s millenial prog rock. The heaviness and bloat of dad prog rock isn’t here, it’s tighter, lighter and more nimble and doesn’t tend to veer into the Pink Floyd-y territory that, say, Stephen Wilson does. Closer to Battles or Mercury Rev than Yes or Rush. Anyway, it’s good shit, go see it, dummy. God, it feels so good to call you that. it’s like stretching a long-unused muscle.
Keanu Keanu is at Salvage BBQ tonight. I had the opportunity to see Keanu Keanu at a lovely house party at which there was a murky pool filled with tadpoles which the children loved and I did too. The band is a collective of a number of local, highly accomplished musicians who play an eclectic mix of classic rock covers. It is SO PLEASANT and also kind of weird, like, one of their picks was “Too Late for Goodbyes” by Julian Lennon, which is a song we all know and never think about. Anyway, Keanu Keanu is fun this way, so if you’re in the mood for a super good brisket sandwich and music and a slew of local rock stars serving you food and drinks, you’ll want to get down to Salvage tonight.
KK, other shit, other shit. Asylum has Plague the goth night downstairs; Arabica Coffee is hosting a 20th Anniversary Party at which their baristas will play some music (that’s all they say about it); and uh, that’s it? Geno’s probably has something but there are no FB events for whatever they have, so it’s a mystery! Like figuring out where your underwear is at 7am on Sunday morning!
Saturday, August 29th
I love this, the Bug Light festival starts at 10am tomorrow, and at 1pm, they have: Band. Which would be the most meta band name ever, they don’t even have the “the” in the name, but I suspect we’re not that lucky and it’s some other band. Is it your band? Let us know!!
Speaking of, everyone really dropped the ball promoting their shit this weekend. You guys really made me work for it. And then I will go to your show AND I WILL PAY AT THE DOOR TO GO IN. I get bitten on both ends! And yet I persevere. Who loves you, is what I’m saying?
Me. I love you.
OK, I found what’s happening at Bunker on Saturday, it’s the LAST of the Bunker parties for the summer, so if you haven’t gotten to one and want to, or if you love these parties and will miss them terribly until next summer, you should get out there tonight. It’s Contrapposto, Herbcraft, Jaw Gems, Tranx and O$KR. It says there’s an afterparty with DJ Hi-Duke, but what does that mean? Does that mean that… uh, DJ Hi-Duke will just spin after everyone is done playing? So he’s just like the late night part of the lineup? You’re so obscure, hip bands of Portland. So this show is Herbcraft’s Wot Oz album release. I was going to post a link to stream a song, but they only have one track available to stream on their merch page and none to stream on the album page. BALLSY. I mean at this point is it not enough to just get the music out there? They ARE on Spotify, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at their bandcamp or fb pages, so I don’t get what we’re doing here Herbcraft, I really like your music but making me run around searching it down on a day like today when nobody in town saw fit to promote their shows online at all is frustrating and now I’m done writing about you, I don’t feel like going on a scavenger hunt today. We’ll try again next time.
Oh my god I am getting so lazy now. This is what happens when I have to spend my whole morning visiting every web site and FB page to try to mine for events. I ask thee, again, artists, can you email me your stuff? You know what’s funny about that is that like, a bunch of artists I’ve asked to email me events are like, “oh man, I’m bad at emailing and stuff, so that’s going to be tough…”
uh… seriously? OK, guy!
Others (you know who you are) have been more forthcoming though, and I thank you heartiy.
A couple of good samaritans also checked in to let me know what’s happening at Geno’s, which is this:
Cool poster. Good bands. I’ll go.
Mayo Street Arts has Snaex with Micah Blue Smaldone.
Pardon Me, Doug is a Portland-based tribute to Phish. You know my feelings on tribute and/or cover bands on a Saturday night up against local shows - it’s act of terrorism against your local music scene. Make no bones about it, I love Phish. I have been to more than my fair share of phish shows and pretty much know all the lyrics to a very significant percentage of their songs, I am not a hater. However, a Phish tribute band is just… ugh, I mean it’s like, making me sad and tired just thinking about it. Why? Phish tour prolifically. Why do we need a Phish tribute band? But you and I both know that PMD will probably sell out PHOME tonight and the venue and the band will make a bunch of money because it is easy to sell what has already been sold. I get it, I get it. But if you had plans to go to this, I would urge you to at least check out some of the other local stuff that is going on this weekend and ALSO go to that. You don’t have to cut PMD out to allow something else in.
Flask has Sub/Merge Queer Dance Party For All. Have you not gone to this yet? Go, it’s fun. Good dance music.
Bayside Bowl has The Box Tiger, Off & On and Hey Anna at 8:30 but there’s no info about the show on their web site and I can't find anything on FB, so you know what, if they don’t care I don’t care either.
Blue has it’s usual Jazz at the Blue tonight.
Tall Horse and Clara Junken open for CT band Elison Jackson at Empire.
Salvage has Eric Bettencourt (have I made the “any relation to Nuno” joke yet here? I probably have).
Let’s just skip to Sunday, it will cheer me up.
Sunday, August 30th
Oh look, a Mathews deck party! I can’t imagine that these deck parties will go too much further into the fall, so strike while the iron is hot, I tell ya. Look, Sundays are rough, I get it. You have to go to work the next day, you feel like crap because you didn’t take it easy and relax all weekend like you said you were going to, I mean there’s a million reasons not to go to this show. You know what ISN’T one of those reasons? Money and quality. Because this show is cheap and good.
So anyway this Sunday at Mathews it’s Shinin' Sunday Rock N Roll Deck Party featuring: Doomstone, Johnny Cremains, Vista Cruisers, Jimmy Jacked and The Aquanauts! Johnny Cremains hasn’t played in quite a few months now and it’s time to hear them again, we’re all due for a swift cremainsy kick in the pants. Plus I like how this line up starts with beach rock and gets harder and gloomier as the night goes on. Anyway so Johnny Cremains, they have a new album coming out called Hollywoodland whose narrative is based on - I think (anyone in Cremains is welcome to correct me) - ‘failed’ actress Peg Entwistle’s life and subsequent suicide by jumping off of the H in the Hollywood sign in the LA hills when she was 24. What a fascinating subject for an album. I really appreciate these guys using a little spooky micro story like this and creating something new around it, that’s a unique creative process and from what we can tell, the results are creepy, throwbacky and compelling as hell:
Make note also that Johnny Cremains has an album release party for Hollywoodland on September 11th with Confusatron. We’ll talk more about that later.