A certain person that I know who is attempting to help me grow up and learn human communication skills so that I may one day escape the sludge-filled hell hole of my own existence said it best: some weekends, trying to consume live music in Portland is like drinking from a fire hose. Last weekend was one of those weekends. This weekend will be the same, and I’m not even attempting to cover the touring and national shit that’s coming through.
This is how much I love you guys, how dedicated I am to ensuring your weekend is full of the greatest of ear-stuffings: I have a spreadsheet - constantly updated - of live music venues in and near Portland. Every damn week, I go to their stupid web sites and bookface pages to figure out what the fuck is going on there, attempt to determine if it’s local since I’m a knownothing n00b and then write about it for you, you sick bastards. This process, though I’m SURE IT SOUNDS THRILLING AS I DESCRIBE IT, is fucking tedious and not without a large amount of frustrations, like bands that have no web site or facebook page, or venues whose last web site update was in 2013, or a band whose web site is fine but has no information on who the fuck they are… I mean it’s like you don’t even want me to find you and talk about you. Could I get some consistent information? If you won’t email me your events (and please, bands, artists, for the love, please start emailing me your events, this is why I have a contact page - or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whatever, just make it happen), then at least help me find you once I’ve determined that, yes, an event is happening, and also it is noteworthy enough to appear in this dumb as fuck blog.
I literally have to keep "Love's Theme" on repeat so that I don't lose it. It has the calming properties of a sweet sweet emotional salve. Or I can go visit the calming manatees.
But you know what the most frustrating thing of all is? Finding out something rad happened, after the fact. That…. DAAAMMMMM IT, I mean it just makes me CRAZY when this happens. And it happens constantly. So could I get a heads up?
OK. I just had to say that.
So this weekend, what are you doing? Some weekends it works out that I can prescribe for you a path through the dark, winding streets of Portland that takes you to all the right spots at all the right times, but there’s just too much going on this weekend, so you’ll have to figure it out for yourself where you’ll be. But - thank GOD - I will provide for you my Very Important Opinion, so at least I’m not abandoning you fully this weekend. Anyway, shut the fuck up and let’s go already:
Friday, August 7th
Blue has Okbari and the Evan King group. Okbari is three locals, Amos Libby, Eric La Perna and Duncan Ross Hardy, and they play Middle Eastern traditional and folk music, strings and drums. Not sure if you want to see that on a Friday night? Go listen to their recordings on their web site, they're mysterious and beautiful. After Okbari is The Evan King Group, who have a standing gig at Blue every second Friday, which leads me to believe that this is the kind of soul/jazz group that does a lot of covers and plays weddings, and sometimes that’s really ideal for a Friday night when you just want to phone it in. Over 40? Going on a date but you don’t yet know what this person’s musical tastes are? A show like this will be very crystallizing - s/he will either ignore it, hate it or love it. If s/he ignores it then maybe hate fuck them and dump them because you don’t need that kind of “meh” in your life. Hate or love are ok though. WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT PASSION!!!
All week long, the sweet and innocently-titled “Our Debut Show!” event kept coming around into my fb feed. Apparently a band called The Keeper Class somehow skirted the unwritten rules of eating shit as a new band and skipped all of the craphole pay to play dive bars and friends’ house parties to have their first show at Empire, which is a great room and they are very lucky. Once again, anyone who isn’t friends with The Keeper Class will know absolutely nothing about them because in lieu of a band bio of any kind, or even listing the last names of the people in their band, they have a link to their instagram. Whatever. Go see them if you wish, but don’t bug me with it until you're ready for outsiders, I'm not your mom. Call me, The Keeper Class, when you have a bio and have enough shows under your belt to have worked out the kinks - or, OR! Another possibility: are you made up of a bunch of seasoned musicians from other bands and that’s why you jumped right to Empire? Well, friggin' tell me about that, then, how am I supposed to figure all this out? I'm new. Locals Battery Steele are also on this bill and are loud and gut punching and have played enough shows to know what they’re doing, so go enjoy them.
Flask Lounge has their monthly “LOVE” night tonight, which is deep house and techno. Not my thing, but if you’ve been wondering what the fuck to do with all that extra molly you have tucked away for a rainy day, then maybe use it there, tonight. Stay hydrated and bring a friend.
Alright, and then you know how when like, you go to someone’s house for dinner and they give you, say, a bunch of fried chicken (delicious!) plus some sides, and you’ve got, maybe, corn, baked beans and coleslaw on that plate of yours there and you’re like, you know, I mean, I like corn, baked beans and coleslaw OK and everything, but like, really I’m just here for the chicken? So you eat the sides to be polite and they’re good, but you’re just really fucking enjoying that chicken because that fried chicken is the star of the show?
Anyway, Geno's has the fried chicken show of the night with Covered in Bees, Vinyl Cape and Seasonal Disorders. Even if you don’t like heavy metal or punk, which is dumb because there is so much good metal and punk in Portland, but you’ve proven yourself a silly panty chin here so many times I can’t even keep up anymore, so I give up, frankly. ANYWAY, even if you don’t like metal, Covered in Bees are a joyous romp of a hilarious good time. Lead singer Kevin “Boo” Leavitt is just a hoot. I mean a real hoot, singing often funny lyrics, backed by the musicianship of a Deadly Serious Metal Band, which is just another subtle level of situational irony at play here that, if you’re paying attention, can help you appreciate their music even more. Vinyl Cape is also on the bill, and they self-label as "Gothic Outlaw Doom Rap," and I’m 85% sure that at least one of their band members was the referee at last week’s producer’s beat battle at Space, so that should be awesome and fascinating in its own way as well. I love a crossover hit! Crossing the streams doesn't always cause total protonic reversal. Plus, their most recent album was reviewed favorably by the Bollard, who hated my band’s record and totally trashed it, so maybe that means I’ll hate Vinyl Cape? I’m not even sure I understand the logic I’m employing here.
Last on the bill is Seasonal Disorders, about whom I know not much, and they simply self-describe as “punk.” So simple and clean, like the Swedish Mafia (they're new). Anyway, after reading about this bill I’m sure you pretty much have to go to this show, so I’ll see you there, buy me a drink, I’ll take the cheapest thing on the menu, I’m no princess.
Oh and also I almost forgot: El Grande and The Outsiders Punkabilly Rebels are at PHOME on Friday night opening for Darkbuster from Boston. Tired yet?
Also on the docket for Friday is Cajun Aces at Salvage BBQ which is always delicious and I just LOVE that they consistently pair their awesome food with local music. I think that’s rad. And then Native Isles at Slab, both free shows meant for cramming foodstuffs into your abdomen while also cramming soundstuffs into your brainhole. Probably both also good date spots? I mean who goes on dates anymore? Is there even Tinder in Portland? Asking for a friend.
Saturday, August 8th
Ok let’s get this out of the way, what is the deal with Spose? I hear so much about him. Is he great? Is he Portland’s next breakout star like everyone expects him to be? I’ve seen one video. Someone enlighten me. Anyway, he’s opening for Chris Webby on Saturday night at Asylum.
Sly Chi is having its 15th anniversary party tonight at PHOME. Sly Chi are Portland Royalty, a 7 piece soul and funk band that has been around the way for a bit, and whose press photo looks like casual Friday at Dunder Mifflin. That said, I’ve seen this band like a kajillion times over the years when we’d cross paths with them on tour a bunch, and it was always fun, and you have to give these guys their propers for sticking it out for 15 years. So this may be on the docket for me, if only to be like, “oh I remember this tune, bitchin!” a bunch of times during the night and also see a band member bust through their sensible button down when rocking out too hard. Stretchy fabrics only on stage, kids. You don't want your diaphragm to Alien your shirt unexpectedly.
Next up, Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards are at Bayside Bowl, and I’d love to go to this show, can someone go with me? I mean I really need to start making some friends here. I AM NOT ASHAMED AND I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING. I'll use this blog to troll for buddies. Anyway, I feel like it would be weird for me to just sort of slink into Bayside Bowl by myself and skulk in the corner watching this show, but DS&TSB’s Rock EP is really good. Really, really good. I hate to use this phrase, but I’m going to: it’s kind of… classic indie rock? Yes. Built to Spill meets The Shins. Listen to it and then throw me a bone and hang out with me at this show. Come on, let’s go!
Ok what else, what else, Coke Weed is opening for someone out of town at Empire, King Memphis is at Salvage, and GREEF is at Space Gallery on a really interesting bill that will have the fixie bikers and mustache waxers out in droves, no doubt: He opens for Pile, Nat Baldwin from the Dirty Projectors and Footings.
Lastly, Big Meat Hammer is at Geno’s opening for The Pests and Caged Heat. I don’t have time right now because I over-committed to doing some writings, some posterings and some bandings, but I cannot wait to slog through the tribute to angelfire pages of the 90’s that is Big Meat Hammer’s web site. It’s amazing and I’m jealous of it and I hope it doesn’t get updated before I can gaze at it lovingly for hours.
Sunday, August 9th
You must be exhausted! Well, go relax at the bgood Block Party and drown your sorrows in local beer and local music. And local food, hopefully. I'd hate to think we're shipping sandwiches in from overseas now.