I don’t know what came over me. Actually, I know what came over me. Insecurity, that’s what. A lack of sense of self. For a minute there, I lost myself.
Being new to a town is an overwhelming thing, an overwhelming thing I have done many times now. I’ve moved to entirely new places over and over again, and - I might have mentioned this before - I am not leaving Portland. I’m going to die an old, crotchety woman here if I have my way. I’m rooting here. No, not rooting like a truffle pig, you idiots, though it is fun to say that phrase isn’t it? Truffle pig. Truffle pig. Rather, rooting like I’m throwing down some roots. Getting settled for once.
So when I started to do this dumb fucking writing thing, I felt like I was on the sidelines. An observer to something of which I’ll never be a part, a community that is strong and connected and that, frankly, has enough friends already, thankyouverymuch, we’re good, we’ll be over here communitying and backyard bonfiring and dating and HAHAHAAHAHAHAHA LAUGHING and enjoying and you can just… you know, do whatever it is you do.
I’ve always had a little bit of the FOMO, I guess. You know, Fear of Missing Out. I always assume that some super cool shit is going down without me. It’s one of my biggest flaws. And this town is like the biggest onion you ever did see, and y’all have been so friendly and helpful. When I started to have enough knowledge about what was going on here to start peeling back layers and seeing more and more of the reality of local music events here in town, I lost my way. I figured I had to include everything, otherwise I wouldn’t have any street cred. How could anyone take me seriously if I didn’t know about EVERY little event, write about every single performance going on on any given weekend? I just really wanted you guys to like me. I didn’t want to go down like that Portland Point guy did and leave a legacy of being an asshole on the Internet so I went for inclusive over quality.
I think that attitude hurt my writing. This became less fun and I had to rush through everything because there was SO MUCH going on. But I felt like if I didn’t do that then it would seem like I was just not very informed and therefore, shouldn’t be even doing any of this. And the bits that I did write became less special because it was that whole no child left behind thing, like, YOU get a writeup and YOU get a writeup, and YOU get a writeup, Oprah style. But that’s fucking stupid, I’m so fucking stupid sometimes. Ugh, do you ever feel like that, like you’re just so fucking stupid? I hate it.
So I took the week off and thunk. Er, thought. I did some thinking, man, is what I’m telling you.
Anyway, look. I’m going to say this once and then get on with my life: Portland is the Sunnydale of music. Have you not watched Buffy? Are you a fucking robot, what even is wrong with you? Fine, I’ll explain it - in the Buffyverse, the titular character is a magical vampire slayer who lives in Sunnydale CA, a fictional town whose high school is built on top of a hellmouth, which is effectively a gateway for supernatural energy. That makes Sunnydale a hotbed of vampiric and demonic activity, because said activity originates from the hellmouth. Ya dig? I’m saying that Portland is a fucking hotbed of musical talent, dum dum. We know this. But Buffy couldn’t kill every vampire in one weekend, and I can’t keep taking an all or nothing approach to writing about music here because I’m not good at it, and you deserve better.
So to that end, I return to my original curatorial voice, we’ll talk about what I would do on a weekend, and then I’ll list what other stuff I know about. But I’m not going hunting for shit anymore. I’m fucking busy, I manage a band, I write for another magazine, I make visual art and I have a full time job. So if it comes to me or I run across it and find it to be compelling it will live here (THANK YOU, by the way, to all the folks who have helped me track stuff down, or have sent me shit). But I just won’t go rooting around for events like a musical truffle pig anymore. There, I said it. Plus I managed to use a truffle pig analogy twice in one writing because I’m a fucking baller who does everything right all the time.
Here’s your fucking weekend, assholes:
Friday September 11
I’m pretty psyched for my Friday night, because it’s going to be dope. You’ve probably not heard of the Hadacol Bouncers. It’s a band helmed by this bananas good piano player named Tom Whitehead and they play Chicago/New Orleans style jazz and swing. You can dance to it, I dance to it and a bunch of other people do too. Those people are the Portland Swing Project, and they have set up The Hadacol Bouncers to play at Congress Square Park on Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00. They have a little portable dance floor and you can swing dance or any dance to it and it’s fun as fucking shit but you can also just listen because Tom and his collaborators are old pros who play so good. So good. This is a free thing. Stop for two minutes as you’re walking by, if nothing else.
After that you can do one of two things, you can either get crazy baked and go to Salvage BBQ to stuff your big high-af maw full of meatstuffs and sauces and picklebacks and chat with Logan at the bar who is the best and listen to the classic rock covers of Keanu Keanu who get a pass on my act of terrorism rule for cover bands because they don’t try to sell out a venue based on covers, they are just entertaining the eaters of meatthings, so in that realm it’s A-OK. OR you can go see Joel Thetford play some real country music at Blue. I guess it depends on how classy you are (Blue is classier, that’s real) and it probably also depends on how much you enjoy the meats. I get the same fucking thing every time I eat at Salvage, a brisket sandwich and one of those blueberry vodka thingies they make. I dump a shitload of barbecue and super smokin’ nova sauce on the thing, cut it in half, look around to make sure nobody is watching and then destroy it like the cookie monster of brisket sandwiches. I destroy it with my mouth. It is a violent and stupefying thing. It’s fucking gnarly. But I do it. Every time.
OK so it should be like, what, 9:30 or some shit now, so what’s next? Waste half an hour doing whatever dumb shit you do, jerk off in your car, drunkenly call all your exes, spoon a stranger on a concrete stoop, whatever. Maybe you go see Worried Well open for someone from NYC at Empire for half an hour, I don’t now. But then at around 10, go to Geno’s for a fucking killer show. Johnny Cremains is back, y’all, and they are bringing Confusatron with them. I don’t know shit about Confusatron, but Doug Porter is in it and he’s basically like the bacon of Portland bands, like, if you see that Doug is in the band, you can safely assume that it will be at least a solid baseline of good even if it’s not your favorite thing, much like how if you see some bacon on something that is edible, you can safely assume that it will be a solid baseline of delicious, if only because it tastes like fat and salt, even if it’s on something that you normally don’t like, like a FUCKING GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH god damn it I fucking hate those. God I hate them so much, fuck off with your dry ass grilled chicken breast, I hate America sometimes.. Whatever. Anyway, Johnny Cremains put a new album out, it’s called Hollywoodland and this is their album release show. I’ve written about this album before, I haven’t heard all of it, but here’s the thing about Johnny Cremains, they kind of invented their own genre and that basically NEVER happens anymore. It’s like, throwbacky, croonery, Mel Torme shit mixed with doom rock and heavy metal and like, a weird David Lynchian vibe, like this sort of creepy undercurrent of subtle noise and it’s jazzy at times and sludgy at others, and it’s badass you guys, so go to this. During set breaks, walk across the street to Blue and go see the lead singer of my band, Will Bradford of SeepeopleS, doing a solo set. He’s great at solo shows, you’ll like it, he’s there from 10pm to midnight.
Other shit on Friday: Dogfish has Viva and the Reinforcements, Plague has DJ DeHuman8’s retirement party, Lovers of Fiction are at Bayside Bowl, Flask has Foundation Friday with Mr. Dereloid, RiRa has a cover band because they’re fucking terrorists and must be stopped.
Saturday, September 12
Look, all y’all that have lived here for a while, I get the whole I’m sick of this or that thing, musically. You can get burnt out really easily, but I really don’t want to hear that argument when I tell you that you should go see Spencer Albee and Dave Gutter at PHOME on Saturday night. They never play out here, how can you be sick of them? You know who Portland should be sick of? Travis James Humphrey or whatever, the ever-present singer songwriter guy who plays like three times a week every week at Grittys and all those other Old Port bars. He’s around too much. Get sick of him. But don’t shun Armies and Spencer just because they’ve had some success or because one of them was mean to your best friend 10 years ago or whatever, that’s not being supportive of your own scene. That’s the thing about art communities, everyone is supportive and helpful to a point. And then if someone experiences some success or reaches a cool goal, all of a sudden they’re assholes because everyone else is jealous or pissed that the band who got some success won’t “help” them. It’s so dumb. Anyway, all I’m saying is put aside whatever resentments y’all have for these two and go see them because they’re fucking good, particularly if you like pop music.
But if you do like pop music, there’s another pop game in town tonight too. How about Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems w/ One Shot Nothing and WATTS at Empire? Yeah? Ok yeah.
Other shit on Friday is Jazz at the Blue, Hawt & Fresh at Flask lounge, and King Memphis at Salvage.
Sunday, September 13th
There’s some dope shit on Sunday too, you guys. Go see El Grande at the Bayside Block Party BBQ from 5-8pm, fun right? Then there’s also a lovely tribute to Mama’s Crowbar happening later at Geno’s. Another beloved local establishment that couldn’t keep the lease due to rising rents. Sad. A gent named Ian Stuart put together a farewell show for them at Geno’s with bands and comedians. Here’s the lineup: