Though it’s rare for Portland to have a weirdo avant-garde European composer like Rhys Chatham come through on tour, it’s usually SPACE Gallery who will bring in an artist like this; though it’s kind of small time for the guy - he’s more often featured in a symphony hall like Lincoln Center or strange places like a series of underground labyrinths in Beirut. Go to his web site and lose a few hours. Go to his Soundcloud and lose a couple more. He’s a classical composer who got a taste of punk rock in the 70’s and then started making ostensibly “classical” but notably bizarro compositions for electric guitar and electrified brass instruments in the 80’s, and if you do any kind of search for him you can see him being called “influential” on the new wave movement, but it might make sense to take that further. After listening to a few pieces of his music, it feels like he even influenced people like Trey Anastasio and little weird bands like Morphine and everything that has any kind of “drone” element - from the Velvet Underground to Low. It would be impossible to say without an interview stating as much, but the feeling is there. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event for us Portlanders, and I might recommend this show if you’re feeling burnt out on what you’ve been listening to, or if you want some inspiration for your own music. Let’s get weird tonight. Then, after the show is over (I’ve got it on good authority it will wrap by 10:45, so be on time), let’s all go to Anderson Street or Geno’s and see some bands that were inevitably and probably indirectly influenced by Rhys Chatham.
Rhys Chatham plays for $20 at 8:30pm tonight at SPACE. Go get some.