Here's my situation: I have to work this weekend, which requires talking to lots of people, but also I have this ruptured eardrum that makes my head just ring like a tuning fork all day and it feels like the entire right side of my brain is stuffed with cotton. Talking to people feels like sticking a fire hose on one ear and sewing the other shut. IT SUCKS MY D, bro. But if I didn't have those things? If I WASN'T crushed by the existential dread of the current social and political climate? And I guess also just the climate climate? Then here's what I'd do:
FRIDAY JANUARY 27
This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Johnny Cremains is playing at the goddam bowling alley. At the bowling alley! Is there no better time to reenact some darker, more morbid, possibly-probably-with-way-more-murder version of Grease II than at this show? If I had had more notice, I would have hosted a Murder Mystery party at this thing. No I am not joking. I’m too fucking winter fat right now to pour my ham hocks into most of my throwbacky shit, and I guess I’d have to wear it all with bean boots anyway what the fuck, but hey, still - they had to have had winter gear in the 50’s, I’ll make something work. Get my Rosie the Riveter bandana on and go for it. Mkay. So Starcrossed Losers opens, putting two of Portland’s best-named bands in one room at the same time.
Your older brother’s favorite band Umphrey’s McGee is in town tonight at the State Theatre. UM is one of those bands where someone will be talking to me about music and misjudge my tastes (cuz I can be a little jammy, u know I luv dat Grateful Dead and some o dat Phishy) and be like, “but Umphrey’s tho, AMIRITE?” and I’ll be like, “hey boss, not my thing, but I like where your head is at.” What I mean is that only a tool would dispute Umphrey’s talent and long-cultivated skill, and I generally like Umphrey’s fans for their interest in not just jam band music, but metal, classic rock, deep prog and whatever the fuck else. You’ll find among them Mike Patton and Maynard fans, and people who know every Led Zeppelin, Yes and Genesis album from back to front, and I salute that. So when I have to walk in the street and almost get hit by a car when I’m trying to avoid the crunk af crowd in front of the State tomorrow night, I will not mutter under my breath that everyone needs to crawl back into whatever bait shop they ambled out of (h/t Playing House), but instead walk with my head held high, thinking to myself, “This is fine. Everything is fine.”
John Brown’s Body, though, is also in town tonight at PCMH. JBB is fucking GREAT. They’re so good. If you like classic 70’s reggae and dub, you can’t do better for contemporary reggae bands than JBB. Portlandiers Raging Brass Reggae open.
Drum and Bass and electronic enthusiasts Taproot Productions have been going full tilt lately, tonight with this show that doesn’t make any sense to me because I have drained all of my youthful life force like so many melted ice cubes from the cooler after a long weekend of camping, and also psychedelic drugs just stress me out now because life is hard and terrible and I can’t deal with watching my friends’ faces fall into little pieces that then speak to me individually about how they perceive me. NOT THAT I’VE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE AT A TREY ANASTASIO SHOW AT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM IN MAYBE 2001 SORRY KEVIN AND ALISA I LOVE YOU.
Also tonight? Emo Night Live! It’s a continuation of Emo Night but for some reason they stopped numbering them. It’s at PHOME, they will play yer emos and yer pop punks and yer post-punks, this time around with a full set of Alkaline Trio, which I’ve always thought was one of the best band names in all of rock and roll. I know, stop it with the band names. I can’t tho!
Other shit, other shit: heavy rock bands Dark Rain and Revision are at Mathew’s. Plague is happening at Asylum (which will apparently be reopening as Aura? Oh boy. That name is… something). Top Brahmen are at Salty Sally’s, Long Gone Wanderers are at Salvage, Blue has Jason Ager, Bob Warren and Sassquatch, Dogfish has The Waiters and Hot Trash: Portland! Hall of Famer and Happy Hour Delight Travis James Humphrey! So dependable, that guy.
SATURDAY JANUARY 28
This week’s edition of the day drinking extravaganza at the Thirsty Pig known as Prime the Pump has Scott Girourd, Andrew Pelczar and one of my favies and noted wearer of purple, Dean Ford!
One of my fb friends was just saying that they’d like more daytime live music. Here’s something, it’s a tea dance called Flannel, and it’s from 4-8pm at Flask.
Jesus H. “Classy on Occassion” sounds like the slogan that the woman who complained to your manager during your last double shift that you were being rude because you didn’t put enough whipped cream on her quart-sized diabetes trough uses with her girlfriends when they ‘get crazy’ and drink wine all day and get their toenails done. “Hahahahaha, Brenda you know me so well, you know I’m only classy on occassion!”
Anyway Classy on Occassion is at Live at 212 tonight with The Early Mornings and The Resistance and I guess maybe a couple of other bands judging by this fb invite, ONE OF MANY you may enjoy if you are interested in going to this show.
WITH THE MULTIPLE FUCKING FACEBOOK INVITES FOR THE SAME SHOW.
It can’t be that hard to coordinate. We do it constantly for dozens of cities all over the US. Just the tiniest fucking bit of effort.
Not a trick question: what is going on with Geno’s? Are they… do they still like music and shit? I feel like for the past few months it’s been like, wrestling and burlesque and the occasional show, some of which just get canceled last minute. I am concerned for you, Geno’s, because we can’t lose you too. Please don’t let The Man win on this one. Get back in the game and be the venue we need you to be.
Maybe this is a return to form: come and screen The Thing, one of the greatest horror movies of all time, then see sets from aggro bands Feral, Haxen, Stillborn Condition and Glistener.
Another unique thing is SPACE’s variety show A Cold Cold Night II, which has a roster of artists including burlesque performers, musicians, artists and even an appearance by City Councilman and local hero Pious Ali. The last one was fun, I recommend this as long as you steer clear of SPACE’s depressing bar.
Flask has a DJ night and fundraiser; PCMH has Dead Sessions, which I guess is another dead cover band from Vermont, there’s a hardcore show at Hella Good Tacos, singer/songbird Hannah Daman is at Dogfish, Blue has jazz at the blue featuring the Soggy Po Boys, who are I think from New Hampshire and bring out a fun crowd of dancers, and Salvage has King Day’s New Imperials.
Portland stalwart Megan Jo Wilson is releasing her new album Tin at PHOME tonight, and I’ve heard this record, and it’s a perfectly serviceable contemporary jazz record of which her vocals are the best part, but I think that where she truly shines is live on stage, so I definitely recommend this show. She has a bunch of guests coming to play, and in a small room like that it’s going to be quite moving to hear her sing. Good shit.
Lastly… this? It looks kinda like a punk show but it seems like these bands aren’t really punk. This is one of those show descriptions that just makes my blood boil because I’m sure it’s hilarious to insiders, and means nothing to me:
Join Empire for a hot show of gritty, sassy, feely, schmaltzy rock and queue up for the Tiger Beat photo op. $7 adv., $10 door | 21+
I mean at least they tell you how much it costs?
SUNDAY JANUARY 29
For your Sunday, I suggest you go to the new Bunker Brewery for tacos and beats by Mosart212. Buy me a taco and I’ll spin you a yarn about my ruptured eardrum or the perils of the post office parking lot.
There is also, though, this community choir event that looks incredible. I love to sing, despite not being very good at it.
Or, if you have wee ones? This science and music thing at Merrill Auditorium looks like a real hoot.