Posts from — December 2009
Just when you were completely burned out on “top ____” lists of the year and the decade we bring you one more. Earlier in the week co-writer Double Down dropped his favorite shows of 2009 so it was only fitting for me to sit down and take stock of the year that was in Portland Music. There were so many fantastic shows that I ended up putting together a top 10 followed by a list of candidates that deserve an honorable mention.
So after careful consideration here are my top 10 Portland Performances for 2009:
1. June 23rd - David Byrne @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
This years top pick was truly a no-brainer as I left the show wondering if I would see anything BETTER for the remainder of the year. Ultimately it could not be topped. David Byrne brought a production of performance art that mesmerized the crowd at the Schnitz. Mixing classic Talking Heads songs with new solo material, dancers, and a marching band, this show really had it all and was as much a celebration of life and art as it was a concert.
2. March 11th – Dan Aurebach @ Wonder Ballroom
Not knowing what to expect when we walked into the Wonder on this chilly March night, wer were blown away by a blistering set of power blues-rock by Dan Aurebach and his band on their first national tour. Dare I say I like this better than the Black Keys? If you don’t have Keep it Hid, I suggest you pick it up right away as it could be 2009’s best record.
3. April 23rd Cold War Kids @ Doug Fir
This show could have easily been in a larger room which made it all the more special. The Cold War Kids brought their soul revival show into the cozy confines of the Doug Fir and had the room dancing and singing like 400 hipsters just found religion. I knew this was one of the years best just by the fact that I woke up the next morning and found myself singing “Saint John” in the shower.
4. July 10th – Patterson Hood and the Screwtopians @ Wonder Ballroom
What struck me the most about this show (which was a co-bill with The Gourds) was that I could not believe that Patterson Hood had such strong material from the early 90s that he cast aside for 15 or so years only to revisit it in 2009 not with the Drive By Truckers, but with a solid backing band comprised of some of Athens, Georgia’s finest session players. It was a treat to see these guys out in our neck of the woods and a bigger treat to see Patterson tap his soulful side with great tunes like “Back of a Bible” and “Pollyanna”.
5. Sept 26th – Pearl Jam @ Clark County Amphitheater
After two high profile gigs in their hometown, the road warriors from Seattle moved south to the Portland area and clearly were more relaxed to deliver what could be their best show in our city in 15 years. Featuring many tunes off their stellar new record Backspacer in addition to some deep B Side Treats (Red Mosquito with Ben Harper), Pearl Jam delivered the goods.
6. July 19th - The Decemberists @ Edgefield
I had this show circled on my calendar for months after hearing nothing but great things about The Hazards of Love live. The Decemberists put on a show for their hometown fans in spectacular fashion. Colin Meloy’s story came together in a visual sense and I was struck by how much more edgy it was live in comparison to the record. The Decemberists set their sonic direction for the coming years with this material and I am anxious to hear how they follow it up in 2010.
7. Sept 8th – Akron/Family @ Baghad Theater
I wasn’t famliar with Akron/Family’s material aside from a few songs I listened to prior to the show. After this show, I walked out of the Baghdad a believer. All I can say was I felt like I stepped back into the1960s with material that could be featured on the old “Freedom Rock” box sets (remember those infomercials? Turn it up man!). Put plain and simply - a feel good evening of music.
8. Oct 23rd Blitzen Trapper @ Doug Fir
Blitzen Trapper came back to the Doug Fir in October after honing their set on tour across America and in Europe for weeks prior. The result was a pair of hometown performances that were tight, tight tight. Walking out, the crowd was buzzing that we more than likely just witnessed the last BT shows in such an intimate environment. These shows will be talked about by BT fans for years.
9. Sept 18th Beach House @ MFNW – Berbati’s Pan
Another band I wasn’t overly familiar with prior to this show, Beach House stepped onto the stage at Berbati’s during MFNW and had the packed house completely mesmerized by their ambient pop. At one point, I looked up to notice that the normally chatty room was dead silent and focused on the band during a particularly quiet song. That takes true talent and stage presence which Beach House possess both of greatly. Keep an eye on these indie darlings in new year.
10 . January 30th Neil Young Tribute featuring Scott McCaughey, Lewi Longmire and Friends– Dantes
There was no way I was leaving this show off my top ten for 2009. Scott, Lewi and an extremely talented group of Portland’s best artists channeling Neil Young? How could it be anything short of amazing? Oh it was… The show focused on Young’s material from On The Beach and Time Fades Away. We sang, we danced, and we got a reminder that these type of PBR soaked evenings are why Portland simply kicks ass.
Honorable Mention: (not in order)
February 3rd - Delta Spirit @ Doug Fir
Feburary 21st – Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons @ Dantes
March 8th – M. Ward @ Aladdin Theater
March 14th – KMRIA @ Crystal Ballroom
April 3- Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine @ Aladdin
April 5 - Jason Isbell and 400 Unit @ Doug Fir
May 25th - Animal Collective @ Roseland Theater
June 18th – Gene Ween @ Doug Fir
Sept 1 – Ryan Bingham @ Roseland Grill
Sept 2 – Os Mutantes @ Aladdin Theater
Oct 14th – Monsters of Folk @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Oct 15th – Blue Giant @ Doug Fir
July 24th – The Minus 5 at PDX Pop Now!
December 11th – The Thermals @ Berbati’s Pan
December 20th – Cascadia Yulegrass @ Wonder Ballroom
December 30, 2009 No Comments
10 Great albums to come out of PDX
- Richmond Fontaine – We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River
- Michael Dean Damron – Bad Days Ahead
- The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
- Blind Pilot – 3 Rounds and a Sound
- The Minus 5 – Killingsworth
- The Shaky Hands – Let it Die
- Thao & Get Down Stay Down – Know Better Learn Faster
- The Thermals – Now We Can See
- Laura Gibson – Beast of Seasons
- Viva Voce – Rose City
December 30, 2009 No Comments
- 30-Jan Crystal Ballroom * Sharon Jones & Dap Kings
- 18-Feb Aladdin Theater * Todd Snider
- 7-Mar Aladdin Theater * M Ward
- 6-Apr Aladdin Theater * JJ Cale
- 12-Apr Crystal Ballroom * Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper
- 21-May Hawthorne Theater * Lucero
- 11-Jun Doug Fir * Bat For Lashes
- 31-Jul Pendarvis Farm – PICKATHON * Justin Townes Earle
- 23-Sep Crystal Ballroom * Modest Mouse
- 14-Oct Arlene Schnitzer Hall * Mosters of Folk – Jim James, Mward, Connor Oberst, Mike Moogis, Will Johnson
December 29, 2009 No Comments
1. Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women – Marie Marie
2. Sweet Six Bullets – Georgia Rain
3. Cory Chisel – Born Again
4. Them Crooked Vultures – New Fang
5. The Magnetic Fields – Zombie Boy
6. Matthew Ryan – The Wilderness
7. The Swell Season – Low Rising
1. Joey Kneiser – Bruised Ribs
2. Dirty Projectors – No Intention (Acoustic)
3. The XX – Basic Space
4. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home
5. Nick Jaina – Winding Sheet
6. Vic Chesnutt – Flirted With You All My Life
7. Dave Rawlings – Ruby
8. A.A. Bondy – When The Devils Loose
December 22, 2009 No Comments
Red Fang is one of the hottest bands coming out of PDX these days. This heavy band (is it metal) has made it’s way around the country including an impressive stop @ SXSW the last few years. This is a great chance to catch them in a local small club before they go HUGE!
BIO: Red Fang is the formation of long time friends and collaborators Bryan Giles (Last of the Juanitas, Party Time), Aaron Beam (Dark Forces, Lachrymator), David Sullivan (Party Time, facedowninshit, Shiny Beast) and John Sherman (Party Time, Bad Wizard, Trumans Water, All Night). Unleashed on New Year’s Eve of 2006 in Portland, Oregon, Red Fang stormed out of the gates, introducing a sweaty, seething basement to a new kind of unforgettable fist-pumping, beer-chugging rock music. Since that night, the band has continued with the same intensity, energy, and intimacy to quickly become a touring juggernaut, playing shows all over the US with bands like The Melvins, Big Business, and The Sword, to name just a few.
Residing somewhere between Black Flag and Black Sabbath, Red Fang recall a time when rock was more urgent and horrifying. Synthesizing a variety of heavy music influences into their own distinct musical identity, the band easily shifts from barn-burning punk to mid-tempo, hyper-distorted bass destruction all while maintaining a cohesive sound. Red Fang create gigantic rock songs that are easy to listen to (not easy listening, mind you) and qualify the simultaneous usage of both the thinking and the banging head, which are usually mutually exclusive. Their instrumentation is fluid and effortless, and the vocals are delivered melodically and forcefully, with enough rasp and effect saturation to fit nicely within the music. Paired with elemental imagery, the lyrics are immense and satisfying without any pretense.
Red Fang‘s self-titled debut full-length will be released on Sargent House in March 2009.
MP3/Download: RedFang – Prehistoric Dog
December 21, 2009 No Comments
Cascadia Yulegrass: Looking for an alternative to traditional holiday entertainment this season? Acoustic holiday bluegrass visits the Portland on December 20th with the inaugural Cascadia Yulegrass celebration. Featuring world-renowned musicians and regional favorites including Darol Anger, Sharon Gilchrist, Billy Nershi, Keith Moseley, Scott Law and others, Cascadia Yulegrass is a contemporary, family-friendly, and affordable holiday alternative that doesn’t involve cracked nuts or ballerinas.
December 17, 2009 No Comments
PORTUGAL. THE MAN, the sometimes AK & sometimes PDX ensemble bring their show to the Doug Fir for 2 nights this weekend! These veterans of the inde-rock circuit are Portland faves!
BIO: Formed in Wasilla, AK, PORTUGAL. THE MAN grew out of the ashes of Anatomy of a Ghost, a post-hardcore band whose vocalist and guitarist opted to continue working together. The trio eventually relocated from Alaska to Portland, OR. (woot!) Their initial existence in the Pacific Northwest was the typical hardscrabble life of a band with few resources, but drummer Jason Sechrist (formerly of Konmai Defense System) joined to form a more stable lineup. The band’s profile received a boost from the Internet, and the band released an initial EP in 2005 before issuing their debut album, Waiter: You Vultures!, in early 2006. The next year, PORTUGAL. THE MAN, issued Church Mouth, whose aggressive sound bore traces of Led Zeppelin and Jane’s Addiction. The bandmates then opted to finance their third record themselves, drawing upon a wealth of guest musicians — including trombonists, trumpeters, and violinists — to create the eclectic Censored Colors.
December 16, 2009 No Comments
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros brought their show to the Doug Fir last night to a packed house. The 10 piece band rocked out their hippie~folk~inde sound & it was well received by the Portland locals on a cold night. These guys have been getting tons of press & rocking their traveling circus all over the country. Check out the tracks/video below!
Rolling Stone Artist to Watch – “Ask anyone who’s held hands with a stranger or danced barefoot in the front row at an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros gig: The 10-piece folk-rock ensemble’s shows are more like shamanistic tent revivals than rock concerts. Former Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert, the singer-songwriter mastermind behind the group, embraced his hippie heart after losing his major-label deal, moving and getting back to basics. “I didn’t have a cell phone, we didn’t have Internet,” says Ebert, who embarked upon his new life with girlfriend Jade Castrinos.
On their recently released debut LP, Up From Below, Ebert channels his psychedelic tendencies into tunes that are alternately joyful (“Janglin,” “Home”), jaunty (“40 Day Dream”) and gothic (“Desert Song”), with echoes of the Arcade Fire and the Mamas and the Papas. Ebert attributes their sound to a conscious effort on his part to connect with his most childlike musical impulses.”
MP3/Download: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – 40 Day Dream
MP3/Download: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below
December 10, 2009 No Comments
Portland agency Wieden + Kennedy has just posted the first two episodes of its new online series entitled “Don’t Move Here”produced by the recently launched WK Entertainment Division(read the recent WK Entertainment Willamette Week Cover Story Here) .
The series focuses exclusively on the burgeoning underground music scene in
Episode One “Explode Into Colors”:
Episode Two: “The Black Gumdrop, Audio Dregs, and Atole”
December 9, 2009 No Comments
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has a new album coming out! Woo-hoo! Portland also gets a tour date at the Wonder Ballroom on March 7th. Save the date…
BIO: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who early on were accused of being mere clones of shoegaze heroes Jesus & Mary Chain because of their fondness for ear-splitting distortion and an all black uniform, have manged to carve out a corner of the rock ‘n’ roll community to claim solely as their own. Since the beginning of the decade, the band has been churning out some of best music from just outside the mainstream, none of it sounding like gimmickry or imitation.
From the gospel-infused tones of Howl to the harder edges of B.R.M.C and Baby 81, the band has been producing a consistent stream of top-quality records, and plan to continue with Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, to be released on March 9, 2010. Their fifth studio album (not including the self-released, download-only The Effects of 333) will be released on their Abstract Dragon label in a partnership with Vagrant, and was recorded in Philadelphia and mixed in their hometown of Los Angeles.
Beginning in February, on the eve of the album’s release, the band will head out on a three-month tour of the United States, roaring through most major cities.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Tour Dates:
2.26 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Harlow’s
2.27 – Reno, Nev. @ Knitting Factory
2.28 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Wasted Space/ Hard Rock Hotel
3.2 – Denver, Colo. @ Ogden Theatre
3.4 – Boise, Idaho @ Knitting Factory
3.5 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox Market
3.6 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Commodore
3.7 – Portland, Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
3.9 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Slim’s
3.13 – San Diego, Calif. @ House of Blues
3.14 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Echoplex
3.18 – Dallas, Texas @ House of Blues
3.20 – Houston, Texas @ House of Blues
3.21 – Tulsa, Okla. @ Cain’s Ballroom
3.23 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Pageant
3.24 – Madison, Wisc. @ High Noon
3.25 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
3.26 – Milwaukee, Wisc. @ Turner Hall Ballroom
3.27 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Ave.
3.30 – Columbus, Ohio @ Newport Music Hall
3.31 – Cleveland, Ohio @ House Of Blues
4.1 – Toronto, ONT @ Phoenix
4.2 – Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe
4.3 – Boston, Mass. @ House of Blues
4.5 – Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
4.7 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Theatre of Living Arts
4.8 – New York, N.Y. @ Webster Hall
December 9, 2009 No Comments