Co-headlining tours can be the strangest things. Two bands with separately established fan bases touring together can make for an almost unification of the bands, or quickly spiral out of control into a giant chest-puffing contest. In the case of Blitzen Trapper and Dawes, it appeared to do neither, but it did show two bands with a similar swath of influences displaying two very different schools of output.Read More
Filtering by Tag: portland
Every band has been there before. You're at the tail end of a long tour, and it's that middle of the week lull that happens in most cities. The room is a quarter full, and those people that are there are a bit TOO excited and have been, to put it kindly, overserved. These are the challenges facing Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Gauntlet Hair on Wednesday night at the Crocodile.
Portland's Unknown Mortal Orchestra started off their set with no announcement, no fanfare, and with a long, drawnout squall of feedback that led into a scratchy-throated version of "Little Blu House". On their self-titled record, "Little Blu House" is dreamy and delicate, gentle in all the right places; the story of a man searching for shelter from the wolves and some sense of respite. Live, it howled and yelped, less like a softly suggested "May I come in?" and more like the desperate plea of a man with nowhere else to turn frantically pulling on a door handle. Singer Ruban Nielson's delivery was almost completely disaffected, deliberately staring down the neck of the Fender Mustang that sat nearly at his collarbone rather than the audience.Read More
"We ate at that Cuban place (Paseo) in Fremont today. It's really good, but still tastes the same as it did in 2001. Just like this music." --Stephen Malkmus
It's hard to put a finger on exactly what was missing from former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus' show last night. The newly remodeled Neptune was a perfect stage for the show, glowing with a subdued visual elegance and sounding completely clear and dialed-in. So maybe it was just a typical Tuesday night in any town (Tuesdays are particularly hard days to rock through), but both sides of the stage seemed to have a deep disengagement with the experience that made Malkmus' awkward charm a little less obvious.Read More
It's understandable in some regards that the Fleet Foxes show at the Moore would be full of all sorts of nervous silence, from both the audience and the band themselves; the following day, the band's sophomore LP (Helplessness Blues) will be released to the public, and reactions will likely be strongly split. Helplessness Blues is a challenging piece of work, and the sheer magnitude of listening to the record front to back is both beautiful and exhausting. Fleet Foxes have always been a bit of a challenging band, but some of the layered twists and turns on Helplessness Blues manage to make the Foxes previous songwriting seem predictably rote.
Combine the nervousness of a sold out crowd of 1400+, the anticipation of the following day's reactions, having homecoming jitters after some small tiffs with local press, and an audience who is largely unfamiliar with your new material; it's a recipe for some awkward moments.Read More
If there's been a recent trend in indie rock (aside from every band having a floor tom for their singers to pound on), it's been the reuniting of the Godfathers of the '90s (Guided By Voices, Pavement, and recently Archers of Loaf) or the pure celebration of the works of the early- to mid-90's. Although Sebadoh never technically broke up, they've taken a backseat to the band that spurred the formation of Sebadoh in the first place: Dinosaur Jr., who kicked Sebadoh singer Lou Barlow out in less-than-cordial fashion in the late '80s. "We're touring to support our new T-shirt," joked Barlow after a few songs of warm-up to the midsized crowd at Neumos.Read More