Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ex Girlfriends Club, Sexy Water Spiders, Di di mau @ Dante's, 1.18.12

This has rather inadvertently turned into another Rock 'n Roll marathon for yrs truly, as Portland is teeming with interesting, free music, at the moment. I shall persevere, and continuously plunge into the bush, throwing myself out into the night, into the concrete jungle, and report what i find, to tell you who's worth a damn, and who isn't.

Was gonna go to Ella St Social Club last night, as there was something of interest going down, and i love that spot, but i noticed this show, instead. Tagged on pc-pdx under Noise and Riffs, and one of the bands was compared to YOB, i was sold, hook line and sinker. Besides, i'd never been to Dante's, and they have torches outside!

Dante's is a proper sleazy rock 'n roll den, it just makes you think of cocaine and hot hot sex. Lit up like an ocean of blood on the inside, with enormous chinese lanterns, they even have platforms for strippers and go go dancers to gyrate. After years of polite indie rock concerts, it is refreshing to dive into the belly of the beast. I was glad to be out, in the surprisingly temperate Portland nighttime air.

Ex-Girlfriend's Club up first: the singer was like some frankenstein's hodge podge of joey ramone, mick jagger, and iggy pop. He's about 9 feet tall, and he was the best performer i've seen in a minute. They tore up a homage to the early to mid 60s, at times extremely reminiscent of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but laced with amphetamines and booze, to conjure the true theater of the absurd and dangerous. It was like some shamanic invocation, to tear a whole through time, space, and history, to that meta-reality where everything is happening simultaneously, and the spirit of cynicism, 'been there, done that.' has no room to breathe and breed. They ended with one of the most excellent stage dives i've ever seen, with the singer than running around the infernal theater, knocking over beers and singing into people's eyes. Tremendous. Highly Recommended! (They were also handing out free CDs that night, so expect to see that reviewed, sometime in the nearish future).

Sexy Water Spiders continued the Garage homage, this time focused on the herky jerky mutant blues of John Spencer, circa Pussy Galore. True fucking punk spirit, these guys were like animated marionettes, shambolic but somehow razor sharp. The singer had the finest, operatic sound check i've seen to date, before launching into some throat singing, and then into a rockabilly number. The mutants will always be my favorite, the spazzes, the ones that don't give a fuck. Last time i checked, rock 'n roll was not about looking good and fitting in. I seem to remember some rigamorale about 'revolution', and its nice to know that exists somewhere, even if there is pretty much a precedent for just about anything you could think to do, at this point. They ended up with a song dedicated to people high on resin, the singer and guitarist stumbling around the stage like a drunken zombie, or Pinnochio on Treasure Island. Again, highly recommended.

The last band i saw was Di Di Mau! who was the one i was most jazzed about. I had listened to a track online, and it was full of rumblings and ominous squeaks. It was oddball, murky, and opaque, and i was fucking drooling. Ooh, free noise weirdness on a Wed.! Even more confused and excited when they turned out to be a muscular, intense post-punk/glam band. I love having my expectations dashed. Especially when it comes to music. The singer was wearing an ian curtis shirt, and it was impossible to not let that cultural signifier color my impression of their performance. However, i was TRIPLY stoked when it seemed that these guys were focusing on the earliest aspects of Joy Division, when they were a loud, fast, aggressive band, before the cold and the despair took over, and then took everything. This singer was nearly so fragile and damaged as Ian, these guys were warriors. At one point, they kept fucking up the beginning of a song, the guitarist couldn't hear anything in the monitors. The audience was getting rowdy, starting to throw shit. They shrugged it off, and tore through the rest of the set with renewed fury. The drummer blasted out a funky disco beat, in triple time, like Stephen Morris on Unknown Pleasures, giving the whole thing a nice, danceable edge, and the bassist was pure punk rock speed, holding down the bottom end, playing to the audience. Everyone i saw that night were all excellent performers.

I headed out into the night, elated, to find an all night Kinko's, my faith and fervor for rock 'n roll, punk rock, post-punk, metal, and my fellow denizens of the night, in full bloom.

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