Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sioux Falls, Fingers Moen @ Ella St. Social Club 1.10.12

I am never disappointed by the Ella St. Social Club.

It doesn't matter what's going on there, most of the time i don't even know what's going on over there, but i know that the music will at least be interesting, there's likely to be some cool, friendly people over there, and that i will experience something worthwhile. Its a straight shot down Burnside from where i live, and the walk is just long enough to clear the dust and fallout from between my ears, gives me a chance to get some brainstorming done. In short, a valuable community resource!

Fingers Moen were playing when i arrived, typically late. They are apparently a brand new act, one guy sporting a tie dye and a headband and long, stringy hair, playing guitar; another guy, also wearing a tie die but without a headband, played bongoes. Two men, two instruments (with occasional warbles of harmonica and kazoo), stripped down naivete rock. Total 60s throw-backs, the guitarist/singer seems to worship at the altar of St. Barrett, and their set reminded me of early Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground's more saccharine moments, perhaps a bit of Arthur Lee (ugh, i hate name checking Arthur Lee. Who the fuck actually listens to Love?), maybe a couple of the European cosmonauts like Gong or the Soft Machine, via a bohemian coffee shop. I appreciated what they were doing, they knew a bunch of songs and knew them well, played them well together, but it was a bit innocuous for my blood, and i thought they played too long. Its not really something i'd listen to on my own time.

Sioux Falls, from Portland but originally from Bozeman, Mt, totally brought it for the 20 people that persevered through the 55 minutes of songs about bears and children. One review i read called them Doug Martsch Apprentices, and they list Modest Mouse, Neil Young, The Replacements, Weezer, as influences, (and also for some reason Agalloch), so you know right away what yr getting here: a heap of country fried rock, extended guitar soloes, serrated vocals. No real surprises, except for that Sioux Falls sound incredibly good, while offering devotion to the Rock Gods. The bass was perfectly loud, smooth and round, filling my abdomen, my asophagus. The guitar player fucking RULEd, and the drummer wasn't half bad either. The vocals were surprisingly clear and understandable, and each song faded into a pyrochlastic fury of guitar freakout, while the rhythm section kept it all together. The guitarist must've been a little TOO flailing (is there such a thing?), he broke a string after nearly every song, and had to pause to change them out. They stayed cool as preliminary pickles up there, not even resorting to nervous banter like most do, just hanging out on stage, maybe talking to the crowd a little bit. I've had equipment go wrong on stage, and let me tell you, it is fucking nerve wracking! These guys just did what had to be done, picked up where they had left out, and furiously rocked out some more!!! I think these guys are seriously ones to watch.

Me and my buddy Nate missed the last bus, so we ended up walking 54 blocks, back to his place, occasionally pausing to purchase microwave burritos with food stamps, pausing to admire architecture. A chilly, damp wind, the lights were velveteen and hushed, the evening had the sense of promise, of a new day rising. All this music, all these comrades, all these days and long nights pounding pavement, stalking streets. The long walks, long talks; the long jams before going out to listen to yet even more music. Friends becoming friends, old friends reconnecting, everything rich and wide-eyed; beyond labels and heart poisoning cynicism, mutant children tearing up the night like confetti, throwing it towards tomorrow, watching the swirl.

Life is rich and rewarding. The great work is at hand. It is good, being a music freak, living in Portland, OR.

Indie Cred by Sioux Falls

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