Sunday, February 19, 2012

DTF, Bad Music, Caroline, Blind Lovejoy @ Backspace; 2.18.12

Attended the Music in the Schools showcase last night at Backspace, one of the few all-ages venue in Portland, worthy of support for that reason alone. Extra kudos for being a coffee shop that has a pool table, (it has a lot of spin to it, watch out), and there tends to be interesting art on the walls to gaze at and ponder.

Running a little late, (a running theme), due to complications getting on the guest list, but thanks to the delay, i found a snazzy black feather boa, which complimented my Freddie Krueger sweater and 9 day shadow quite nicely. I thoroughly enjoy confounding the delineation between music journalist, record producer, and deranged meth-head. I might as well accept it, as people are going to think it anyway.

I missed DTF, but caught Bad Music, who were actually pretty good. Probably around 15 or so, but already sporting Crass patches and devil locks, i seriously wonder what it would be like to grow up in Portland, Or. with the entire recorded output of civilization at yr finger-tips. This band was grasping at every cultural signifier they could sew to their clothing, a raggedy anne patchwork collage of hardcore anarchist punk rock history: MDC, Crass, DOA. They had a small but enthusiastic pit going, a little too self-conscious about running into people, but i chalk this up to living in a room where random assault rifle shoot-outs and firebombings is the norm. I tried to set aside my condescension, and focus on the music, cuz i don't care what age you are, if you are going to ally with the anarchist punks, pick up guitars and play a show, it is my job to tell it like it is. I'm glad to say that these guys play their instruments pretty well; a muscular sludgy guitar sound, drums kicking acceptably hard. In short, they ROCKED, to the best of their ability. I was almost shocked when they played one of the better versions of Sonic Reducer, originally by Rocket from the Tombs, made popular by the Dead Boys. These guys want to be Young, Loud, and Snotty; my advice, forget there's anybody in the room, pretend yr practicing. And play LOTS AND LOTS of shows.

Caroline next, my second time seeing them, and i can pay them the highest compliment: i don't think of them as my friend's band. They are a legit band, playing around town, doing the deal, trying to get shows, practicing a lot. They sounded fucking hot last night, (Backspace has pretty sweet sound, i gotta say), with the guitars pleasantly piercing, along with the drummers falsetto battle-cry between songs. I love their dreamy j-pop drift, and their twitchy thrash. I could do without the powerpoppunk emo posturing, but that was after my time, and everybody likes a ballad. I think their tongue is pretty firmly in cheek with their posturing, i still fucking hate it, but i forgive them, and i like 98% of their material. Go see them live. Often.

I was so stoked to see Blind Lovejoy, i've been working on an EP with them (almost done, now), but had not seem them do their thing live. We've gotten to be pretty solid friends, working together, but again, this factor does not effect the objective part of my brain, which merely observes sensory data. There are certain nuances that i can pick up on, being very familiar with a band or their personalities, which makes for a richer experience, but just because i like you does not mean i will like yr band. I happen to like Blind Lovejoy a lot, as people, but i fucking LOVE their band. I felt like watching them live, i was able to get a more complete vision of their sound, what they were going for, which is going to help me complete their EP. Cayla is a fucking ferocious guitar player, her Les Paul screaming like a panther in heat; so low down she was almost to the ground. I see in Blind Lovejoy the future of indie rock, young people with fervor and drive, with excellent taste, but not confined to replicated the glories of the past. I see and hear echoes of perennial favorites like PJ Harvey, Built to Spill (sorry guys), Death Cab for Cutie, Liz Phair. Lo-fi and authentic, muscular and uncompromising, but sweet and drifting, like on Noah's song, 'Umami'. The details and contrasts, the way they switch instruments around, keeps the performances rushing forward, keeps it interesting, and cayla and noah both have very different styles on their various instruments. They get a full rich sound, for being a two piece, and their tone is always impeccable. The guitars are nice, and in tune, the amp sounds sweet, the drums are solid. This band fucking rocks. You heard it here, first.

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