Thursday, February 2, 2012

Threadbear, Sioux Falls, The Steven Lasombras @ Ella Street Social Club 2.1.12, Portland, Or.

Last night's show at the Ella Street Social Club was pretty much a perfect end to a perfect day: groceries, dinner, art, music, city streets. Friends and conversation; hazy sunset. A freshly mopped floor. A good, and rich, life.

Arrived slightly earlier than usual, which is to say about halfway through the first band. I never know if 9 pm is going to be 9 pm in the rock 'n roll wormhole galaxy, which actually means, 'somewhere between 8:45 and 10:30, depending on hang-overs, broken equipment, traffic, bail,' or if they are referencing to the clocks that are generally calibrated to Greenwhich Mean. It always kind of fucks me up when shows start right when they are supposed to.

Threadbear were in full swing, upon arrival: 4 blokes, 2 guitars, 1 drummer, and one funky ass skeletal six-string bass, an electric piano. They conjured, in mid-air, visions of Hoover Towns, the ghost of Tom Joad, a brief recollection of '90s-era Dave Matthews. Rent parties in Dhalgren, anachronistic and cut-loose, post-modern folk songs, unrestricted to time or place. What you are left with, then, without specific codifiers, is something wholly human, almost archetypal. They were seasoned performers, and clearly knew their shit. I noticed, watching the guitarists, that they were mirroring and pirouetting around one another, stacking up contrasting melodies on different parts of the neck, which made for a rich, dense sound that was interesting and fun to listen to. I relaxed, the analytical part of my mind, that loves to label and categorize, and come up with catchy journalistic nomenclature, went to sleep, and i was left in the no-mind void where i remembered, 'i love to listen to sounds!' I was watching the fat, round bass-end weaving around the spikier, treblier guitars, dancing like a guppy ballet, and all need, all fear, all worry, disintegrated.

Sioux Falls were up next, whom i previous wrote about over here. This young 3-piece is impressively dense, considering the stripped down instrumentation; the bass was thick and luxurious, the guitar warm but still abrasive at the right moments, the drums satisfactorily pummeling. I still couldn't understand the vocals worth a damn, although there is a song about the singer's dog, apparently, and that is the common plight of the small indie club. My friend didn't much care for the homogenous tone of their music, found it to be consistent, to predictable, and to close to her natural state for comfort or interest. I found them to be slightly nervous at first, and then loosened up, and sounded pretty legit up there. Came to the conclusion that i love the drama of young men with guitars, trying to EXIST, to make their way in the world, to express what they're feeling, even though they don't know what they're feeling. I feel like if they worry less about promoting their band, and focus on the purity, intent, and message of their band, they will loosen up, and their sound will really be able to take off. They play next at Valentine's, on 2.13.

The Steven Lasombras was the main draw for me. I had seen William Justin Landers' doing a solo version of the steven lasombras during EsoZone, earlier this year, and was impressed by his one-man visionary noise guitar assault, and this time he had another fella playing guitar up there with him, as well. The first thing i noticed, in proper audio geek fashion, is this band has BEAUTIFUL GEAR, one guitarist playing through a beefy marshall bass cab, with Landers playing through a gorgeous, creamy Orange Amp. They had a small army of pedals on their stage, and to their credit, i could not immediately identify a single one. That's the thing with the steven lasombras, they defy easy categorization. There's no 'loop station' experimental indie preset, or fuzzy, sludgy big muff cliche to hang yr cloak on. Its a familiar line-up, two dudes playing noisy as shit guitars, occasionally singing, and it is just entirely unique. Its OWN THING. I stopped looking for comfortable tags, to shield myself from the experience of this unique Wed night, and let the music wash over me, unfold in my brain like some beneficent Transformer, like Valis beaming hard-coded schematics into my amygdala, to be deciphered at a later time. I relented to the sound, and became alive to the moment, to my life: the light started to glow with a back-lit intensity, as if from something very hot. I could see the pastpresentfuture, and things that have never been. There is something wholly unique about The Steven Lasombras. They are making experimental music, but they are deadly serious about it, or i should say dedicated, cuz William Landers is a very, very funny man. Even their comedic timing was spot-on. Everything about their performance was considered and well thought out. Their instruments sounded amazing, their timing was perfect, the songs were arranged well, keeping you guessing, keeping you on their toes, and from what i heard, the lyrics were thought-provoking and vision producing, also.

In short, i think i have stumbled upon the perfect noisy music, an undiscovered gem, and deserve to be heard by ANYBODY who digs adventurous, left of the dial sounds. And if you happen to live to Portland, lucky you. Go see them every time that they play!

My friend and i took off to the streets, to find a quarter and shoot some pool for an hour, in our dedicated quest to become Pool Shark Hustlers.

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