Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Triple Crown: 03/01 - 03/14

With a little bit of blues, a little bit of country and too much rock'n'roll to fit into one week, this triple crown is not for the weak of heart. So if you think you're up for it, get yourself ready and don't forget your passport because you never know where nights like these might lead.

Saturday, Marc
h 5th
Mississippi Allstars
Wonder Ballroom
128 NE Russell St
Doors:8PM/ Show:9PM
Adv.:$17 / Day Of:$18
21 & Over

The Blues have been around since rivers have flowed to the sea, the only difference is the individuals who play it. Fueled by whiskey and moonshine the raw emotions of grief, anger, desire and joy have spilled from the lips and across the 6 stings of men and women since cotton was king. From the juke joints of Mississippi of the dive bars of Chicago, it's survived electrification and retained it's purity while other genera have grown diluted by mass marketing and popular appeal. All the while the master's of the craft have been passing on the fever to each new generation. The North Mississippi Allstars, no doubt, light the way to the future with one of the brightest torches. Inspired as much by the broken guitar madness of R.L.Burnside as the delta picking of Robert Johnson himself, their heartfelt translation of the blues is pure and fertile as the dark mud of the Mississippi River. Both holding true to the past and paithing the way to the future the music of the Allstars will speak to your soul and get your ass a-shaking. So get over to the Russell street early for some pulled pork at Russell Street BBQ and down a little whiskey, but none of that Canadian crap, because nothing goes better with the Blues than BBQ and Whiskey.

Sunday, March 6th
Big John Bates' Grindshow
350 West Burnside
21 & Over

Hellbound hotrods and Voodoo Blues the music of Big John Bates' Grindshow is all shimmy and sin. Like the love child of Russ Meyer and a Hammer Horror film, Bates' style of rock'n'roll burns with the heat of high octane gasoline and has the grooving rhythm of dancing succubi. You got to wonder if the crossroads daemon he sold his soul to must have had a great pair of cans and legs that stretched all the way to paradise. Agressively dark and infectiously hynotic with the beat of forbidden drums Bates' music will grab a hold of you and pull you like a puppet into some dark dancing ritual.
If the music wasn't enough the Grindshow is so much more. Reminiscent of traveling medicine show this set at Dante's will amaze and astound you with theatrics and burlesque dancers. All reasons why Big John Bates' Grindshow must only be experienced live.

Thursday, March 10th
Drive-By Truckers
Heartless Bastards
Wonder Ballroom
128 NE Russell St
Doors:8PM/ Show:9PM
Adv.:$22 / Day Of:$24
21 & Over

If you've ever had the chance to see the Drive-by Truckers live, you know what a treat it is. Somewhere between outlaw country and dirty southern rock their music is the anthem of the common man's rebellious heart . Hard working and unashamed this band has been road hardened into one of the best touring bands to ever step foot onto a bus. Once known for their bar brawling rock'n'roll, this band has evolved into something so much more. After all the miles and late nights they can still rock with the best of them but has matured into a group more willing to take chances with their sound. The new country soul of their latest album makes a perfect home for the keen songwriting of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.
Joining them is the soulful rock of the Heartless Bastards, reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde and her Pertanders. Dynamically atmospheric, their music is bold and powerful. A perfect match to share the stage for this great night at the Wonder Ballroom. This is a must see show. So you faithfuls out their, make sure you get your tickets early and as for those of you that haven't had the pleasure, don't miss your chance.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About Last Night: The Builders and the Butchers @ Wonder Ballroom

Last Night we welcomed home one of our own as the Builders and the Butchers played to a packed house at the Wonder Ballroom. Torn between pride in our native sons and jealousy in their absence we came out on a Tuesday night pressing towards the stage like a sea of flesh. Portland and her inhabitant's have never been much for abstinence and when deprived of one of our favorite bands you can be certain we will gather for our fix like junkies at the methadone clinic.

Opening the night was an energetic set from Damion Suomi and the pub folk of his Minor Prophets. Wonderfully fun and strong with a stage presence that speaks of the band's skill and their time on the road their set transformed me from a mildly impressed observer to a true believer. Starting off the night right they were effective in their purpose having the crowd warmed up and ready. Headlining the show were the formidable Murder by Death but you wouldn't have been able to tell it by the enthusiasm of the audience as the Builders and the Butchers took to the stage. As excited as we were, it was just as apparent that the band was glad to be playing for a room full of home town believers.

Comfortable and energetic the band launched right into some of the fan favorites. At the top of their game the band showcased their wonderfully diverse and vibrant musical style in it's most potent form. As we stood their we boarded a roller coaster that surprisingly starts off with a breath taking drop and only gets better from their. Unfortunately the band was plagued by sound issues throughout most of their set, including a pair of mating whales, but like the tried and tested musicians they are the band pushed through. In turn the audience was forgiving, taking up the slack at times, singing right along with the band smoothing over any technical issues.

As the set progressed we were given a sneak peak of some of the tracks from the new album Dead Reckoning. The new songs were wonderful little treats richly dark and perfectly executed, proving that this band has just started on their rise. New or old the band was having fun up their on stage and it translated into the crowd adding to the lively energy of the night. This was a great show and all of us knew it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Triple Crown: 02/15 - 02/28

A little bit country and a little bit rock'n'roll this Triple Crown is marked by some amazing shows and artists whose song writing skills are unmatched. So grab your coat and head out the door because with a city full of music you now have a guide to three of the best concerts in town.

Tuesday, February 15th

Murder By Death
The Builders and the Butchers/
Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets
The Wonder Ballroom
128 NE Russell
Doors:8PM/ Show:9PM
Adv. :$13/Day Of:$15
21 & Over

Like a gathering of thieves and outlaws this show at the Wonder Ballroom of gritty dust bowl rock'n'roll-noir calls out to the corrupt emotions buried in us all. With a sound that falls somewhere between a pulp mystery and a Steinbeck novel the music of Murder by Death is all raw emotions and shadowy intentions. Adam Turla 's scratch gravel voice tells half shaded stories of evil deeds and bad luck mishaps, while his band of accomplices play an angry carpet-bagger's country-rock that is striking and haunted as a empty desert road at sunset. Reminiscent of a late night barroom confession their live show leaves the audience hanging on every word with the anticipation of the gallows rope.
Joining them on stage is the brooding storm that is Portland's own The Builders and the Butchers. Nearly as dark as their headlining cohorts but with an energy that always seems to set the crowd to dancing, this band has one of the most unique sounds in the music industry today mainly due to the distinct voice of Ryan Sollee. Rounding out the bill is the powerful imagery of song-writer Damion Suomi and his band the Minor Prophets, whose energy and beautiful lyrical tapestries are positioning him as one of my new personal favorites. You don't want to miss a line up this good, so make a night of it with a little pulled pork from across the way at Russel Street BBQ and your night might just reach perfection.

Sunday, February 20th
Justin Townes Earle
Dawn Landes
Mississippi Studio
3939 N. Mississippi
Adv.:$15/Day Of:$17

If I wasn't certain that Johnny Cash is playing sold out shows in heaven I'd think that he was haunting the music of Justin Townes Earle. A beautiful mix of country and blues Earle sings from a soul twice his age and through which the Mississippi river runs rain fat and whiskey brown. Soft and comforting as the right woman's gaze, you can lose yourself in these songs. With compellingly honest lyrics and music that might have naturally sprung up in a Arkansas cotton field, this show will be a real treat and perfect for the the intimate environment of Mississippi Studio. Joining him, like his June Carter, is Dawn Landes, whose music has a powerful personality of it's own. A wonderful mix of her Kentucky roots and Brooklyn seasoning, her songs have the sophisticated edge of the city and the airy openness of the country, like a rodeo queen strolling through Time Square. With a voice reminiscent of Suzanne Vega and Gillian Welch and lyrics that are just as powerful, Landes is quickly making a name for herself. This show is sure to hold some wonderful surprises and shouldn't be missed. I'm sure that Johnny would make it if he could.

Saturday, February 26th

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House
My Life In Black &White/
The Red Hills
350 West Burnside
Adv.:$7/Day Of:$8
21 & Over

Each of these bands alone is worth the price of admission but together they make for a showcase of some of Portland's best rock'n'roll. Not only are we talking power and force but all three of these bands are led by phenomenal song writers of the highest caliber. Between the reformed rockabilly of The Red Hills, the blue collar punk of My life in Black and White, and the redneck philosophy of I can Lick any Sonofabitch in the House it will be a miracle if any of us are left standing at the end of the night. Another common thread running through these bands is they all share the six-string mastery of Guitar-savant "Handsom" Jon Burbank, who is celebrating his 30th birthday. To mark the occasion Burbank will be playing all three sets, a feet rarely attempted, but one that should produce tales of legend for all who bare witness.
Combined, these three bands make for one of best line ups to grace the stage of Dante's in sometime. If you like loud guitars, great lyrics, and a hell of a good time this is the place to be Saturday night and the perfect way to top off February's Triple Crowns.

Friday, February 4, 2011

About Last Night: Coco Cobra and the Killers @ The Tonic Lounge

Last night we gathered, us few, nestled in the dim lit back room of the Tonic Lounge as though some secret cult of punk rock faithfuls. All having come to witness the magic that is Coco Cobra and the Killers but what we experienced was so much more than mere musical sorcery, but rather a force of nature.

The night was like any other, as the crowd milled about armed with P.B.R. tallboys and rock glasses of tequila. With fun opening sets from the playful punk of The Food and the sweet tounge-in-cheek retro-core of Thundering Asteroids!, we were well prepared for a night of good music and early weekend revelry or damage, depending on the person. To our credit there is no way that we could have foreseen what was coming, but once Coco sauntered onto the short stage we understood clearly that we never stood a chance. All sex and rock'n'roll she grab the microphone and our attention like a horny lover bent on getting off as fast and hard as the laws of physics would allow.

And us, we were her puppets. In awe we stood as her band of veteran punk rockers launched into their set. The boys letting loose some of rawest garage inspired bar rock any of use had heard in sometime. Quickly the music took on the force of a runaway train gaining speed with each new song, no pauses, no breaks, suddenly we were breathless and ready to run head first through cinder block walls. Kevin's guitar was fuzz-lovely and ripped though us as a sickle through grain and to this moment I still can't tell you why his fingers didn't burst into flames. As if that wasn't enough the concussion of the bass and drums nearly knocked us to our asses. Wave after wave fell upon us without relenting as though matching the gyrations of Coco's hips; mesmerizing us, melting our wills, taking over our minds. In hind sight it reminds me of Coco's name sake, the cobra's hypnotic dance. Controlled and intense paralyzing us victims with exotic motions, leaving us open to a deadly strike of lighting speed. Luckily, Coco was just playing with us this time.

At it's peek the music that threatened to scatter us into oblivion just suddenly ceased, like the winds of a tornado and we were left in shock as though cheated of our afterglow. Now in the light of the new day it all seems like the remnant of some aggressively erotic dream, but what a dream it was.