Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Saturday, January 28, 2012

About Last Night: Michael Dean Damron @ The Blue Monk 01/27

Last night was just one of those nights. I was tired, parking sucked and I couldn't get my camera to work. It's one of those night's when I wonder to myself why I keep doing this shit. But sitting there in the basement of The Blue Monk, I remembered that in the end the only reason I do any of this is for the music. There might not be fame or fortune at the end of the night but it doesn't matter when you get the chance to see a show this good.

Opening the night was an acoustic solo set by Dylan Summers. Best know as the front man for the working class punk band My Life In Black And White, thankfully his powerfully dark lyrics came across as equally potent in this pared down format. Singing a mix of My Life standards and a few newer songs, Summers highlighted a raw emotional well from which he seems to draw even deeper when it's just him and a guitar on stage. It's a treat to see that an artist like Summers has more than one facet. With My Life currently on hiatus, I look forward to seeing more of Summers solo work. I feel he is developing into an awesome song writer and was a perfect choice to warm up the crowd and set the mood for the night.

As Dylan's set wrapped up it was clear that the crowd had filled in nicely with family, friends and long time fans, all there to support Micheal Dean Damron. Like most of them, I too was there to witness and be part of his recording of a live album slated for release sometime later this year on the Suburban Home label. So as Damron stepped to the stage, joined by harp man extrodinar David Lipkind and Eric Kotilla on percussion, the room was nearly buzzing with excitement. Maybe he was feeling it too because halfway through the first song he forgot the lyrics and so in perfect Damron fashion he said "F**k It!" and launched right into the next song on the set list. I sure as hell hope they keep that for the record.

With that hiccup out of the way the rest of the show went great. Playing a diversely rich set, Damron tore into a long list of songs that included a broad mix of originals from the last ten years and some wonderfully unexpected covers from artists so drastically different as David Allan Coe and Concrete Blonde. Aggressive and raw Damron ripped away at each of these tunes with his wonderfully ragged voice and a passion so powerful we in the audience were awe struck as he gave new life to these songs we love so much. As usual Lipkind blew away on his harp with an unearthly vigor that took this performance and these songs to the next level. Over all this was an amazing night filled with the outstanding energy we have come to expect out of Micheal Dean Damron over the years. If the record captures even half the energy of the night then it might become, in some circles, as cherished as Johnny Cash: Live at Folsom Prison.

Walking through the cold night to my car, I had a clear and present reminder of what I'm doing this for. Even the day after, the songs dancing around in my head and body buzzing with the energy of last night. I count myself blessed, because life is better when it's filled with music this good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Concrete Blonde"Still In Hollywood" & Alabama Shakes"You Ain't Alone"

This week's Tuesday Double Feature has something old, something new, the video's are barrow, and look close enough there's got to be something blue. So for all you brides to be, you're all set. But for the rest of us, just take a few minutes to enjoy some good tunes.

Concrete Blonde - "Still In Hollywood"

An oldie but a goodie.

Alabama Shakes - "You Ain't Alone"

Soul music so good it can make you ache.

Both bands are playing Portland this week, check out the details in the latest installment of The Triple Crown.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Triple Crown: 01/16 - 01/29

Filled to the brim with some amazing shows this Triple Crown is sure to have a concert for everyone. There's an old favorite, a local favorite, and a little bit of soul to make it all so good.

Tuesday, January 24th
Concrete BlondeMenkena
Star Theater
13 NW Sixth Ave
Adv.:$25/Day Of:$30
21 & Over

Like most, the first time I heard the Concrete Blonds was in a dorm room, the pungent mix of incense and bad beer thick in the air. There was something beautifully primal about the voice of Johnette Napolitano that blew my mind, something in her music that echoed of the tarnished industrial sprawl of the real Los Angeles. Like the Novels of John Fante set to a post-punk soundtrack the Concrete Blondes have spent the last 3 decades telling musical stories wonderfully tragic and rich with details. Thankfully time has only seasoned Napolitano to perfection not only as a song writer but also as a singer making this rare opportunity to see her with the band that much more wonderful. Opening the night is Menkena whose dream like music is rich with bold instrumental strokes.
So whether you're a long time fan or are just in need of a good concert make sure you get your tickets early.

Friday, January 27th
Michael Dean Damron
The Blue Monk
3341 SE Belmont
21 & Over

The soul and music of Micheal Dean Damron lies somewhere in the mix of Barkersfield country outlaws, LA punk clubs and the rain drenched streets of Portland, Oregon. With heartbreaking songwriting that is both beautifully brutal and painfully honest Damron's songs walk a thin line between a survivor's story and cautionary tales. He is quite possibly the greatest of musical diamonds in the rough of Portland's amazing music scene. Live, Damron is wonderfully unpredictable. With a show that can range from the hardest howling rock show you'll ever see to a mournfully acoustic set that feels like the best whiskey soaked conversation you've ever had. This show should be extra special as it's being recorded for a live album so Damron is sure to be joined by some of his amazing musical friends. The pure anticipation of it all, makes this intimate show at the Blue Monk that much more exciting and a perfect candidate for this Triple Crown.

Saturday, January 28th
Alabama Shakes
Quiet Life
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Adv.:$9/Day Of:$10
21 & Over

For those of us raised in ear shot of our parent's Motown vinyl there's something wonderfully comforting about the music of the Alabama Shakes. Powerfully reminiscent of 60's area Aretha Franklin, Carol King and Mister Otis Redding himself, the Shakes play that sweet smooth soul that makes you ache deep down in your bones. Brittany Howard's voice is a compellingly raw thing that over takes your scenes and when paired with the tightly constructed groove of her band takes on the strength of a force of nature. No matter your taste in music this band is one not to miss. So even if you can't make it to this show, though hope you can, keep your eyes peeled for their debut album slated for an April release.
Sharing the night is Portland's own Quiet Life whose rustic rock has a classic feel of it's own like tracks from a record by The Band or early Grateful Dead. Unique in their own way this match up should lend itself to a great night of music. So grab a friend and finish off this week of music strong.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: The Slants "You Make Me Alive" & Sassparilla " My First Lover"

All jokes aside about how everyone in Portland is in a band, one of the greatest things about living in here is all the music. Not only is there a endless list great bands but their music stretches all across the board from Blues, Hip Hop, Rock and country. This week's Double Feature highlights two Brand new videos form two uniquely Portland bands.

The Slants - You Make Me Alive

Sassparilla - My First Lover

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday Doudle Feature: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds "Ride the Tiger"

From Micheal Jackson's Moonwalker movie to Ah-ha's loosely connected "Take Me On" and "The Sun Only Shines on TV" videos, I've always been fascinated by musicians that choose to tie multiple songs together in order to tell a bigger story through video. With that in mind the first Tuesday Double Feature of 2012 presents Ride the Tiger, the compiled video trilogy from Noel Gallagher's new solo project the High Flying Birds. Featuring tracks from their self-titled debut album, Ride the Tiger showcases Gallagher's post Oasis mastery.

I know I'm cheating, because it's only one video but it has three songs, either way I know you'll enjoy it.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - "Ride the Tiger"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Triple Crown: 01/01 - 01/15

Thursday, January 5th

Shut Your Animal Mouth
P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S/Hairspray Blues
Ash Street Saloon
225 SW Ash Street
21 & Over

This night of homegrown garage punk is sure be one heck of a good time with three amazing Portland bands who have perfected the art of melding together the grit and grind of garage rock with the street and sleaze of punk. Headlining the night is the band Shut Your Animal Mouth whose sounds is a sultry robust creature with a speed and swagger that could make a monk weep. With aggressive instrumentation topped with dominating female vocals, this band makes the kind of bar rock that's sure to hit the sweet spot when echoed off the walls of the Ash Street Saloon. Filling out the rest of the bill is the amazing duo of Hairspray Blues with their awesome live show and unforgettable sound and the mind blowing fury of P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.. Combined these three bands are going to rip the studs from the wall and if you're not there to see it your going to hate your self so grab a friend and stuff enough cash for a taxi some where you won't spend it on drinks and start your weekend off with a bang.

Monday, January 9th
The Resolectrics
Mike Midlo/Sam Fowles(of Parson Red Heads)
White Eagle Saloon
836 N Russell St
Show: 8:30PM
21 & Over

The Resolectric play a bluesy roadhouse soul that spills over with an organic groove that's perfect for the bare brick and seasoned timbers of the White Eagle. A joyfully gritty beast that mixes the sound of 50's, 60's optimism with the dirty tarnish of the 70's, their music is filled with a potently retro flavor. Ripe with a confident attitude these boys play songs that don't need to be loud or aggressive, but that are more powerful in the subtleties of their full bodied performance. If this doesn't get you out on the dance floor you might want to check your pulse.
Opening the night are sets by Sam Fowles and Mike Midlo, two musicians well know in Portland circles for their work with amazing local bands but who are stepping out on their own for the night. This show is certain to be awesome, so turn off your televisions and order yourself a beer, cause nothing cures a case of the Mondays, like good music and a drink or two.

Wednesday, January 11th

Dick Dale
Star Theater
13 NW 6th Ave
Adv.:$20/Day Of:$25
21 & Over

The Godfather of Surf Guitar himself Dick Dale will be gracing our city for one amazing night a the new Star Theater. Vicious with six strings, this master of the guitar has single handily defined a genra of music that captures the white tip curls of the Pacific Ocean and the sun tanned dreams of the California coast. With out Dick Dale the 50's and 60's would have lacked much of their distinct flavor. In recordings his music is mind bending with jaw dropping licks but live his music takes on a whole new level for which there is no equal. It's near mystical what this man can do with a guitar, he truly is an a American treasure that should be experience buy all that have a chance, and this show at the Star Theater is yours so make sure you don't miss it.