Friday, September 30, 2011

Viva Voce - The Parson Redheads -- Black Cat - Sep 29 2011

The Parson Redheads - From the vibrant Portland, Oregon scene comes this four-piece featuring a couple of guitars with all four on vocals including a female voice from the drummer. They start with a slow jangly rock tune that has shoegaze dynamics but keeps the Byrdsian jangle at the fore. As the songs are churned out, it continued in this jangly rock vein with traces of Americana folk. There was a lot of quality and they made a good connection with this crowd. In fact they thanked the crowd for being 'a great audience, so attentive and polite'. I thank my fellow audience members as well, but it helped that there was a lot to listen to. There was a Neil Young like screamer near the end and some four-part vocal harmonies that don't quite hit Byrds/Fleet Foxes territory but show a larger ambition than many other bands are willing or able to do. Thanks for making the long trip, Redheads.

Viva Voce - Also from the vibrant Portland, Oregon scene comes this male/female duo. She plays guitar and sings. He plays drums, guitar, and sings. I was expecting something sounding like maybe a too much stripped down version of the opening band (as I tend to get skeptical of two person electric groups), but as usual, it's better to let the music happen than spend a lot of time trying to predict. Immediately the sound is full. Although there were times when some samples were snuck into the mix, the guitar sound was thick and scrumptious and her playing was strong while she varied between light and heavy touches nicely. The drummer was solid and quickly switched to guitar, both between songs and sometimes back and forth within a song quite seamlessly. He kept a kick an high-hat going when playing at times, so these two know how to create a full sound. The songs were really spooky with psyche moves and really cool melodies and breaks. At times they invade the sonic space of other M/F psyche folk duos like Emtidi or Bread, Love & Dreams, but they invoke more spacey jams and rock touches depending on the song. The whole set was completely captivating and I quickly consider myself a serious fan of this band. The backstage was half full tonight yet the crowd was as responsive as if it were jam packed. Probably the only complaint was the desire for more song. These bands remind me of why Portland was on my short list of places to live after retirement along with Austin before settling here.

Quote of the Night: From The Viva Voce drummer... "We drove through a hailstorm in New Jersey just to get here. We risked our lives just being in New Jersey. I woke up this morning near New Jersey, but now I'm here and feel a little bit better about life."


Andrew said...

Wow... only half full for Viva Voce in the BC backstage. I've dug this duo for a while. Didn't even know they were playing. Shame on me. :/

David Hintz said...

Yeah, no fun when that happens (still kicking myself almost 30 years later for missing Minor Threat and the Wipers in the midwest hearing about the shows two days late). Although I more regret picking a lesser show or taking a night off on purpose and missing a good show that I knew about (or suspected). Viva Voce seems too good not to be back sometime. Maybe with more buzz spread around about the band, they'll get the larger crowd they deserve.