Is and of the - This was a solo variation of this band tonight with Drew on electronics and guitar. His 35 minute set had all the usual tricks that you get with a guy behind a Mac. It helped a lot to see and hear some guitar work, although it was mostly used to establish some quick and basic loops. These was fairly modern electronic sounds and I would have liked some more retro or something more inventive. I will credit him for having drumbeats that were far superior to the dull patterns I usually hear. There were also some moments later in the set that had some nice contrasting melodic patterns that were interesting. He had some sonic dropouts which were about as pleasant as hiccups. But, all in all, not too bad a set, although I would like to hear the full band next time. I am guessing a few more live musicians in the mix will be an even better live experience. Clearly there is some core talent here.
Jeff Beam - Here is a musician from 'the other Portland'--that of Maine. Although not as large a musical scene as that in Oregon, I do recall hearing an interesting psyche-folk musical duo from up that way some years ago (name is lost forever). And Beam offers yet another interesting take on psychedelic folk in this 34 minute set. His voice has a 'loner-stoner' quality to it, but he is in far more control than that of a stoner. Musically, there is more heft as well since he is playing electric guitar and has some keyboards and electronic textures working to various degrees depending on the song. I am hearing a Hush Arbors approach, but there is more odd 'real person/outsider' folk in the manner of such obscure artists as Denis or Nicodemus. Trad folk fans may run away from this, but this music is so welcome to the many psyche-folk fans that have grown over the years. What is especially refreshing, is that the Banhart-Newsome model of free folk is NOT evident anywhere in this set. Instead, it is the more outsider variety that is far more attractive to adventurous listeners. There is some real exploration going on here, far beyond finding your inner hippie. Very nice material here, as I can eat this for breakfast, lunch, and supper, seven days a week.
Redline Graffiti - This local four-piece is raw as hell, which is perfectly fitting for this eclectic, diverse evening of entertainment. They start with a wonderful and baffling experimental prog instrumental by weaving in synthesizer, guitar, bass and drums. This makes way for more solid pop-rock songs (Modest Mouse meets Sebadoh?) that eventually yield to some more tunes with R&B flavor and a few with soul vocals. They have plenty of rhythm, guitar chops, and a fearless approach to doing what they feel like including a couple covers, which actually were not as good as the original material for me. They were not always in sync, but the individual parts were fine. When they connected as a band, they could really come up with the goods. Keep your eye on this outfit--if they keep working on the creative song writing and arranging and do the usual gigging, the only direction is up. And kudos to their friends/fans who came early and stayed for all three sets. Sadly, I find this is worth commenting on, but it was an essential part of a fun filled Monday night.
Quote of the Night: Someone in crowd after Jeff Beam's set... "Artie Shaw! Artie Shaw!"