Colonel Baianu's Garden of Oddities
A Wondrous & Strange Spectacular! Midnight Cabaret! Freaks!
Calling all kinkers, roustabouts, pinheads and devil babies--you need no longer feel alone. There's a strange musical circus rolling toward town. From the come-in to the blow-off, it promises to be unlike anything you've seen since Tom Waits fled to the Carpathian mountains with a mysterious spider lady known only as Spidora. Ladies and gentlemen, may we present this week's featured attractions:
* Reverend Glasseye & His Wooden Legs: Only the heavens know why Mrs. Glasseye's son fled his studies at a Massachusetts seminary for a life of criminal strangeness. Maybe it was because she named him Ignatius. Regardless, this Reverend-in-name-only now leads a ragtag troupe of beggars who clang, bang, beat, bleat and strum out songs that are, in turn, plucky tarantellas, crazed carnival romps or dirty country dustups. Glasseye tells his tales of wayfarers, murderers and sots with an operatically throaty warble, but if he could trade his lungs for a calliope, he probably would. In the meantime, it's your challenge to decide how many of these stories are true, and if you should alert the police.
* A Midnite Choir: This lapsed gang's mailing address may say Seattle, but with a vocalist who sounds like Dracula chewing on chalk--not to mention lyrics about necrophilia, vomiting and slave-driving goons--A Midnite Choir seems to hail from deepest Transylvania. Its humor is coffin-black, and its music an eerie melange of Waitsian inebriation and Nick Cave-styled cataclysms, full of rum-barrel drums, upright bass and brooding keyboards. We'll let the song titles speak for themselves: "The Drunken Elephant March," "Midget Caravan," "Happy Hour in Hell," "Suicide Waltz," and, lest we forget, the ever popular "Lobotomy!"
* The Dolomites: Our local hosts and longtime purveyors of a particularly potent brand of sonic snake oil. Once pickled Celtopunk outlaws, Steve Baianu and his mates have since sailed into exotic waters and returned with new gaffs and grifts to amaze (and quite possibly swindle) you. From deformed gypsy laments and grotesque folk to scurrilous sea shanties and bastard jazz, they have something sure to cure you--even if it's just a hogshead of whiskey. But what is that beast on the barbecue, and why do they want us to eat it? You pays your money, you takes your chances. John Graham (with help from Madame Zelda, mentalist)
Rev. Glasseye & His Wooden Legs, A Midnite Choir and the Dolomites play (with T-Minus) this Thursday at Satyricon, 125 NW 6th Ave., 243-2380. 10 pm. $7. 21+.
Turn Your Head and Cough
The Rephlex Tour checks electronic music's vital signs.
You can't swing a laptop without hitting geeks aspiring to fame in the electronic subgenre dubbed IDM. With the blossoming of "Intelligent Dance Music," the time is ripe for one of the U.K. labels that originated the style to send over its best.
Founded in 1991 by Richard D. James--a.k.a. the Aphex Twin--and Grant Wilson-Claridge, Rephlex Records has released techno luminaries µ-Ziq, Squarepusher, Bochum Welt and Seefeel. The label calls its music "braindance." And thus, the first-ever Rephlex U.S. tour, the Braindance Coincidence.
Poland's Bogdan Raczynski is probably the most spastic and geeky of the bunch. When he's not pummeling you with hyperspeed beats, he's warbling off-key in a language of his own invention. The effect suggests a deranged toddler run amok.
Finn Aleksi Perälä goes by the name Ovuca, and he's kind enough to spare the listener his singing. His songs whistle, whiz, click and whir, often layering chiming, haunting melodies over snappy, funky beats.
Ed Upton, a.k.a. Ed DMX, is the brain behind DMX Krew, a careful homage to '80s electro à la Afrika Bambaataa, Mantronix and Herbie Hancock. Think break dancing and classic video-game music; one DMX Krew song is based on a sample from the theme to Galaga.
And then there's Cylob, the beat-bashing, electro-spasm alter ego of Chris Jeffs. Historically, Jeffs has released his funky, twittering beat stuff as Cylob and saved his ambient meditations for release as Kinesthesia, but his most recent Cylob disc, Mood Bells, features Asian bells and gongs and not much else. His most notorious works, however, are pop ditties with vocoder vocals like "Cut the Midrange Drop the Bass," a song as deadly and infectious as Ebola. Ben Munat
The Rephlex Tour visits Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy Blvd., 282-9949, on Thursday, May 30. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
WHERE LOUD IS THE NEW LOUD
HISS and VINEGAR
OPERATION: KEEP THE DIVE ALIVE
After a spate of complaints from its Northeast Portland neighbors, Billy Ray's Neighborhood Dive is working to corral the squall from weekend rock shows.
Billy Ray's (2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 287-7254), beloved by rock fans for its "always free" shows, recently remodeled its second floor to highlight live bands and pack in more Pabst-swilling fans. But noise complaints to the Portland Police have put the Dive on the brink; if the bar receives an official noise violation notice, live rock could grind to a halt at the converted house.
On the advice of the city's noise-control office, bar manager Brinda Coleman had noise measurements taken during a show two Saturdays back. Coleman said meters showed noise outside the Dive between four and eight decibels above the post-10 pm legal limit of 50. Dive staffers began installing more insulation for the upstairs windows and doors last week.
Coleman says a police complaint prompted a recent Saturday-night visit from an Oregon Liquor Control Commission agent. (According to Coleman, a written "good neighbor" agreement between the bar and nearby residents stipulated that aggrieved neighbors should call the bar first instead of alerting officialdom.) Music had already wrapped up on the night in question, forestalling further complications.
Just because the bar hasn't been officially cited for noise violations, however, doesn't mean a certain chilling effect hasn't already set in. At least two bands booked for June weekends canceled their dates, essentially saying the noise battle at the bar wasn't worth the hassle.
Coleman hopes heavy window covers and new insulation will noise-proof the upstairs rock zone. "I just get tired of telling bands to turn it down," she says.
ROAD FEVER, AHOY
Sarah Taylor is sick of the state of music--and damn it, she's not going to take it anymore! "I'm really bored with mainstream bands," Taylor says. So the 19-year-old Portland State University student from Vancouver, Wash., is plotting her own traveling music festival, envisioned as a full-scale alternative to commercial "alternative" shindigs like the Warped Tour. Taylor proposes to sign up 30 or so unsigned bands and hit the road, touring major venues across the continent next summer.
Of course, she needs two things: bands and money. She's hunting potential sponsors while soliciting musicians' interest. Anyone interested in helping out or learning more should contact Taylor via email at email@example.com.
THE SAVAGE GUIGNOL OF CURRENT EVENTS
YOU CALL THIS GRATITUDE? After WW's obsequious little worm of a music editor genuflected like an altar boy to Blackalicious' new album in last week's paper, the Bay Area hip-hop group went and postponed its Portland and Eugene dates! Bastards! According to promoters, Blackalicious will hit the Crystal Wednesday, June 19, and tix will be honored then...Local songwriting stud Fernando won't have his forthcoming all-Spanish album, Justicia, in stores for some time yet, but the transplanted Argentinian already has plans for the album's proceeds. He's going to donate the scratch to a relief fund that provides medical supplies to underprivileged folks in his economically snafued homeland...Closer to home, seven bands, including the Speds and Electric Eye, play TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 29, at Blackbird. The bargain $4 "FredFest" show benefits famed rock-'n'-roll barber Fred Landeen. The host of KBOO's Life During Wartime show, Landeen has run into unspecified "bad luck" lately...So stick a crowbar in your wallet and help out, all right?
So we're at Defcon 1? We still want to know your music news and gossip. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.