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September 12th, 2001 Willamette Week Music Staff | Music Stories
 

Music news, views and plain ol' bad attitudes.

     
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PREVIEW
Deutsch Bags
Your Guide to the Beer and Music of Oktoberfest 2001 (Portland Branch).


Ah, Oktoberfest: plump frauleins, tuba bands, miles of sausage, seas of malty goodness.

The real deal, Munich's legendary annual bacchanal, began in 1810 as a giant stag party for Ludwig, Crown Prince of Bavaria, before he tied the knot with Princess Therese. This little nuptial feast is now a happy atrocity 16 days long, the average 6.5 million attendees all amply wasted on 6 million liters of beer.

While it might seem strange to reenact the bachelor party of a dead heir to a defunct monarchy, bear in mind that Oktoberfest also descends from a long tradition of harvest festivals, coinciding with the return of brewing weather after the hot summer months when brewing was not possible. With new beers on the way, the pressing need to finish off the Marzen ("March") lagers brewed for summer consumption offers yet another excuse for Oktoberfest.

In the face of centuries of accumulated old-world tradition, Portlanders can only try to keep up. Being a beer-sodden bunch in our own right, we do a pretty good job. The coming weeks offer three mini-Oktoberfests in the Portland area, some more traditional than others. This weekend, Portland Brewing calls in the accordions and folk-country groups to entertain an expected 10,000 schnitzel-eaters. South of Portland, the town of Mount Angel and its eponymous brewery are swarmed by crowds from across the state. Next weekend, Oaks Park plays host to a Fest organized by the Rheinlander restaurant.

Let's begin a quick preview with...

THE BEERS:

Modern Marzen-style lagers are generally the biers of choice at Germany's Oktoberfest, though some breweries simply strengthen their standard lagers. Spaten and Paulaner, from Munich, are recommended to those who might want to try a DIY, traditionalist Fest. Ayinger also produces a nice Marzen.

Locally, Portland Brewing serves Uncle Otto's Oktoberfest, a burnished orange lager with a cereal-like, crunchy-malt aroma, a smooth body and a toasty finish. Mount Angel's main Biergarten serves only Coors (to arms!) and Beck's (German for caramel-colored lager), but the Microgarten and Weingarten offer more respectable options, with a decent range of German beer, including Optimator, Spaten's mammoth malty Doppelbock.

Oaks Park provides this 2001's only chance to drink Full Sail's mighty Oktoberfest, not released in bottles this year. Spaten will also be available for purists.

Which brings us to...

THE MUSIC:

With three stages, Portland Brewing provides the widest variety of music, from the traditional oompah bands on the mainstage to the inspired Brit-blues of Graham Parker, soaring Texan country of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Polkacide, and Those Darn Accordions, the world's most rock-and-roll polka band. The Countrypolitans make a great change from the oompah-pah with their rockin' roots country on Friday. The Dolomites play their accordion-led carnival-music Saturday evening.

Neither Mount Angel nor Oaks Park can compete with the name-recognition factor of Portland Brewing's music lineup. However, the Rheinlander's party by the Willamette will feature an array of traditional German folk in addition to the brats and biers. Mount Angel has also assembled a fine trad-minded lineup for its four stages, even going so far as to round up a Master Yodeler.

For those who can't spring for a ticket to Deutschland for the original, these local fests will certainly do, and do quite nicely. Prosit! Abram Goldman-Armstrong

Mount Angel's 36th Annual Oktoberfest, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 13-15. See www.oktoberfest.org for more information and directions.

Uncle Otto's Oktoberfest at Portland Brewing, 2730 NW 31st Ave., 226-7623.
5-10:30 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, noon-6:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 14-16. $8 Friday and Saturday, $6 Sunday.

Rheinlander Oktoberfest at Oaks Park,
Foot of Southeast Spokane Street, 236-5722, 11 am-11:30 pm Friday-Saturday.
11 am-7:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 12-23. $4.

 

A SPICY STEW OF GOSSIP, FACT, CONJECTURE AND OPINION
hiss & vinegar

THE STANDARD STEPS UP BIG-TIME

The life of a touring musician is never an easy one--and that's before the van tips over.

Every road warrior's worst nightmare unfolded for Austin singer/songwriter Chris McFarland and his band last Wednesday, as they rolled their van on I-205 while en route to Seattle. McFarland and company are in the Northwest to support As If To Lay To Rest, his new album on Portland label In Music We Trust.

No one died. The damage was bad enough, though. McFarland sustained a concussion and was rushed to an emergency room from the scene of the crash. Also bound for Clooneyland was drummer Jonathan Ribble, who spent a day and a half hooked to a respirator with a collapsed lung.

Meanwhile, though weak, in pain and disoriented by the concussion, Valium and anti-swelling meds, McFarland displayed the guts of a true performer and carried on. He and bassist Josh Bandi, who sustained only minor injuries in the smash-up, played their gig scheduled for that Friday at Dante's.

The group's van was totaled in the wreck, leaving Bandi and McFarland no way to return to Austin. So the duo and IMWT prez Alex Steininger decided to take up a collection at the show. Enter The Standard, the buzz-heavy Portland indie band that shared the bill with McFarland's truncated outfit. The quartet ponied up its entire share of the club's cover charge to help out their stranded brethren. Unable to fly because of his respiratory injury, Ribble must return to Texas via Amtrak.

WOODSY COPS BUST FOREST "RAVE"

According to organizers, a modest electronic music party drew a cadre of about a dozen state and federal officers to a patch of National Forest land 20 miles east of Estacada on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Beaverton-based musician/producer Aaron Funk (also known as Spectre VII) and some friends planned a gathering of about 50 people for the publicly owned parcel. According to Funk, the organizers believed that, because they weren't planning on exceeding a 75-person Forest Service limit for unpermitted events, they didn't need an OK from Smoky and the boys. And indeed, what could be the harm in some live music at a location already frequented by motocrossin' locals?

Such was not the view of the Fuzz, which arrived in the form of six Oregon State Police cars and a pair of Forest Service cars at about 7:45 pm, just as Spectre VII wrapped up a set. According to Funk, a couple of dozen people were on hand for the festivities.

"I was met by a woman...who introduced herself as a federal officer, and the first words out of her mouth were, 'Since this is obviously a rave, we're going to shut you down, and probably confiscate your equipment,'" Funk recounts. After a few verbal go-rounds, Funk ended up with a $250 ticket for "Unauthorized Use of Federal Land." He says he plans to fight the citation, on the grounds that his party was too small to require a permit.

"I'm a professional musician with five albums and worldwide distribution," Funk says. "I was treated unprofessionally, like a criminal, from the get-go."

FROM THE GOSSIP GRIND

Are the Murder City Devils throwing in the towel? A greedy-eared tipster passes on street whispers saying the black-clad and tattooed Seattlites will end their dance with the Evil One with one last show on Halloween. The Devs are slated to play with American Steel and Botch at the Crystal Ballroom on Oct. 30. Your last chance to see them? Or is this just more idle chatter? Time will tell.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH

Wristbands for Musicfest Northwest, the WW-sponsored, hometown-proud festival that takes over 13 clubs Sept. 20-22 are on sale at Music Millennium and Fastixx outlets for $20 apiece.

WEEKLY CORRECTION DEPARTMENT

Last week's item on Jezebel's misstated the former name of the Southeast Portland nightclub. The place was once known as Parchman Farm.

So you dated Michael Stipe too? Email hiss@wweek.com.

 
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