For most punk bands, a show that inspires the pogo, slam dancing, and maybe even a chicken fight or two will do. But not for Plan R. Over the past couple of years, the Portland punk band and its fans have added a little more variety to its shows, adding such notable choreographed dances as the bobsled (Portland variation) and human bowling. While these dances didn't necessarily originate with Plan R, the band has kept them alive and well. Unfortunately, as the band stated in an email sent to fans in December, Plan R will call it quits in February due to what was termed a band member's "performance anxiety"—perhaps taking the dances with them. This might be your last chance to do these moves. Here's how:
While on tour in Canada with his old band, the Speds, Plan R vocalist Colin Grigson witnessed a Canadian band called Outcast Individuals pretending to ride in a bobsled during the Speds set. At the Meow Meow in early 2004, before Plan R's third show ever, Grigson taught his friends the step. As Plan R began to attract more and more people to their shows, they came to put their own stamp on the bobsled, and it became a Plan R show tradition, involving up to 70 people.
Step 1: One to four single-file lines will begin to form at the front of the stage. Join one and run in place, holding your hands out to your left as if carrying a bobsled.
Step 2: When the person in front of you sits down cross legged, do the same and put your hands on his or her shoulders. Lean side to side with your line to the beat of the music.
Step 3: This is where the Portland variation comes in. In the British Columbia version, everyone gets back up and runs in place again. But at a Plan R show, the bobsled ends in a dogpile.*
*THE SNOBSLED Those Grigson calls "TCTB" (too cool to bobsled) may be forced to lean back and forth in a line saying "Yanni" on one side and "I do not care for your crème tartare" on the other while the band plays a polka beat.
Turning the mosh pit into a more organized event, Plan R unveiled human bowling in December 2004 during a show at Davey Jones Locker in Southeast Portland. "Two people really hurt themselves," Grigson reports regarding the dance's debut, "so I decided we shouldn't do it again." Since then, performances of the dance have been spontaneously put on by the audience.
Step 1: Pin and ball selection. The 10 pins have to be toughest people available—as Grigson says, "You've gotta take a pummeling." The ball has to be someone small and capable of doing a forward roll.
Step 2: The pins sit cross-legged in a pyramid formation. The ball gets a running start...
Step 3: Somersault! The faster the ball rolls into the pins, the better it's going to work. A dogpile may follow.
Plan R is most popular among kids who ditch high school to listen to Discharge records, and such individuals tend to travel by skateboard. At Plan R shows, boards are stashed under the merchandise tables, with the band equipment, or simply line the bottom two feet of the walls. Grigson had heard that mid-'80s skate-punk band Aggression had attempted a skateboard mosh pit, so he decided to try it out in April 2005 at the new Davey Jones Locker.
Step 1: Grab your board. There may be a step or two preceding this such as "illegally procure and consume alcohol" (though Grigson, who is straight-edge, would skip those steps).
Step 2: Skate in a circle while occasionally pushing the others around you. This step can be surprisingly graceful—some skaters even manage to pull off a few tricks in the pit.
Step 3: Start pushing people really hard, staying on your board if possible.
Plan R plays with Clocked Bombs, Abnormals, and Wolfgang Williams & the Punk Rock Faggots Friday, Jan. 20, at the IWW Hall, 616 E Burnside St. 231-5488. 8 pm. Cover. All ages.