April 25th, 2008 5:33 pm | by NILINA MASON-CAMPBELL Music | Posted In: Columns, Live Cuts, Columns

Guidance Counselor and the Death Set at Backspace, April 23, 2008

1IMG_9307Wednesday night, while Hot Chip were singing backwards live at the Crystal Ballroom (at least during the Brit quintet's song "Wrestlers") and Brace Paine's new club night Situations was launching at Dunes, Guidance Counselor was busy opening for The Death Set at Backspace. The dream-catching dreamboat hit the stage around ten (and just before my arrival). Turning the corner onto 5th to reach the all-ages venue, I heard the beats before I saw the show, and they were big enough to not only fill the venue, but spill onto the streets through Backspace's open front door. If I wasn't already planning to attend, the streaming sound was easily enough of an incentive to bring me in.

Even though I've seen Ian Anderson, the solo crusader that is Guidance Counselor, a number of times, I hoped for him to utilize a loop pedal whenever he picked up his guitar to instantly free himself up. For what, you ask? Well, maybe to have a freak out down on the ground to try and rouse the self-aware audience into participation—or at least draw them nearer the stage. It's a lot harder to watch someone rolling around on a stage seven feet away than right at eye level. So while that floor thing, predictably, never happened, there was plenty of upright dancing on Guidance Counselor's part, and his repetitive moves coaxed smiles (and a few pairs of dancing feet) from the far-away crowd. I'm noticing this a lot at Portland shows, this assumed need to give bands a plethora of personal space in intimate venues like Backspace. They don't need it, let's reverse the trend!


Oh! Almost forgot! There was some dream-weaving to be had! No, not Dreamweaver software, you Backspace nerds, actual dreams! Between songs, Anderson played back some of the dream interviews he's recorded with MySpace friends and co-workers.

The Death Set, a banging Baltimore quartet currently slated to support Girl Talk on his next North American touring adventure, was next up. If the audience wasn't going to come to the band, the Death Set would go into the audience—well at least the two members who had semi-portable instruments. To put the band's uber-fun take on punk simply, my first reaction was "this band is what the Black Lips should be." And I love the Black Lips! Once I really thought about that quip, though, I realized that the Black Lips and the Death Set are two entirely different bands—as they should be—but there are definitely some youthful parallels to be made. I now know what double-bill would make my dreams come true.

In between each Death Set song we were treated to clips of Prince and Spank Rock songs. So if you're not coming for the foursome's music, you still get a mini DJ set between its own songs.

The Death Set:






Guidance Counselor:







The Death Set
Guidance Counselor
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