September 18th, 2007 5:33 pm | by Michael Byrne Music | Posted In: Columns

Traveling Light

plsMaybe you have and maybe you haven't noticed that my blog "byline" hasn't been on Local Cut in a really, really long time. It's because I've moved. Back in August I split town--only in theory, and then, the Sunday before last, physically. I'm now the Music Editor of Baltimore's City Paper.

I wasn't going to do a farewell post: It isn't my style. Everyone I thought would care about my leaving I said good-bye to in person.

But, former WW scribe Taylor Clark went and penned one of the most obnoxious, behind-the-times (seriously, how long did Slate have this in the hopper?) "tomes" to "indie-town USA" Portland I've read (and there have been a few.) I love this city--the place that after four and a half years, I'd come to refer to, confidently, as home--for so many reasons, and all Slate could come up with was a dull indie-rockstar swoon. It's like walking into a room and admiring the IKEA furniture while someone splits the atom in one corner, Hemingway's ghost lounges by the window, and a trio of chimps teach themselves calculus with a basket of stones on the floor. It's an ugly "missing-the-point" story that hit a nerve.

So, I made up a list of my own reasons why Portland's great, some more personal than others. They're things that happened while I lived there and some things that are still happening. I know we all have our own but, for the moment, I happen to have this here blog space. Love ya'. Bye.

Community Library/Paul Dickow
One of the most interesting, eclectic labels around, keeping Portland tied to its roots. Treasure it. And, put a ball and chain on Paul, the label's man-in-charge, and one of the most interesting producers--as Strategy--in the city, and beyond.

Curtis Knapp
Knapp cares so much about his label, Marriage, that he's going to hurt himself one day. It shows.

Former WW Music Editor Mark Baumgarten
Friend, mentor, and harshest critic.

Luomo/Strategy at Holocene last spring
Perhaps the best show I've seen since I've lived here. My legs were sore for days after. If I was on drugs, my head would have exploded.

(deserves a quiet night)

Virginia Cafe
For the better part of a year, Willamette Week's music section was planned in that large booth in back.

Seven-Ought-Nine parties
Quiet Countries, Blitzen Trapper, Boy Eats Drum Machine, T'ant, Ferocious Eagle, The Maybe Happening, Shicky Gnarowitz, Wilding, and the list goes on. I was the dude negotiating with the cops in his underwear at the last one.

One of the benefits of being a freelancer is that you have a lot of spare time to do crazy shit like ride freight trains up and down the West Coast.

Holocene put Portland on the map for touring electronic artists. This club's willing to take a chance on anything, whether it brings in fifteen people or three-hundred.

David Chandler
Chandler's schooled me proper about electronic music and "old" Portland. I think it was mostly grudgingly, but thanks still.

Fresh Pot (my office)
Audio Dregs
Getting slammed by Blitzen Trapper fans
Ceiling Songs
Scaling the Steel Bridge with Simms
Rocks glasses to the ceiling at O'Brien's with Mark and Amy

after finishing 2006's Best New Bands issue
The Portland Lounge Series photographed above with White Rainbow, Ethan Rose, and Ilyas Ahmed
BFF Vanessa

And a couple more that have occurred to me since I've moved:

Smooth pavement
Being able to walk late at night without having to constantly watch your back
good grocery stores

So, I'm leaving but not gone. Please keep me in your loop. I still plan on keeping up freelancing with XLR8R and Earplug. I want to know what you're up to. djbearears [at] gmail [dot] com

Travel Light,


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