[LEFT FIELD] Maybe Monday isn't the best night to host an underground, experimental-music showcase, particularly one that starts wicked late. But a new weekly called Humans' Night has been getting folks into the brick catacomb of Branx until damn near closing time, transfixing them with artists whose names you've probably never heard.
It happened my first night there. Tired and turned off by some cutesy electro-pop band upstairs at Rotture, I headed down to Branx hoping for a drink and some dark seclusion (the two clubs share the bi-level space that once housed Loveland). Instead, I found myself in the midst of Humans' Night—named in response to Ladd's Inn's “Man's Night,” where only dudes get drink specials. It just so happened that one of my new favorite local acts, ambient glitch-hop project Gulls, was playing. And a similarly intriguing gentleman, Tony York (known as Audiocrip), was headlining. I spent the next hungover morning bumping glitched-out beats from Audiocrip's MySpace page, glad as all hell I decided to miss the last bus.
The night owls to thank for Humans' Night are John Root, a classically nerdish fellow who sports fabulous Coke-bottle glasses, and Spencer Doran. The pair started the month-old weekly as a freeform DJ night, and their own sets include anything from post-punk à la the Pop Group to dance queen Grace Jones, dub-disco to out-jazz. Doran says Humans' Night offers them an outlet for DJing where they don't have to “stress about BPMs or deal with [an] annoying, coked-up girl's Prince requests and all that usual DJ bullshit.” He adds, “[It was] just a way for our friends to all get together and drink for cheap with good records playing.”
“There [are] no rules,” Root throws in. “No real theme or audience we're catering to.”
And the live-performance aspect of the night is something that just “took off,” says Doran, after they began inviting local and touring acts to join them. Indeed: This Monday's Humans' Night (which will take place upstairs at Rotture) features local experimental stalwarts Smegma as well Seattle-based thrash-master Eric Ostrowski and the insanely prolific John Wiese—likewise a noise legend, and one who rarely visits Portland.
On this path, Doran's “took off” may end up an understatement. michael byrne.
Humans' Night presents John Weise, Smegma, Eric Ostrowski and DJs Spencer Doran & John Root Monday, Aug. 6, at Rotture. 10 pm. $5. 21+ Photo: Smegma, taken from teh band's MySpace.