September 26th, 2006 5:33 pm | by MARK BAUMGARTEN Music | Posted In: Columns

Hillstomp Headed to Northern Ireland

HillstompApparently the Transportation Security Administration is not only allowing some liquids back on flights, but they have also cleared "minimal gothic junkbox blues," an unstable substance that has been known to blow away entire clubs full of innocent Americans.

Now that I've made light of terrorism, onto the news.

Today Hillstomp, Portland's North Mississippi trance blues duo, packed away some of its self-described "minimal gothic junkbox blues" and jumped a plane for Northern Ireland where it will play two shows at the 8th Annual Open House Festival in Belfast (where, unfortunately, terrorism has too real of a history to be used as a cheap lead-in to a music story). The festival is devoted to roots music and takes place in Belfast's Cathedral District from tomorrow, Sept. 27, to Sunday, Oct. 1. This year organizers are showing a special appreciation to the sort of punk blues played by Hillstomp, whose gritty album The Woman That Ended the World earned the title of Album of the Year from Willamette Week last year.

In the Director's Welcome on the Open House Festival website, fest director Kieran Gilmore, calls our boys out and hits the nail right on the head:
Open House 2006 has left the beaten track and fallen in with some very bad company in a hill-country juke joint in the deepest reaches of North Mississippi. With a bottle of moonshine and a three string guitar we've gotten low down and dirty to some hillbilly, gut-bucket trance blues. This is real, raw, roots blues without all those boring guitar solos. Hill-country punk blues is a Clapton-free zone and bands like Hillstomp and the Agnostic Gospel Mountain Choir will help explode any preconceptions about what folk music is… or what it ain't. The Low Down Hoedown series is a postcard from this mad musical outpost.

Also appearing at Open House will be Portland's Foghorn Stringband, who are really a threat to no one, except maybe Reverend Shaw Moore of Footloose fame who, you will recall, thought that dancing was the gateway drug to other libidinous activities. Which it is. Which is why we love us some Foghorn.

Local Cut will be keeping up with the boys. Stay tuned.

Open House:
Foghorn Stringband:

Photo: Hillstomp's last live appearance before leaving, this past Sunday at Billy Ray's. Photo by Sam Soule.
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