Forest Park, Your Rival @ The Banana Stand
A study in contrasts at this house show, with Forest Park's moody, atmospheric post-rock segueing into Your Rival's right-on-target, so direct pop-rock gems.
Sunday July 31
Your Rival, Crush Hour, Jason Clackley & the Exquisites @ Laughing Horse Books
Jason Clackley has the songwriting chops and voice to make him a certain kind of household name at least on par with John Roderick (The Long Winters) and Sean Nelson (Harvey Danger), and maybe someday even Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie). Whether or not he takes the path of his fellow Washington state songwriters remains to be seen, as Clackley seems so far to operate with a punk d.i.y. ethos carried over from his days fronting breakbeat screamo outfit the Flex. Clackley has a loyal following among those who know him, as well as revere his art and musical politics. My frustration lies in wondering whether Clackley himself even wants to live out the great quote by the French explorer Jacques Cousteau, who said "When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself"—or whether he will remain content within the comfort of his current domain.
Monday August 1
Grandfather, Dr. Loomis, Street Plant @ Laughing Horse Books
Considering what a rare commodity all ages show spaces are in Portland, the fact that Laughing Horse Books hosts the occasional live show is a fact that should serve to only further endear the collectively run alternative bookstore to its followers (that's two dying business models in one, for those of you keeping track at home). Tonight was a good old-fashioned punk show featuring a reunited Street Plant, back together nonchalantly after a two-year hiatus. Street Plant guitarist Sam Yeaman got pushed into crowd surfing during Grandfather's rowdy, memorable performance. I moshed briefly for their set of hybridized mathy speedy post-hardcore. Drummer Nate Sonenfeld, who used to drum for the group but was tonight filling in, held everything down with his precise and firm kitwork, which is so strong that he barely sounds like he ever needs to be miced. For the group's final song, Sonenfeld brought the drums into the middle of the crowd, throwing and continuing to thrash the pieces. Footage of the show would have fit nicely somewhere in a Decline of Western Civilization sequel for the 21st century. No books were harmed.
Wednesday August 3
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside on The Late Show with David Letterman
From the life imitating art department: In the brilliant Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside video for "Dirty Radio" directed by Matthew Thomas Ross, Typhoon frontman Kyle Morton plays a talk show host who introduces Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside on TV. In the video, Morton's TV presenter echoes the habits and gestures of the iconic tv presenter Ed Sullivan and the group seeps through five decades of style. From 1948-1971, Sullivan hosted The Ed Sullivan Show and was responsible for presenting the first ever US performance by the Beatles, and countless other classic tv moments featuring artists ranging from Elvis Presley to The Doors to the Jackson 5. This week, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside and Typhoon both played at the theater in New York named after Sullivan in 1967, which now houses The Late Show With David Letterman. Pretty damn cool, right? Rumors of Typhoon's Letterman performance had been percolating since February, anticipation had built, and the Clinton Theater had been reserved for watching it on the big screen. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside's appearance, as a last-second replacement for the previously scheduled Blink-182, was a much quicker turnaround for excitement. While I wasn't actually at the Ed Sullivan theater this week, like a lot of Portlanders, and friends of the bands everywhere, these moments were must see appointment television. Wednesday night for Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, some roommates and friends and I gathered around the television mouths agape, jaws wide with paused laughter at the surrealism of the moment. After all, a little more than a year ago in that same living room where I was watching them play on tv now, Sound Outside guitarist Jeff Munger, backed by his bandmates, had played for one of my house's monthly brunches. Now here the four piece was joined by Paul Shaffer on keyboards, shaking the hands of one of my personal heroes David Letterman. All these words here could have more simply read: there are no words. Repeat after me: This is why we do this.
Thursday August 4
Ancient Heat, Reporter @ Holocene
9-piece live disco group Ancient Heat have an eerie yet funky onstage presence, dressed in identical clothes like some kind of house cult house band. Reporter, now a two piece featuring Mike McKinnon on machinations and Alberta Poon on breathy voacls, held court in the front room, smoke machine and danceable beats intact after all the changes they've put us through.
Friday August 5
The On AM Radio, Dntel @ Mississippi Studios
A perfect one-two punch of electric cool with which to come down from the week that was.