Bim Ditson goes to more shows than you. Don't feel bad: He goes to more shows than just about anyone. And sometimes, he takes pictures with his cell phone. In this new column, we're letting Bim—who you might know as the drummer for garage-pop misfits And And And—show you where he's been and who he's seen this week, and tell you where to go and who to see in the week ahead. You should take his advice. After all, he goes to more shows than you.
WHAT DID BIM SEE LAST WEEK?
Bleach Blonde Dudes @ Slim's, 1/25
Bim says: "Entering St. Johns feels a lot like leaving Portland: You're no longer directionally dictated by a river and who you know. Enter Slim's and it's suddenly difficult to find someone who is trying harder than it makes sense for them to try, beyond the pretension DMZ. I felt silly Instagramming and Tweeting. Initially, it'd be easy to write off Jon Timm of Bleach Blonde Dude's theatrically-driven, wig-adorned tomfoolery. A few songs in, though, you might tame your judgments—if you can get past the lead vocals being run through what sounds like something that'd be called a "Helium Pedal." The theme reveals itself soon enough: BBD are not odd sounding for shock value, or some sort of musical punchline-comedy. No, this is smarter: satirical, self-aware, completely and refreshingly a certain kind."
Bim says: "I was talking to my mom about Jackson Browne—she's been seeing him live for like, 30 years—and we openly wondered: What makes live shows at higher levels live up? They're doing this every night—often for months on end—so of course they'll play the songs well, but playing your songs right does not a rad show make. So why do I feel like I'd never be bored at a Father John Misty show? It's the approach. It seems like the show you're seeing is self-contained—alternately with the Walkmen, where you might feel like you're seeing just one of 30 shows they'll play on that tour—as if to be compartmentalized, in case something goes wrong because the plan IS to get carried away. I'm not saying that the Walkmen weren't worth seeing, but we already talked about what just playing your songs well does not make."
Eidolons @ Bunk Bar, 1/29
Bim says: "This kind of voice makes you understand the difference between being trained, and being born with it. Eidolons summon a subtlety that you may not hear at first, and they're unwilling to force feed it to you by using the known methods—extraneous dynamics, dissonance for the sake of dissonance, or any of the other dull indie tools—because if what made Eidolons themselves was very clear, they'd just be another radio-ready band that's easy to have waning crush on and does well after moving to L.A."
Yours @ Holocene, 1/30
Bim says: "Normally Holocene suffers from the same chronic condition as many Portland venues: people don't dance. You probably have an image in your head—maybe of sweaters and large glasses in front of small minds—but, I don't blame individuals for not shaking what they have. I think it's more to do with something I'd call song-purity—not to ignore that possibly, Portland listeners and show-goers just get such an overwhelming amount of rad bands and shows plopped on their laps, that they're simply too spoiled to boogie. Yours distills the clear honest joy that they seem to take in making songs, and with it, can quickly turn a juxtaposed few in front who dare to physically express, into just a few of the pulsing masses."
Death Songs @ Holocene, 1/31
Bim says: "Death Songs has arrived. The release of one of Portland's future classic albums, Sung Inside a House, and the addition of an unstoppably talented and goofy bassist, this solo project turned two-piece turned three-part group has finally turned in its transitional air for a brand new pair of wings."
WHAT'S BIM SEEING THIS WEEK?
2/2 @ Wonder Ballroom: Maltball 2013
I know that this thing has already been shoved at you a lot, I know that it's a total faux pas and a not-so-interesting conflict for me to tout a show that my band is playing. But come on, look at the bill! Think of it this way: There are 12 bands here. Assuming you know about eight of them, you're going to discover four new rad bands in one day. Or this way: You only recognize three of these bands? Even better, you get nine new bands in your life!
This'll crescendo nicely with the power-duo Bear & Moose ripping the carb off to inject their drum fills more directly. Plus you'll need to shake the weight off after eating the whole family sized bag of Doritos while watching Beyonce lead the break between the groups of large men in tights competing for a shiny piece of metal.
2/4 @ Bunk Bar: VioHazard, Electric iLL
This one came out of nowhere, and I like. VioHazard is categorically a supergroup and I'd expect greatness from them, featuring members of Talkdemonic, Street Nights (who, all of a sudden, are the busiest dudes in town after a seemingly endless hiatus) and New Pioneers. Plus, I'm hearing rumors of double drums? I'd be pressed to know if Electric iLL is what I think it is; seems to be the only cool rap-rock group ever made.
I don't know if you've ever treated yourself to an Aan show at Mississippi Studios, but you should. Feels like: if your ears were cheating on all the other sounds they've been seeing, and they were morally bankrupt enough to be shamelessly there then.
If you want to start to understand the shifting geography of Portland music there couldn't be a better way than to watch every Into The Woods video—that's pretty much how I made the leap into being obsessed with #PDXMusic—such as the recent blastings of FF giving slightly less than a fuck, in the way we kids just can't get enough of.
Everybody thought that Slabtown was gonna close. Don't they know anything about things that are old and still punk? Slabtown's too far gone to leave. The tags that Youthbitch put on their Bandcamp for the ripping teenaged refusal album Don't Fuck This Up sum up this show best: "Garage, Garage, Punk Pop, Punk Rock, Jennifer Aniston, New Wave, Power Pop, the Bible, Portland." Yep, this wont be overly serious or very good for your health, but we'll have fun.