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—whom 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.
WHERE'S BIM BEEN THIS WEEK?
2/8 @ Luce Loft in San Diego: Portland Cello Project
Bim says: After the first five days doggedly tracking on the future And And And album, it was time to go enjoy San Diego. The good news: list spots to see Portland Cello Project! The bad news: whoever books them hooked them up with in a faux-posh cement echo chamber, filled with rows of baby-boomers. Yes, I am arguing to see a classical ensemble at Bar Eleven, Soda Bar or another dim, glorious music hole resembling Portland's The Know. Even so, I'm enjoying the arrangements—musically, at least. I mean, what can you do? Old couples love these types of groups, but they also want "safe" environments. "Oh, look, Harvey, they didn't bother to change it at all in here, it's so interesting that they used to build boats in here." Jokes about aged sensibilities aside, there were great moments in this set, including an original song, sung and written by Radiation City's own Patti King, and a couple of well-adapted Radiohead jams.
2/13 @ Mississippi Studios: UUVVWWZ
Bim says: I'd been back in Portland for about an hour by the time UUVVWWZ started, so maybe my excitement was polished by simply being super stoked to finally be back home and at a show. Teal Gardner's vocal style loiters around both Merrill Garbus and Crass's Penis Envy, while her band pounds out Goo-ish youthful sonics. I did it, that thing where writers jam a bunch of old familiar things together as if to say, it's okay that readers are 20-30 years behind.
2/14 @ Rontoms for Rock'N'Roll Prom: The Cry!
Bim says: "The most exciting thing about going to local shows—specifically the shows where the whole bill consists of local bands—is rarely the headliner. In many cases, it's the opener. We could talk until logic flips upside-down, theorize some hack jab about them being more stoked to get to play, but this isn't science and thank art for that. The Cry! opened and was by far the best of the night. There's gotta be an algorithm for this phenomenon—get on that, Neil deGrasse Tyson! The Cry! is a band that already had serious '60s and '70s pop influences, so the Rock'N'Roll Prom was almost too good of a fit. You had me at the Turtles."
WHAT'S BIM SEEING THIS WEEK?
2/16 @ Blackwater Records: Long Knife, Mean Jeans, Bi-Marks, Big Eyes
Blackwater Records has been throwing killer all ages punk shows for years—first at their location on 20th & Morrison and now at their NE spot on Russell just shy of MLK—and this is definitely one of those shows. I've got this memory hammered in my mind of Bi-Marks at The Know with their lead singer being instantly consumed when they start, thrashing himself in a way that would be masochistic, if it didn't look so fun, falling headfirst into the cinderblock that was trying to keep the kick drum in place, but never missing a lyric, playing what hardcore was meant to be. The level of energy that will pour out of these bands in one night could power a city for a week. And to think, they convert regular pizza into such a thing.
2/17 @ Mississippi Studios: Animal Eyes, Sam Wagman, Ryan Stively
You ever wonder what it might be like if you were totally killing the game all the time and had a great band with your close buds that ripped? I'd bet something worth more than money that the Animal Eyes dudes could explain how that feels. They're the kind of band that is very serious about doing it for the right reasons—and it seems to have worked out swimmingly for them, given that you just don't see someone not enjoying an Animal Eyes set—but never letting reasons play their music for them.
2/19 @ Slabtown: A Volcano, Young Dad, Mythological Horses
Dear A Volcano: Where've you been hiding all this time? I like you a lot. I like your basement crunch, your hesitations, even, your crackling breaths and your wide noise. I'm a fool for not meeting you until now, let's make up for all the lost moments together: I promise to be at your shows from now on, you beautiful clump.
2/20 @ Bunk Bar: Mrs. Magician, Charts
Charts have been blacking-out and shirking perfection around Portland's basements, living rooms and venues for quite a while now. I personally think that they walk a line that has gone largely unnoticed—at least by a wide section of show-goers—that places them cuts above. No frills or fancy necessary, just straight-up real band songs. I could use a bunch of huge words to pigeonhole them, but they're better than that 'cause "Let's make some good songs" rather than "We're the new-new that'll crumble to the next new." Mrs. Magicians taps a similar keg, and it is good.
2/21 @ Mississippi Studios: Nucular Aminals, Stay Calm, For The Lash
Stay Calm may have seemed like an afterthought for Claudia Meza but dude, those songs with Jherek Bischoff are hauntingly better than any Explod Into Colors' jams. I'm not saying I'm right, but for my own ears and opinion, I'm infallible—so again I'm forced to love yet another Portland supergroup. Nucular Aminals: ghost math rips.
2/22 @ The Firkin Tavern: The We Shared Milk, Souvenir Driver, Radion
The Firkin Tavern for mayor! What a wonderful place. They've got it all—lottery, locals, liquor—and they do my favorite thing in the #PDXMusic world: free shows (that are booked by the headlining band) with a cut of the bar paid out to the bands. This formula has produced an alarming number of the truly extraordinary shows that I've seen in Portland, not to mention the countless bands that it has drawn out of basements and primed to play venues. So with that in mind, Firkin for mayor! P.S. The We Shared Milk is current'y doing a Friday night residency there and tonight's looking killer as well.