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?
2/22 @ The Firkin Tavern: Old Age
Bim says: My kind of guys play in Old Age. They're out in Alsea, in the woods someplace, making music that talks like a hailstorm. After plenty of different arrangements—six drummers since their inception—lead wailer Matthew and bassist Dustin have found some kindred keys and one hell of a kit smasher. But even though this is the most capable Old Age I've seen yet, the magic has always been there. It seems to bubble up from a depth of experience that Matthew and Dustin have nurtured together—out there, on the creek with a fishing pole and your friend, that seems to be where all this is made so crisply realistic.
2/23 @ East End: Talkative
Bim says: Pretty sure I took this photo from the floor. I'd spent the last 10 hours emptying cans of High Life while filling up an eight-minute song—a collaboration between my band and The We Shared Milk—and by the time we got to East End, it became clear that the only recollection I'd have of Talkative's set would be what I was told the next afternoon, when I got up and cleaned the spare parts of a burrito off my bed: "I love it when you fall asleep in public places." My loving girlfriend.
2/24 @ Rontoms: Reva Devito
Bim says: Though Rontoms has maintained the most consistently killer, weekly free show series in town, they've done nothing about that jabbering clientele—a good number of whom may not ever realize that, on Sundays, bands play there and that they could be better received (on that one night of the week) by a host inclined to indifference. Despite those ones, the rest of us could not get enough of Reva Devito's incredible ability to, in every moment of every song, perform flawlessly.
2/25 @ Mt. Tabor Theater: Jolliff
Bim says: It was a night of discovery, and of joy in what was found. I'd expertly failed at making it to a Mt. Tabor Theater over the last several years. Shame on me. Tabor's got stacks of strange, black-lit, velvet painting style cartoons on either side of the reassessed stage that depict a tattooed female smoking a cigarette on the right side and a monkey wearing a fob that is staining on the hump of a two-headed camel. I hadn't heard of Jolliff when I came—I was on a mission to redeem myself from the last time I tried to see Talkative—and hell, it was an even better surprise than how much I liked Mt. Tabor Theater. Jolliff is filled with the kinds of things I like and I will definitely be snacking on their shows regularly now that I've tasted it.
2/26 @ Bunk Bar: Electric ILL
Bim says: Holy shit, Electric ILL was boss. A long-haired man with aviator sunglasses and a 12 string guitar—sometimes just Kevin and his mic, too—and a female singer who's no fucking joke on the mic. All that, plus appropriate (pre-recorded) synths, always beside a glorious cut of red-beat. This is technically what Electric ILL is, but we all know, it takes more than a sum. The levels of ILL in this set were exponentially multiplied by the ease of delivery and confidence in the theory they're proving.
2/27 @ Doug Fir: Sun Angle, Death Songs, Grandparents
Bim says: Every time I get to see Grandparents—which has averaged about once every three weeks since 2009, love that—they've added or changed something, and remarkably, those mutations have always been positive. This time it was a new drummer freeing up various members who used to share what had been a rhythmic burden but now is a HEMI spinning the bass forward. There were no silences—and no confused or dragging moments—and each song distinctly existed on its own accord, peeled back, and the next meticulous psych-movement would emerge, ripen, and shed. I really can't explain how pleasing it is to see a fully developed set like this one other than to say, "Grandparents, thanks."
What's Bim Seeing Next Week?
3/1 @ Backspace: Sama Dams, Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra, Tiananmen Bear, Amenta Abioto
This week's been packed with bands I know little about—this bill included, aside from Sama Dams—but what I do know with complete certitude is that Sama Dams is one of the best bands in Portland today. While outwardly subversive, technically skilled and theatrically endowed, Sama Dams is pretty much a ground-up type of project. That's a mind-full. Simply, these are buds that make up good music and have fun with it, but they happen to be better at that than is normal, or even reasonable to expect.
3/2 @ The Firkin Tavern: A Happy Death, Talkative, Eidolons, A Volcano
So what is I end up writing about some places and bands a lot, I really like those spots and jams. I missed A Volcano last time—due to my "real" life being rude to my realer life—and I'm not making that mistake again. Dammit! I am going to have to because I'll be in Eastern Oregon. Nothing shames it. This is yet another last chance to see this particular show, so to quote a Portland band, "Don't Fuck This Up" and while you're at it, Tweet me some Instagrams or whatever the kids are doing now.
3/3 @ Rontoms: Animal Eyes, Talkative
And then I saw Talkative every day for the rest of my life, and it was good. But seriously dudes, you can say "no" to a show here and there, and I promise they'll keep asking. They might like a chase, y'know. I've already touted these bands enough lately. It's free and the bands are boss: You know what to do.
3/4 @ Doug Fir: Divers, Broncho, The Blank Tapes, Jaret Ferratusco
The Blank Tapes have a really cool Bandcamp. Well, that's to say there's a mountain of music there and it's got that Burger Records fuzzy country-kush to it. I don't care for Divers much but I'll give any band a few chances to win. Oh man, if you listen to all the stuff the Blank Tapes have put out you'll feel really good about them coming to town and you getting to go see them. I sure am getting lazy with these things, huh? And I'm about to skip this Tuesday's one, 'cause there's nothing I wanna see that I can find.
3/6 @ Record Room: Pony Time, Stickers, Woolen Men, Memory Boys
Woolen Men are, and have been for years, one of the best bands in town. At first it was for their unmatched lo-fi abilities, best heard in their countless tape releases, and for the last year or so they've mastered it live as well. And they're teaming up with some of the best crunch beating its way out of Seattle: Pony Time. You haven't seen a show at Record Room yet? Here's your chance to see what it feels like when everyone involved gives a shit about doing a show for the sake of music.