I’m in Portland. How bizarre. I certainly wasn’t planning on this last minute twist in the run up to day 100, but here I am. Yet, almost not. Check this shit out.
After a full day of traveling from NYC to Denver, then Denver to PDX, the pilot of the tiny express airplane I was on tried to land it, only to pull the nose up at the last minute and floor it – taking off again. I guess another plane hadn’t cleared the runway in time and…Jesus fucking Christ! This is how this is all going to end? Really? “Just get this fucking bird on the ground! I’ve got a project to complete!” is all I’m thinking.
He finally does, and my co-worker Matt and I grab a cab to the hotel, check in, and head out to meet up with our other co-worker Jerome. We meet him and some people who work out of the Portland office, and grab some drinks. Then, hit dinner at an amazing little French restaurant named Le Pigeon, right across the street from the venue. How amazing? Well, how’s pork belly and fois gras as a starter, and halibut with gnocchi and spring vegetables as a main sound? Delicious.
So, all day traveling, delicious dinner and now it’s time for music, just after 9:30pm. I’m hitting a bit of a wall at this point, having been up at 7am NY time, and it’s now about 12:30am NY time – but I have to power through. Before heading west for this impromptu meeting, my boss sent around an email to everyone in the Portland and NY offices. He said how my 100 Bands journey was nearing the end, and if anyone out here wanted to join me for a show to come along. So a writer named named Jimmy met up with Matt, Jerome and me for the show tonight at Doug Fir.
Below the venue is a restaurant and attached is a hotel, I think. The restaurant looks nice. The hotel looks like a motel. And the venue is fashioned to look like a fake log cabin – sort of. Which is totally cool, and made for great sound. When we walked downstairs to the venue, Six Organs of Admittance was already on. Six Organs is essentially one guy, Ben Chasny, with his acoustic guitar, at least that’s how it was tonight.
The records have more instrumentation, but tonight was super chill. Some songs are simple, interesting instrumentals in alternate tunings, while others have whispery vocals and later on in the show, musical accompaniment. It was mostly the first one though
The Japanese experimental/avant garde/psych-rock band Ghost was up after Six Organs, and they brought considerably more equipment. I didn’t know what was about to happen, considering there was everything from drums, keys, guitars and pedals galore to a flute, clarinet, saxophone, electro cello, and who knows what else – tons of weird gadgets and instruments I’d never seen in my life.
What happened was a sonic boom of noise/music with some Zep, Floyd, Mac, more noise, free jazz, free noise and whatever the fuck else mixed in. It was a hell of a trip that started out with a wall of noise, where they kept adding brick after brick after brick. Until it was just one huge, controlled mess.
Thing settled down after that and the majority of the set was 70s-sounding psych-rock. The guy on the left hand side of the stage was doing some of the more interesting things on stage. Maybe that’s because I’m a gadget freak, but he had the coolest toys. A sax, flute, clarinet, tons of effects pedals, a tambourine, and this weird oscillating remote control, with a huge antenna on it. I couldn’t quite figure it out, but it seemed like he could manually manipulate different instruments on stage with it. Pretty much making him the coolest guy in the band.
The set started to drag a bit for me, probably because my body was three hours ahead. Jerome and Matt had split about halfway through the show, totally exhausted. I was too, but had to stay. Jimmy was fine, but he lives here. Ghost finally wrapped up the set close to midnight. I called a cab immediately aftewards, not waiting for the encore, then thanked Jimmy for coming out and hanging, hopped in the cab minutes later (man, Radio Cab is fast) and was back at the hotel, in bed before 4am NY time.