Ah Holly Fam’ly and Tu Fawning put on a beautiful opening show (their sets split up by The Lord’s Own Choir, who performed a superb folk cover of Psycho Killer). And then a Planet Earth film on birds flickered to life on the big screen (I should have known). I had the privilege of seeing this Glacial Pace artist perform at that label’s showcase at the Crystal Ballroom last fall, the sound was terrible unfortunately. It was such a treat to see him play again in the appropriate setting and watch him drop magic lullabies on a mesmerized crowd.
If you could cram everything that is awe-inspiring about Portland into roughly one cubic foot of space that space would be the inside of a cello. My first chance to see the Portland Cello Project was lost in the chaos and haze that was MFNW 2009. Ironically, I just saw this local gem for the first time last weekend in Tri-Cities, WA. And missed most of the show. However, after just a short listen I am renewed in my appreciation for the talent of this group and my determination to see them play an entire show one of these days.
Yet again I went to a show not expecting to hear groundbreaking music from the opening band. World’s Greatest Ghosts produce such fun, heartfelt, and high-energy indie rock I really didn’t know what to expect from their support. I was genuinely surprised to hear music that was simultaneously catchy and avant-garde. Tempo No Tempo have the gift of being able to be experimental and improvise on stage without making you feel like a yawning bystander at a jam session. They manage to combine elements of no wave and lo-fi without sounding like pretentious performance art. I’m excited about music again.
When I left the house the other night to see CFTPA play a show at Backspace there was no way I could have known I would be blown away by the opening act. Tragos Amargos plays the kind of music you might hear drifting out of a cheap old radio if your life was set in some paradisaical location for a film from the 1940’s. Seriously talented vocals poured softly over energetic and elegant guitar, ukulele, and accordion. Between this incarnation and their better-known project, Y La Bamba, these Portland musicians are now among my favorites in the local scene.