Wednesday, September 14

MFNW - Day Three

Sharon van Etten bears her soul.

Sharon van Etten
Blitzen Trapper
@ The Crystal Ballroom

Glass Candy @ Branx

The Gaslamp Killer @ Rotture

Friday was all about Blitzen Trapper.  BT comes out of Salem, OR and has seen great success in recent years.  By now everyone is eager to see them blow up and make Oregon proud in the process.  It's not just that they're from Oregon, but they sound like Oregon too - Americana rock with storied vocals. They're kind of like a quirky Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  Anyway I wanted to catch them and especially Sharon van Etten so I headed to the NW part of town.  The Crystal Ballroom is a restored 1914 ballroom with a wooden "floating floor" that provides extra bounce to your two-step.  It is a mid-size venue and attracts some of the bigger names in the Portland area.  Weinland was finishing up when I came in.  They consisted of lots of screaming and a token long haired tambourine player.  (Eh, maybe I just wasn't in the mood.)

   Sharon van Etten was next up and flat out blew me away.  It took me a little bit to get over her full band set up (I had only seen her play solo), but then it became apparent that her companions were matching the musical backdrop to her emotional crooning.  They became an extension of herself and her hurt.  I felt like we were all witnessing something very personal and that, perhaps, we should all leave and let her go through her suffering in private.  I am not the only one when I say I really hope she has a long and successful career (She did just sign to Jagjaguwar).  She has a pretty awesome story too: after a rough breakup in Tennessee she moved back in with her parents in New Jersey, recorded a demo and happened to get a chance to hand it off to TV On the Radio's Kyp Malone.  Surprisingly he listened to it and loved it.  The rest is history.  Highly recommended.
   Blitzen Trapper put on a good show and must have a loyal following, because a few people were singing along and doing some serious dancing.  It's feel-good music.  Definitely scouring through their discography for roadtrip tunes.  My experience was slightly hampered by standing next to quite possibly the drunkest duo in history.  About halfway through the show (and 48 beer spills later) I figured I had gotten the gist and looked around for something else.

This guy is clearly loving it.  Glass Candy at Branx.
  As it turns out "something else" was just across the river in a warehouse where a hundred huge balloons were being tossed around to mediocre disco.  The act was Portland's own Glass Candy.  All I will say is that the pictures make it look better than it actually was.
  The real reason I came to this part of the town was to see Los Angeles' Gaslamp Killer.  A raucous Hip-Hop DJ that samples everything from Dr. Dre to Sonic the Hedgehog, TGK is like an ADHD kid's dream.  I swear he never stayed on one song or groove for more than 30 seconds.  It was exhilarating and fascinating at times to try to figure out what he was sampling and how it all fits together, but if you stick around for too long you start to think that this is what it must feel like to be inside the brain of a meth addict.  Nonetheless it really hit the spot after a lot of acoustic-driven music at the Crystal.  I was in the mood for some heavy bass.

The Gaslamp Killer

On the way out I heard some hyphy music coming from down the alley which turned out to be a girl dancing atop a large mobile speaker with a green spotlight pointing skyward.  She was surrounded by about ten latenighters all dance-walking through the streets.  I think it was the Freegan's version of MFNW and I thought, "Well you don't see this everyday."  So I joined them.

Sharon van Etten - Much More Than That
Sharon van Etten - One Day
Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer
The Gaslamp Killer myspace

Images: Noel

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