320 SE Second
between Oak and Pine
Wed. May 16
DJ Andy Smith
Thurs. May 17
Fri. May 18
Tickets at Fastixx
and local record stores
If our fair city needs anything as it dries up for a long hot season, it’s a club that will feature cutting edge tunes and a positive friendly vibe. B Complex, aside from being a nutritious part of a balanced diet, is the name of a new club with high hopes to fill that need.
B-Complex had a “construction party” weekend unveiling in April that featured Ninja Tune recording artist Kid Koala and his seven-piece band Bullfrog.
The shows were well attended and went off without a hitch, aside from some small difficulties and one big one. The club was open to all ages, but was supposed to have a temporary liquor license to serve drinks in a designated area. Then at the last minute, the OLCC pulled the temporary license, reportedly because they heard “hip-hop” music was being featured.
The club rolled with it and allowed re-entry for those of age while keeping minors in for the night. Quality sodas and juice were plentiful and attractive fruit and vegetable trays were the nicest patron-friendly touch I’ve seen in a long time. The sound system was powerful, the mix was good and all the overhead beams and pipes made the spot raw.
A large screen flanking the dance floor provided entertaining video loops to watch during DJ sets or bands. Low space-age lounge chairs scattered around curvy platforms provided a relaxation area.
The upstairs, complete with an outdoor smoking deck, was brightly painted but unfinished. Unfinished is what the club is still, or was on that weekend at least.
According to the hype,what it strives to be is an enlightened cultural utopia and hot spot. Upon completion, the people behind the complex aim to have a “multi level maxi-lounge, conceptual supper club, interzone caf퀌�, cultural center artcade and live music venue among other uncategorizable blah, blah, blah.”
In addition to music, they want to have magicians, performance artists, poetry, fashion shows and everything in between. The space and its sound system will be rentable by outside promoters for many events. Whenever the food and beverage menu surfaces, it should be interesting and will definitely be vegetarian/vegan friendly.
For the time being, though, there are just shows. Really good shows. The first of which is next week on Wednesday May 16 and features Germany’s Couch and DJ Andy Smith of Portishead. Couch is a downtempo instrumental electronic group along similar lines as Tortoise.
Andy Smith knows how to rock a room. Don’t expect anything resembling Portishead, but rather a party mix that goes from hip hop to rock and everywhere else. On his mix CD The Document he drops the Jungle Brothers, James Gang, Patsy Cline and Tom Jones. I danced myself to an exhausted frenzy when he was last here. Scott Hendy of England’s Purple Penguin will open.
Thursday’s May 17 show should also be good, especially for electronic music fans. Electronic artists Autechre, who’s music ranges from chunky beats to gurgling noise and combinations of the two, will headline. They’ve been called “intelligent dance music” by people who need to label.
I’m holding out for the final show of the opening weekend on Friday, May 18. Poet, MC, bandleader Saul Williams will be fronting a live septet, Portland’s 3 Leg Torso represents with their eclectic ethnic chamber sextet and That 1 Guy represents himself and his magic pipe (see article).
Williams starred in the indie movie “Slam” about a young man who escapes the grind of life and perils of prison through his writings and spoken word. He does his thing live with full band that throws down good texture of jazzy and danceable rhythms.
3 Leg Torso, a longtime local favorite, mix classical chamber music with contemporary and ethnic flavor. That 1 Guy is a one man band that makes a lot of crazy ass noise and sings funny ass songs.
The following weekend events at the Complex are the Crippled Circus Hot Wax Tour, an art cabaret featuring bizzare stage shows and props and multimedia visuals. Saturday will mellow out with reggae and dub from legendary DR. Israel and local dubwise groovers Systemwide.
The B-Complex shows all look good on paper. If they keep on happening, and their bookings stay the same, the complex will be another home for Portland’s most interesting and cutting edge shows. Hopefully these first ones will come off without a hitch and the OLCC will let us drink.