Doing it alone

Bob Log III
Frankfurter and the Hot Dogs
King Louie One Man Band
125 N.W. Sixth Ave.
$8/ Fastixx
21+ w/ID

There are guitar-wielding folk singers. There are solo acts that employ technology to back them up. Then there are one-man bands. Take a little vaudeville panache, add some Southern-fried blues soul, and throw in a little hardware store ingenuity. Now you can imagine Satyricon’s Wednesday night line-up.

Maybe it’s the difficulty in actually keeping a band together, or the economics of rock that motivates them. Maybe it’s the ease of touring when it’s just you. Maybe it’s purely the challenge of filling up space with just two hands, two feet and your big mouth, but all three performers generate an exciting and lovable racket their own damn selves.

Headliner Bob Log III claims to have lost his hand at a young age in a boating accident and had it replaced by a monkey paw. He makes this claim with a straight face while wearing a sparkly motorcycle helmet with a microphone attached to it while his two feet pound away on a bass and snare drum. His guitar style might be called primitive or maybe even sloppy.

He would probably take that as a compliment. But his trashy blues strumming and fuzzed-out vocals manage to sound bigger and better than most four-piece bands. His latest release, Trike, on Mississippi label Fat Possum shows an artist that respects the Southern musical tradition but also isn’t afraid to challenge convention. And his live show is always entertaining.

Frankfurter and the Hot Dogs is yet another project for local guitarist Natron. Both his usual Wednesday night old-school blues engagements at downtown Dante’s and his rock combo the Natrons are always worth seeing, but with Frankfurter things are decidedly lighter. Imagine a man hamming it up in a giant Styrofoam hot dog suit. It’s true.

But the evening’s true wildcard is King Louie. The Portland-by-way-of-New Orleans madman is something of a legend hiding out here in the Northwest. Consider him our own Hasil Adkins bringing the sounds and culture of the South to Portland.

Louie can probably tell you more about gumbo, cheap beer and dating Southern girls than you ever need know. Add to that a working knowledge of truck parts, the legal system and how to set up a European tour and you have got a pretty potent combination. I just wouldn’t introduce him to your mother. You can take the boy out of New Orleans, but you can’t the New Orleans out of the boy.

Last fall saw the release of his debut, Jesus Loves My One Man Band, and yet another European tour. King Louie live is a spectacle to behold. Red-faced and hollering, he pounds the guitar and works the harmonica while keeping the backbeat with pedals wacking everything from maracas to coffee cans to his beat-up bass drum. And if there is a master of the cowbell, Louie might just be him.

The sun is finally coming back out here in Portland. I cannot think of any better occasion to throw on some barbeque, get a cheap case of something watery and domestic and maybe throw some horseshoes. Then stumble your ass on down to Satyricon for some cultural enlightenment.