When you live the life of a jet set journalist the perks are plentiful. The free tickets to hot shows, cool CDs, screenings of all the best movies before anyone else gets to see them, the list goes on and on. In short, the best of everything just falls into your lap. Sometimes, however, in this world of freebees and friendly promoters, even the best journalist must dig a little deeper in order to get the word out about quality entertainment.
Case in point, the free shows at Reed College. Reed may seem like the kind of place that a lowly Portland State University student might shy away from. Not so, the free shows at Reed are for everyone, even the cool kids from PSU. Some may wonder why a musician would want to play a free show, the reason is simple; Reedies have lots of money. They can pay a band plenty to come and rock the Student Union.
The ride out to Reed on the Tri-Met bus was lonely, but the show was worth the trip. It is not easy to find the building in the dark but those with a keen ear and eye can eventually sniff it out. The Student Union building at Reed looks like the Stone Cutter’s lodge from “The Simpsons,” only filled with old furniture, hippies and lots of cool kids. The folks out at Reed aren’t super-friendly or inviting, but who needs a welcome wagon when the show is free?
Dallas group the Deathray Davies, who will be touring with Dressy Bessy through mid April, was a big draw in its own right. One reveler commented to another that the Deathray Davies sounded like they “should be opening for Weezer or Green Day.” While they both concurred that this was indeed the case, only one of them thought this to be complimentary.
The music sounded especially polished but had an infectious style with catchy hooks and a very upbeat sound. This band could easily end up opening for a big band because they possess a sound that appeals to the masses.
Dressy Bessy closed the show with an energetic set that included most of the songs from their new album SoundGoRound. The name of this band evokes thoughts of little girls in ruffled clothing and Mary Janes, but the sound is not syrupy. Their songs have a catchy danceable quality. The last song which had the audience dancing with brilliantly uninhibited excitement.
Dressy Bessy already has a large fan base due in part to their inclusion on the soundtracks for both “The Power Puff Girls” and “But I’m a Cheerleader,” but they have a nicely imperfect quality that makes their sound charming as opposed to slick and overly polished. Both the Deathray Davies and Dressy Bessy have a solid sound, but while the Davies seem to be aiming for the charts Bessy aims straight for the heart. Sappy sentiments aside, the show was great fun and you would be wise to pick up a copy of either band’s new album.
Shows at Reed College offer a few positive reasons to jump in the car or on the bus. The venue is appropriate for all ages as they do not serve alcohol on the premises and the show is free – this cannot be stressed enough. There is no reason to waste $7 on a show in a smoky bar that may in fact blow when you can get the same thing at no cost. If the show is dreadful, you have only lost your precious time.