Rose For Bohdan
Books On Tape
Thursday, Feb. 6
715 N.E. Broadway
9 p.m., free, 21+
Friday, Feb. 7
Red and Black Caf퀌�
2138 S.E. Division
9 p.m., $4, all ages, beer and wine served
I really don’t know how to start this story. I was thinking about starting it like this: Portland is a city where you can’t swing an anti-war sign without hitting someone in a band. I don’t want to give the impression that there should be fewer democratic exercises of free speech or band hitting, though. Music may be the only thing keeping us alive as society crumbles around us. (Note the gloominess, a very wintry, rock ‘n’ roll way to start a rock ‘n’ roll preview, eh?)
Always one to do as little work as possible, I turned to a true embodiment of d.i.y. (do it yourself, the indie rock/punk mantra) and a local rocker who happens to be the subject of this story, one S. Brooxx, a.k.a. Large Father, a.k.a. Minmae.
He growled something about “a freakshow in a freak joint across the street from freaky fast food Taco Bell. Everyone involved in this has been genetically modified, just like the hard taco shells.”
Not a bad introduction, right? A little wit, some social commentary and directions to tonight’s show (It’s across from Taco Bell on N.E. Broadway and Seventh).
Brooxx embodies the spirit of DIY ethics and the music scene in our musically rich puddle. He puts out his own music, works it on the Internet via creativecompute.net/airbornevirus and sets up a double header for our pleasure this weekend.
Brooxx knew of some great bands coming to town, Books On Tape and Rose For Bohdan, and thought it would be peachy if his band, the super-sonic pop act Minmae, could share a beer-soaked carpet with them. Did he contact the lovely independent bookers and promoters around town to call in a favor and have them say, “uhhh, who?” Hell no! He set up a double header: Thursday night at the 715 Inn, a northeast dive tavern gone unlikely-but-decent music venue, and Friday at the Red and Black Caf퀌�, a southeast coffee shop serving up progressive politics with your organic soy mocha (plus beer and wine for the bigger kids).
Now that this story is officially started, lets say something, shall we? Rose For Bohdan is Brian Miller and his girlfriend, Grace Love, who hail from Los Angeles via San Francisco. They are on a winter tour. R4B (a convenient nickname) are indie rock, noise, theatrical and electronic all at once. Indeed, R4B may have a little something for every hipster to get into.
Miller also runs the label Deathbomb Arc, which has just released the compilation CD Why Is Anything Forbidden?: A Tribute to No Limit Records, which features bands like Minmae and Figurine covering hip hop songs from Master P’s influential label.
Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t believe that last paragraph either if I hadn’t held the CD in my hand. It’s a tribute to No Limit that sounds nothing like gansta rap. Utterly beautiful this world is.
Deathbomb Arc recently released Books On Tape, which cut the rugs this weekend as well. Books On Tape’s Todd Drootin describes his laptop stylings as “beat punk.” “Yeah, it’s beating and its punking all the way,” Brooxx assures.
“They bring the lo-fi from indie and fuse it with the beat stylings of current booty music. You gotta love it,” he said.
I already do, and apparently MTV did too. They’ve chosen some of BOT’s music for the MTV’s “Real World.” Let’s hope they feature it in one of those really uncomfortable scenes where people are crying, yelling, showering, making out or performing a combination of any two actions.
Ahhh, the real world, which brings us not too far from Minmae, whose e-mail moniker is “fakeminmae” because they share a name with some sort of Japanese animated monster. After four years of various incarnations and recordings in the trenches of San Diego and San Francisco, “all the while with members mingling in and out like so many drunks at the after-party,” Brooxx recalls, Portland, Oregon is Brooxx’s and Minmae’s residence.
Minmae create hypnotic guitar driven trio pop with occasional schizophrenic outbursts, metal posturing and offbeat reggae riffs.
Live experimentation and spontaneity have long been staples of the bands frenetic song structures, pop sensibility, and sophistication brought in by dapper young bassist Josh Kempa and fresh faced, no-bullshit drummer Ben Moro.
Brooxx says a Minmae set generally consists of new wave guitar-pop songs, country ballads, epic drones and “psychedelic somnolence.” A working man’s man, Brooxx wants to “hit the peremptory hammer of rock.” I can never make too many of Brooxx’s throaty croons but her assures me that like the real world, Minmae songs deal with lyrical topics of “misunderstanding, anxiety, bliss, perception and contemporary existentialist problems.” Thank goodness for that, whatever it all means. I’m so glad I don’t have to write these things.