Playing against domestic violence

DaisyChain Music Fair
Mt. Tabor Theater
4811 S.E. Hawthorne
11 bands per night
21 and over
$10-15 Fri & Sat
$7-10 on Sun

An unprecedented 55 female acts are invading Portland’s Mt. Tabor Theater this week during the annual DaisyChain Music Fair. It started on Wednesday night, and runs through Sunday. Twenty-two local bands have already come and gone through the festival, leaving another 33 to rock through the weekend.

This year’s fair is the largest gathering of female-fronted acts ever staged in the state of Oregon. Why go to so much trouble? The DaisyChain Music Fair is a benefit concert which replenishes the Women’s Safe Passage Fund. This discretionary fund fights violence against women by providing short-term shelter for women in transition, and supports women with non-medical needs. The fair’s artists are all donating their talents for the cause, and all proceeds go to the Old Town Clinic. According to Old Town Clinic director Dr. Neil Rendelman, “This fund will be a life saver.”

The DaisyChain concerts provide those miracles. All of the local music is available for a reasonable price. The people that had previous knowledge of the fair had the opportunity to buy an all-event, all-day pass for $25. Now, with two of the five days out of the way, music-seekers can expect ticket prices in the range of $10-15 on Friday and Saturday, and $7-10 on Sunday.

Two stages hold the massive music action, which takes place from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. on the selected evenings. The main room’s performances contain the louder bands, with roaring guitars and blaring vocals. Many of the more recognizable Portland bands will be in this room. The other stage, the acoustic room keeps things unplugged, and features nightly performances by local singer/songwriters in sessions called “Songwriters in the Round.”

Portland has already had quite a serving of the DaisyChain artists. The fair opened with a night of country-esque sounds, ranging from classic country to honky-tonk to folk to junkyard grit. Bands that performed in the main room included Kate Power & Steve Einhorn, Spigot, the Countrypolitans, Lisa Miller & the Trailer Park Honeys and Demi-Dryer. In the acoustic room, five singer/songwriters opened their souls to the waiting audience.

Pop/rock was the Thursday night theme, as the next 11 bands invaded the theater. Styles represented were alternative rock, melodic pop-rock, folk-rock and edgy global pop. Locals E Driven, Doris Dodge, Sweetjuice, Carmina Piranha and the Stephanie Schneiderman Band performed. Another five songwriters played the acoustic room as well.

Now, 22 out of 55 bands have played, and the last three days are upon us. Tonight the musical makeup gets even more interesting with styles such as Ashleigh Flynn’s “Motown meets Appalachia” genre, Tracy Grammer’s “post-modern mythic American folk” and Dahlia’s “ambient audio landscapes” (check out Dahlia’s Web site at

There doesn’t seem to be an overall theme of the Friday night performances. Tracy Klas, Lea Kruger & the Sugar Highs, Nicole Campbell and the Toni Land Band have genres that are easier to identify, such as acoustic pop, pop/rock and Americana. Five more songwriters take stage at 9:30 tonight, including Thursday’s performer Stephanie Schniederman.

After the songwriters, passionate pop/rockers Monkey to the Monster will do a midnight concert.

Saturday brings yet another team of 11 artists together for the cause. The theme for Saturday night must be “wacky band names.” The main room will host performances by Jellyhead, Half Daze, Say Uncle, Grooveyard and Satellite Heroes.

The most eye-catching genres of the night were Jellyhead’s “super soul-charged Americana pop” and Grooveyard’s “jazzy R&B inflected funk.” That’s something you’re not going to hear on Z100, folks. After five more songwriters in the acoustic room, Kaitlyn ni Donovan will perform her unique style of music, which melds “dreamy pop” with jazz and classical music.

The festival happily culminates on Mother’s Day (Sunday) with an earlier night of music. The action begins at 7:30 p.m., and goes only until about 11:30 p.m. Main room performances include sets by the Sugar Beets, Kimberli Ransom Band, LoveNancySugar, Mad Hattie and Melody Guy. There’s a bit of a country/folk twang to the evening, containing genres such as groove grass, sassy folk-pop, eclectic Americana and unpretentious country-blues.

The acoustic room rocks just as much as the main room. Performances by instrumental guitarist Margaret Slovak, folk grass n’ roll artists Toni Land & Tim Ellis, the ultra-eclectic Mel Kubik, and jazz/blues/folk-infusionist Theresa Demarest bring the benefit to a close.

So, there are 33 bands left to perform as of now. There are no two genres that are the same in this lineup, so there’s something for everyone, except for minors. The event is only available to persons 21 and over. The DaisyChain Music Fair takes place at the Mt. Tabor Theater, and runs roughly from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night. It’s a golden opportunity to support both local women in need and local music.