Preview: Dead Moon and The Hunches

Have you opened the newspaper recently? I thought so. And have you perchance looked at the paltry selection of rock concerts coming through Portland for the next couple of months? Me too. Sure, there’s metal, emo, screamo, indie pop, bad punk, hip-hop, baby boomer icons and just about everything but the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink and rock ‘n’ roll, that is, save one noteworthy exception: the great and venerable Dead Moon.


If you know them, you’re already at Dante’s next Thursday at 9:30, five bucks in hand. If not, then you’d better change your plans fast, ’cause if I don’t see you in line, I’m coming to your house and smashing all of your Modest Mouse records. First, though, let me hep ya to Dead Moon’s eternal greatness. A rock ‘n’ roll three-piece by way of Damascus, Ore., featuring guitarist Fred Cole, his lovely wife Toody, and drummer Andrew Loomis, Dead Moon was formed from the remains of punk band The Rats back in 1987. Fred and Toody also have their own record label, Tombstone, and a music shop by the same name, and have been cutting records (on the same lathe that “Louie Louie” was made on, no less) for almost as long as the band has been around. Of course, all this doesn’t mean much without a little bit about their songs. Scathing, squalling, raw and raucous punk and roll numbers the likes of which only the Northwest could produce are what you will be treated to next Thursday. There’re plenty of groups today that wish they could sound like this, but none do. These guys are originals. It’s a grand tradition, and any fan of rock and roll in the pure sense of the word should thoroughly enjoy taking part in it. As if just seeing Dead Moon isn’t enough to get you moving and shaking, you’ll also get a chance to catch The Hunches in action. This means loud guitars, squealing feedback, messy, garage-y wreck and roll, and the best onstage antics (courtesy of singer Hart Gledhill) that you’re likely to see in a long while. A typical set includes wailing, jumping, writhing, dancing, crowd surfing, and more. Now, that may sound like old hat, and in many cases it is, but what makes Gledhill’s brand of it special is that he actually manages to do all of this in time with the music and without overshadowing it either. That’s a nice combination, and one you don’t see all that often anymore. It’s just this kind of genuine, tasteful, all-out rock ‘n’ roll assault that makes this concert a great bet for live entertainment. Dead Moon are practically living legends, and it’s not being over-emotional, over-ironic or super-hip that did it. They can rock your socks clean off, and that’s why. This is the perfect antidote for the impossibility of music in a post-everything world. Where can you turn when everything has become a copy of a cliche of a copy? To the Dead Moon concert, that’s where. This stuff isn’t post-anything. It’s perpetually in the now. Even though Dante’s isn’t exactly the best venue in town for this concert, you’re still going to get a good dose of maxed-out, redlined rock ‘n’ roll. And that, my friends, is a good thing.