Victory at Sea
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Dear, dear friends, let me take you back to a little-known band from the ’60s and ’70s called The Who. I’m sure you have never heard of them, but I have. Reason: because I’m a genius aficionado rock music journalist. There once was a drummer who was so thoroughly saturated in booze but so incredibly talented that I dare say, no I will say, he was a demigod. The demigod drummer that I speak of is the drum-set-destroying Keith Moon. This half god, half man revealed his mortality and up and died on us. He has been reincarnated into a charming young lad from Boston named Fin
Moore. Keith Moon, er … I mean Fin Moore, is blessing the Northwest with his presence Oct. 13 at
Portland’s new hip spot of the week the Blackbird.
Victory at Sea is the name of this band. Hailing from Boston, Mass., Victory at Sea is a three-piece band that has toured the world, saving indy rock. To tell you the truth, I’m not even going to talk about the history of Victory at Sea, because if you have never heard of them you can now know yourself as a lowly urine-enriched puke bucket (thank you very much).
I saw them in April ’01 at the Medicine Hat Gallery in Northeast Portland, back when it was deemed cool. I saw a band that wasn’t impressed by the Northwest’s uber-hip attitude and decided to plow through all the bullshit’n, black-rimmed-glasses have’n, greasy-died-black-hair wear’n scenesterism. I swear to you I saw actual P-Town concertgoers walk up to the stage and drool.
Mona Elliott, singer/guitarist, has an imperfect, but perfect, vocal style that takes you to your knees asking for more. Her carefully-measured style gives way to the occasional heavy noise squall. Mel
Lederman smokes cigs and plays bass in the dark corner of the stage, not asking for attention, just doing what he loves and rarely looking out to see what the audience thinks. The band as a whole is a correctly awkward experience.
Traveling in a beat-up minivan, this band tours nearly nonstop. Like their established peers, they work very hard at what they do, but one gets a feeling that they understand it’s just indie rock and have heads on their shoulders. The new album on Kimchee Records, entitled Carousal,
sounds like it was recorded all at once in a Cape Cod basement.
Like the previous albums, this one is for sure not over-produced but still has a world of creative energy. Carousal
builds with tension and sets a mood immediately. When Mona starts singing, it escalates the mood and feeling you get. She’s got a voice that I love hearing. It doesn’t sound like she’s been classically trained. I get the feeling she learned to sing in a basement playing her guitar. She’s not trying to impress you by stoking her vocal chords off. Mona has something to say, and she does it in a very straightforward way.
Live shows are where the true magic lies. Watching Fin pour water on his toms and then watching that water fly through the air cooling him down as he burns the drums up is magical. If it is possible for you to go see this drummer, go and learn what the East Coast has to offer us.