You Have Been Rocked

RJD2 w/ Eyedea & Abilities, Illogic &DJ PRZM, Los Nativos
@ The Aladdin
Wednesday. Oct. 20th

Not even the show booker at the Aladdin expected a game seven inthe American League. But there he was, Johnny “He-Man Hair” Damonpopping grand slams and two-run shots into the laps of pamperedYankee fans.

And yeah, there was a hip-hop show that night, too. I thoughtall of five people would be at the Aladdin on a cold Wednesdaynight, with a historical baseball game on TV.

It was sold the fuck out.

I’ve never seen that old porno theater look so alive. The wholeplace reeked of weed and man odor. White girls were hollerin,’black girls were… OK, I didn’t see any there, but hey, we’retrying. The bar was full, the marquee was packed, the beer/hotpretzel line snaked into the theatre and the balcony wasstanding-room-only, and for what, a DJ? An RJD2.

Visually, it ain’t much: four tables and a few noise makerthingies D2 runs around manning. But it’s the music, and being ableto watch him construct a track, that brought the kids out.Undeniably catchy jazz pop hip-hop dance mood music is one way todescribe it. You could sell a car to the pop or grind your booty tothe beat. It’s your choice. –Bradley Carroll

Explosions in the Sky, Swiss Army, Eluvium
@ Meow Meow
Thursday, Oct 21st

The Temporary Residence Records tour rolled into the lastbastion of all-ages clubs Thursday night. It was fittinglyemotional. All-ages shows are usually emotional. Whether it’shardcore, emo-core, emo-grind, emo-pop or emo-ambientcore, the kidsfeel emotionally vented afterwards, or something.

Some tired-ass emo band bored the audience until Eluvium tookthe stage, a one-man piano/guitar and loop pedal outfit by MattCooper. With an animated film playing behind him, Cooper hushed thehormonally unbalanced audience with naked, warm piano chords andwall-of-sound guitar loops. Cooper barged through the beautifulset, barely giving the kids a moment to applaud and instead leavingthem with a 45-minute exercise in originality and artisticgreatness.

As far as Explosions in the Sky, a friend said it best: “I likethem, they have a really good song.” Yes they do. The one song theyplay nine times in a row is good. It starts off quiet and thenbuilds into a sonic wave of screech and heartache and then itsubsides. Then they do it all over again, like real explosions inthe sky. –Bradley Carroll

Panache Release Party
@Berbati’s Pan
Tuesday, Oct. 19th

Have you ever had a daydream about traveling with bands on theverge of indie stardom? Interviewing an international cultphenomenon? Publishing your own music rag? Michelle Cable doesn’tjust dream; for the past six years — since she was 16 — she hasbeen putting out Panache.�The free zine-cum-music magazinefrom San Francisco is now on issue number 22 and circulation iswell above 20,000 copies.

Flipping through the newsprint paper and inking up your hands onthe Xerox-style artwork, you get a distinct feeling that Panache isa labor of love. Most of the featured articles are by the editorherself, and the other names quickly become familiar. Cable’sopening editorial reads like the blog of your friend who is alwaysdoing cooler things than you.

The magazine mocks the distinction between zine and magazine.The writing is passionate, self-aware and spotty, the graphicsover-contrasted, the interviews a tad over flattering.�Butthis is exactly what is endearing about Panache — it is created bypeople who love music and it isn’t made by professionals. Panachehas the same quality that draws you to the fan reviews — the palpable enthusiasm for music.

Cable is also a music promoter and bookingagent.�Currently on tour with Nashville’s the Ex-Lovers,Cable brought her Panache publicity tour to Berbati’s last Tuesday.The show’s lineup included local bands Minmae and the Clorox Girls,and early 90’s alt-country staple Souled American. Desert CitySoundtrack was scheduled to play, but, according to Cable, “thedrummer never came back from New York.”

Minmae opened the show, the first of three three-piece bands ofthe night.�On the record, Minmae is layered and seductivelyatmospheric, but live they sounded like a garage band struggling tofind its voice. It was unfortunate that a band that has haunted thePortland music scene for three years would falter onstage. Next,local pop-punk divas the Clorox Girls (all men) took the stage.With catchy lyrics, three-chord punk anthems and a name stolen froma Red Kross song, the Clorox Girls are pure adrenaline fun, whichleaves them lacking any substance. The highlight of their set wasan unabashed cover of “YMCA.” While late-’70s Los Angeles punk ismesmerizing, the band was unmemorable. However, the lead singerlooks like the bastard child of Rod Stewart and Iggy Pop.

Headliners the Ex-Lovers took the stage next. Their pressliterature describes them pretty accurately — “We think we did afine job of ripping off the Replacements and the Rolling Stones.”The Ex-Lovers are trying too hard to become famous to be any good,which is too bad because underneath their affected stage personasand derivative riffs lies some…um…simple hooks and too manyguitars.

Next up was Souled American, Chicago contemporaries of UncleTupelo and a reminder of a time when music could break your heart.Two guitars commiserated with each other and the two singers seemedunaware of their audience, caught up in memories of pain andsorrow. Ultimately, they were never able to reach the audience andpull them into their world, leaving us to watch the ploddingspectacle of musicians descending into despair.

Overall, the show was fine, but the magazine was the real find.If you are in need of some hip bathroom reading or miss yourfriends that never came back from New York, pick yourself up a copyof Panache.

–Leathan Graves-Highsmith