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REVIEW: Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 2/4/12)

6th Feb 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Montreal’s Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra appear to have an identity crisis.  They’ve been known as A Silver Mt. Zion, The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band with Choir, and Thee Silver Mountain Reveries.  For short hand, I’ll simply refer to them as Silver Mt Zion.  I’ll admit, I am new to their music… I got into them via ambient post-rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who share three members with Silver Mt Zion (singer/guitarist Efrim Menuck, violinist Sophie Trudeau, and bassist Thierry Amar).

More on Silver Mt Zion later…

The opener was a one-man band called Total Life.  He played a 25-minute, ambient/drone guitar & loop set (his clear guitar to the right).  It had a slow burn, then quickly morphed into a wall of sound.

For most opening gigs, this would not do, but for a post-something crowd, Total Life’s 25 minute experiment showed the audience’s patience and respect.  All bundled up, he was barely moving making the sounds, but sweat started dripping down his forehead and nose until the final note.

While GY!BE tend to stay in the ethereal, ambient, sweeping post-rock movement, Silver Mt Zion are a little more difficult to pin down.  They have many components similar to GY!BE, but they definitely write more in a “song” vein, with vocals.  Yet, I wouldn’t call them a singer-songwriter troupe.  The first two “songs” alone clocked in at 35 minutes.  They sweep, they go places, come back.  The vocals sometimes have choruses, and sometimes it more resembles lofty prayers… to whom? I do not know.

Their label describes their influences as “free jazz, community sight-singing, Minimalism and American folkways – still anchored to a punk-rock take on neo-classical and modern music tropes.”  If that narrows it down for you, well, you’re more forgiving of “genre-fication” than I.  Whatever you want to call them, they made great music on Saturday night at Mississippi Studios in Portland.

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
  • There Is A Light
  • What We Loved Was Not Enough
  • Black Waters Blowed / Engine Broke Blues
  • Take Away These Early Grave Blues
  • Blind, Blind, Blind
  • Horses In The Sky
  • Encore: God Bless Our Dead Marines

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

They only have a select number of dates on this tour.  Definitely go see them if you have the chance!  Check out more tour dates below.

Next shows for me… back-to-back Secret Chiefs 3 & Dengue Fever co-headlining in both Eugene (2/6 WOW Hall) and Portland (2/7 Dante’s).

~Dan – np: John ZornFilm Works IX: Trembling Before G-d

THEE SILVER MT ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Thee Silver Mt Zion — 2012 Jan/Feb Tour Dates

  • 31.01.12 Calgary, CAN The Republik
  • 02.02.12 Vancouver, CAN The Rickshaw Theatre
  • 03.02.12 Seattle, USA The Crocodile
  • 04.02.12 Portland, USA Mississippi Studios
  • 06.02.12 San Francisco, USA Great American Music Hall
  • 07.02.12 Santa Ana, CA, USA Constellation Room
  • 08.02.12 Los Angeles, USA Troubadour
  • 09.02.12 San Diego, USA Casbah
  • 10.02.12 Tucson, USA Club Congress
  • 12.02.12 Dallas, USA Sons of Hermann Hall
  • 13.02.12 Austin, USA The Mohawk
  • 14.02.12 New Orleans, USA One Eyed Jacks
  • 15.02.12 Birmingham, USA Bottletree
  • 16.02.12 Cincinnati, USA MOTR Pub
  • 17.02.12 Buffalo, USA Soundlab
  • 18.02.12 Ottawa, CAN First Baptist Church
  • 19.02.12 Montreal, CAN La Tulipe

REVIEW: My Brightest Diamond @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 11/6/11)

7th Nov 11 (Mon) 7 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I can’t go on enough about how much I love My Brightest Diamond and how much I love her newest album, All Things Will Unwind.  She hasn’t planned a full tour under this record (yet), but when I saw she was playing a couple one-offs in Seattle and Portland, I jumped out of my chair.

While hitting both shows in a scenario like this isn’t uncommon for me, I showed some restraint and only hit the Portland show…

The opener, Netherfriends, is currently in Portland this week for a “residency” of sorts.  Several shows at the Mississippi Studios and two DJ sets (one at Aalto Lounge and one at Beech Street Parlour).  He was a veritable one-man rockfolktronic wrecking crew.  After his first song, I wasn’t sure what to expect… he powered through some technical difficulties and ripped through 35-40 minutes of fun energy.

Very danceable, very off-kilter, a little spastic, but grounded in melody.  Sort of like Holy Fuck, if they were a one-man band.  Beatboxing, electronic drums, loops, Harry Nilsson covers (see below).

What’s more to love?  Check him out (free downloads here)!

Since it was billed as a “Shara Worden solo show,” I expected a more stripped down My Brightest Diamond set.  Oh, was a wrong… she came out initially in costume (mask, fabric bubbles on her shirt) and danced along to a pre-recorded instrumental number, then immediately took off her mask and started in with the lead-off track, “We Added It Up.”  She donned the mask again for “Be Brave“…

She mixed up the set a bit with ukulele, keyboards, pre-recorded drums and strings, acoustic guitar, rockin’ electric guitar, mbira (below), and a hand-held harp-like instrument.

Setlist: just over an hour

  • Instrumental #1 with dance
  • We Added It Up
  • Everything is in Line
  • Golden Star
  • Escape Routes
  • Instrumental #2 with dance
  • Be Brave
  • She Does Not Brave the War
  • There’s a Rat
  • High Low Middle
  • Apples
  • Feeling Good [Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley]
  • I Have Never Loved Someone [for her son]
  • Inside A Boy
  • Encore: Be My Husband [Nina Simone]

My favorite songs of the night were “Be Brave” and “Inside A Boy,” but honestly, I enjoyed it all intently.  Even the almost-too-cutesy-for-meThere’s a Rat” was brought to new heights for me with Shara’s adorable story about her rehabbing her “fixer-upper” that she and her husband recently bought in Detroit.

more photos below

I hope she does a bigger/longer tour for the record… but if she doesn’t Portlanders & Seattlites can count themselves blessed.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Puscifer tonight (11/7) in Seattle, then a three-day run by Peter Mulvey (11/10 @ Sam Bonds in Eugene, 11/11 @ private house concert in Creswell, 11/12 @ Majestic in Corvallis).

~Dan – Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichNine Days Wonder

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND (SHARA WORDEN)
& THE NETHERFRIENDS PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

REVIEW: Holy Fuck @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 6/6/10)

7th Jun 10 (Mon) 2 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

“Analog electronica at its finest.”

One of the best bands that you may have never heard of because of a fear of the unknown and/or an aversion to George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words is Toronto’s experimental electro-rock band Holy Fuck.

Starting off more experimental with their self-titled debut in 2005 and moving into a more groove-fueled diet of instrumental rock in 2007, Holy Fuck has been tearing up clubs around Canada, Europe, and the United States for the past few years.  Their records are superb, and their live shows are even better.  This show in Portland was stacked with some other electro-pop favorites…

Portland-based Fake Drugs went on a little after 9pm.  They are made up of a few guys from Starfucker – Keil Corcoran and Shawn Glassford.  Their sound was a nice pop electronic.  Primarily rhythm guitar & live drums with primarily pre-recorded keyboards & loops.  Danceable and fun… not what I expected from Starfucker gents, but a good warm up.

Another Portland band, Nice Nice had a great electro-pop sound.  This two piece band was the primary tour support for Holy Fuck.  Fewer guys on stage compared to Fake Drugs, but it seemed like they had more going on.  The drummer played both live drums and electronic drum pads… there was a nice juxtaposition of both the organic and artificial sounds – usually intertwined with each song.  The singer played keys, electronic drum pads, as well as guitar.  They have a building, electronic-rock sound, much like Holy Fuck… they meshed really well, and I can see why HF brought them along.

On to Holy Fuck

The seemingly scattered performance with keyboards, toy instruments, live drums & bass, 35mm audio strip replay, guitars, and distorted vocals ultimately leads into the music that is undeniably catchy and composed.  Brian Borchedt and Graham Walsh man the up-front melodic and non-melodic drive of the band, and bassist Matt McQuaid and drummer Matt Schulz are an excellent battery to fuel the groove.  They’re out supporting their latest, excellent record, LATIN.  It’s out now on CD, vinyl, and download formats (click picture to the right).  Personally speaking, it’s one of my favorite albums this year so far.

Holy Fuck went on at 11:25 and kicked it right off with the charged “Latin America.”  The band seemed pretty charged up, especially bassist Matt McQ… who really looked to be having a blast.  They plowed through an over hour set, hitting many of their new tunes, with some choice cuts from LP and the new version “Jungles” (on the +Ghost EP, based on the 2005 debut’s “Tonebank Jungle”).

Even if you aren’t a dancin’ fool… you’ll usually be turned into one at a Holy Fuck show.  The very danceable set was met with a severe lack of dancing from the crowd compared to past shows I’ve witnessed.  Perhaps it was a “Portland on a rainy Sunday” thing, because Holy Fuck was deep in the groove but the crowd seemed more concerned with their PBR’s.  Regardless of the “dancin’ deficit,” the crowd definitely showed their appreciation for the mighty HF via hoots & hollers…

Here’s what they played as best I remembered the song names…

Setlist: ~70 mins

  • Latin America
  • Super Inuit
  • Foxy
  • Jungles
  • 1MD / Red Lights
  • SHT MTN
  • Frenchy’s
  • Stay Lit
  • Lovely Allen
  • The Pulse
  • Stilettos
  • Encore: unknown… a really dirty, fuzzed out riff
  • P.I.G.S.

Brilliant show… my favorite was Red Lights, and its deep groove and killer bass.  Jungles and Stay Lit were close behind.  Stay Lit is probably HF’s most mellow song, and it features Brian on guitar instead of the electronics table.  They ended the night with a new song (or at least new to me) featuring a really fuzzy, dirty bass followed by P.I.G.S..

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaWaka/Jawaka

HOLY FUCK, FAKE DRUGS & NICE NICE PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Holy Fuck 2010 N.A. Tour Dates (so far)

  • May 28 Le Poisson Rouge New York, New York #
  • May 29 The Middle East Cambridge, Massachusetts #
  • May 30 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania #
  • May 31 Rock N Roll Hotel Washington, Washington DC #
  • Jun 1 Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, Ohio #
  • Jun 3 Turf Club Saint Paul, Minnesota #
  • Jun 6 Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon #
  • Jun 8 The Independent San Francisco, California #
  • Jun 10 Troubadour Los Angeles, California #
  • Jul 5 Club Soda – Festival International de Jazz de Montreal Montreal, Quebec
  • Jul 9 Molson Amphitheatre Toronto, Ontario ^
  • Jul 30 Sappyfest Sackville, New Brunswick
    # w/ Nice Nice
    ^ w/ Metric and Passion Pit

REVIEW: Erin McKeown & Emily Wells @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 4/21/10)

22nd Apr 10 (Thu) 3 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM


(despite these pictures, this show was not a head-scratcher)

Last night, the Mississippi Studios in Portland had a triple-bill tour de force.  Almost two and a half hours from three wonderful musicians – violinist indie-rapper Emily Wells, folk-pop songwriter Erin McKeown, and Portland-based singer Timmy Straw.  All three were showered us with great music (both old and new)…

Timmy Straw hit the stage late and quickly went into the first number.  Timmy’s vocals were gorgeous, in that gristly-yearning kind of way.  Songs were mostly haunting piano numbers, but there was some electronic-infusion on a song or two.  I picked up Timmy’s equally gorgeous debut CD, 2009’s State Parks.  Timmy only had a little banter during the set, playing fairly straight from one to the next (playing about 6 or 7 songs in a half hour).  Songs I did catch names for are “Rock of Ages,” “Scoops,” and “Herakles.”  I highly recommend State Parks. I think you can only get it at shows at this point (if someone has other info, please pass it along).

Erin McKeown went on around 10 and his us with a lot of gems from her latest album, Hundreds of Lions, out on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records.  I’d seen her a couple times prior (in Cincinnati), and she was just as adorable and delightfully charming with her stories and music as she can be.  My wife noted (and I agree) that Erin has such great stage presence and spark.  She’s a ball of joy and it comes through in her songs…

Erin’s Setlist: ~45 mins

  • “Manifestra” (new song)
  • Cinematic
  • Santa Cruz
  • You, Sailor
  • (Put the Fun Back in) the Funeral
  • Queen of Quiet
  • Didn’t They
  • “Train of Steel” (new song)
  • Lullaby in 3/4

Emily went on around 11 and started swinging with her crowd-pleasin’ hip-hop numbers.  She employed Doug from the Portland Cello Project during half of her set.  I saw her play with the PCP last summer, and it’s what had me sold on her music.  She switched between violin and various other toys in her arsenal (toy pianos, drum loops, toy microphones, guitar, ukulele, etc).  She relied a lot on looping – which is always fun, as far as I’m concerned.  The hour-long Emily Wells “solo/live remix” included some of her Symphonies, her über-fun Notorious B.I.G. cover, as well as some newer songs… oh, and she was sportin’ some bling

Emily’s Setlist: ~1 hour

  • If You Love Me, Really Love Me
  • Symphony 1 In the Barrel of a Gun
  • Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well & the Requiem Mix
  • Juicy (Notorious B.I.G.)
  • Mama’s Gonna Give You Love (new song)
  • Give Ya Everything (new song)
  • Let Your Guard Down (new song)
  • The Fire Song (new song)
  • Passenger
  • Encore: Symphony 9 & the Sunshine

Emily has a new album coming out later this year, and also a project with Dan the Automator called Pillowfight.  Check her out on the MySpaces to keep in the loop.  We headed back home to Eugene around midnight… tired, but content.

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: OzomatliFire Away
no download or free torrent mp3 flac available
support music by buying it

EMILY WELLS, ERIN McKEOWN
& TIMMY STRAW PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld and Margaret O’Brien,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

REVIEW: Damien Jurado @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 2/27/10)

28th Feb 10 (Sun) 8 comments

I’ve been into Damien Jurado since the late-90s when his first Sub Pop record came out.  I’d only had a few chances to see him play live, but it never seemed to work out.  This weekend, since I was already up in Portland for the PDX Jazz Fest, I figured I could swing on over to Damien’s show at the Mississippi Studios after the Dave Holland Quintet show.

While I was “studying” for this show, I listened to Damien’s most recent album, 2008’s Caught in the Trees.  Wow.  I was reminded why I like this guy so much.  Great songwriting in an unassuming package.  Clever and gritty/lo-fi, but well crafted, melodically framed songs… quintessential indie rock.  Damien has the honesty and drive in his lyrics a la Elliott Smith and Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan.  There must be something about the Pacific Northwest that brings these things out in songwriters.

On to the show…

I got there late due to Dave Holland’s killer show across town.  John Vecchiarelli was nearing the end of his set, but I caught his last four songs.  I really liked him.  He had a genuine voice (kind of reminded me of Jeffrey Foucault).  John is from Portland; so hopefully I’ll get a chance to see him again soon.

Next up were another Portland group, The Robinsons (formerly of Viva Voce).  They were a nice indie rock / americana duo, also from Portland.  I had heard a little bit of their Viva Voce music before, but not much.  They were good, and had nice melodies.  They were a little bit folky and a little bit rocky.  I imagine a fuller band setting would suit them very well.  They played a short set (only about 30 minutes).  They have a new album coming out soon under the bank moniker Blue Giant.

Up next was Damien Jurado.  While his latest album, Caught in the Trees, was a more collaborative trio effort, this show was just Damien with a guitar and two vocal mics.  The first 5 songs were completely new, and it struck me to the genius that is Damien Jurado (song names complete guesses below).  He is a pure songwriter.  I didn’t know these songs from Adam, but they captivated me completely.  They are for an upcoming album called Saint Bartlett (out in May), and it is a collaboration between Damien and Richard Swift.

He played some older songs, as well as a few Caught in the Trees songs as well… serious help on setlist needed.  Any help?

Setlist: 80 minutes

  • Beacon Hill (aka “Return to Me”) (new)
  • Kansas City (new)
  • “I Could Float” (new)
  • Arkansas (aka “Fade Out”) (new)
  • Wherever I May Lay (aka “Finally Tasted the Dawn”) (new)
  • Abilene
  • Denton, TX
  • Ohio (false start) into “Sound of Settling” spoof of Ben Gibbard
  • Ohio (false start again, Damien couldn’t stop laughing)
  • Harborview (aka “speak for me, would you”)
  • Ohio
  • Sheets
  • Pear (new)
  • I Am Still Here
  • “Diamond Sea” (new)
  • “not the best time to fall to pieces” (song title unknown)
  • The Killer
  • Lose My Head
  • Encore: Wyoming Birds (aka “sorrow replaced our joy”) (song title unknown)
  • Caskets
  • Paperwings

I hope he continues to tour, at least in Seattle and Portland (the “quiet crowd” towns).

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy – Spirit Moves

Van Dyke Parks and Clare & The Reasons (review this evening)

11th Feb 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

Got back late last night, full day of work ahead of me… review of last night’s Van Dyke Parks, Clare & The Reasons, and Josh Mease show at Mississippi Studios in Portland will be posted tonight (Thursday 2/11)…

~Dan – np: Clare & The ReasonsArrow

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