My neighborhood coffee shop is not accepting debit cards right now. If I were more serious about coffee, this might destroy my day. I’m not too serious about coffee. Nor am I serious about braving the cold to walk to the corner store to get cash for coffee. The great thing about this coffee shop is that you can sit here for hours without buying anything. I am the poster child of this. I am the poster child of Portlandia, the youth retirement movement in Portland. I am Vincent Gallo’s $1 million seed. Ok, that part’s not true. That would just be weird.
Since I moved to Portland at the beginning of December, I’ve attended two music shows — NOLA Sissy Bounce queenpin Big Freedia and English dub up-and-comer DJ Ramadanman, both at Holocene on the city’s east side. I’m looking forward to attending more shows in the near future, not to mention seeing different venues and promising local acts. Here are a few of the shows I am eagerly anticipating in Portland in the upcoming months and a few in New Orleans, just for old time’s sake. PS: I’m jealous of some of the show’s coming up in New Orleans. Two words: LADY GAGA!
Jan. 26, Ra Ra Riot/Givers @ Hawthorne Theatre. I’m not familiar with Ra Ra Riot’s music. Nor do I really care to familiarize myself with it. I’m looking forward to this show because of the presence of Givers, an Afro-pop quintet from Lafayette, La. When I first saw Givers at Chelsea’s in Baton Rouge, they were opening for Dirty Projectors, and were unknown outside of their hometown. Since that breakout show, Givers have toured across the country multiple times and are preparing to release their debut album later this year. They deserve it. They have a breezy, danceable sound, and a great male-female vocal dynamic with Taylor Guarisco and Teddy Lamson.
Feb. 18, Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ The Crystal Ballroom. I’m not going to this show and it makes me really, really sad. Godspeed have been defunct since I was in college. Now they are touring again, which is awesome. This show sold out before I moved to Portland, and the Stubhub prices are ridiculous. Alas, I will be left to imagine how awesome the too incredible for words opening part of “Storm” would be live. PS: To those people going to this show, I say to you, “You lucky bastards!”
Feb. 26, Ted Leo (solo) @ Backspace. I have gushed on here multiple times about my Ted Leo and the Pharmacists live experience. It’s not hyperbole. Ted Leo’s energy is contagious and his songs are catchy. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the man when he performs a solo set at a place called Backspace. I’m half expecting this show to be performed inside someone’s closet. That will be one rocking closet.
March 6, Crystal Castles @ Roseland. Most of what I’ve read about Crystal Castles’ live show mentions how unpredictable they are. This could be the best show of the year or the worst, and that is intriguing. Plus I like how jarring their brand of techno is. I want them to soundtrack my dreams of getting eaten alive by Japanese Power Ranger zombies. You know, when I have dreams like that because I haven’t yet. I keep waiting, though.
March 17, Girl Talk @ Roseland. I just saw on Roseland’s web site that this show is not sold out. That makes me really happy. This will undoubtedly be the sweatiest show in Portland this year, until Big Freedia rolls back into town. “I got that gin in my system ….” Maybe Greg Gillis will mix some Freedia into his set. That would be wicked.
May 5, Mogwai @ Wonder Ballroom. I’ve been literally obsessed with the live video of Mogwai’s “Christmas Steps” since I first heard it. It is impossibly loud and brutal. Then toward the song’s middle, there is a gorgeous break in the aural assault. I credit Jono Toups for turning me on to Mogwai when we were wee lads too cavalier to worry about ear bleeds at shows.
Other Notable Shows: Jan. 29, Tennis @ Mississippi Studios; Feb. 15, Smith Westerns @ Doug Fir; Feb. 19, Best Coast @ Hawthorne; March 1, Abe Vigoda @ Holocene; March 9, Tapes N Tapes @ Doug Fir; March 25, Toro Y Moi @ Doug Fir; May 28, Lykke Li @ Wonder Ballroom.
And now for the lagniappe portion of this post:
Jan. 10, Girl Talk @ House of Blues. Remember what I said about Girl Talk being the sweatiest show in Portland? Well, that applies for New Orleans, too. Wear deodorant, kids! Praise your chosen deity this show is indoors during the winter and not outdoors during the summer. That would just be ridiculous.
Jan. 26, Best Coast @ House of Blues. Ladies, this one’s for you. Bethany Cosentino makes music about being young and in love that would have felt at home on 1960′s popular radio. Her songs remind me of being at the beach, if the beach were awesome and I wasn’t so damn pale. Her stage presence is much more carefree than the songs’ content would have you believe.
Feb. 15, Broken Social Scene @ Tipitina’s Uptown. Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People remains one of my favorite albums seven years after it dropped. It has something for everyone, befitting of the group’s collective nature. BSS puts on an upbeat live show, one full of showmanship and swagger. I highly recommend seeing them live.
March 2, The Walkmen @ One Eyed Jacks. Awwwww! The Walkmen at One Eyed Jack’s. Memories! I miss hearing Hamilton Leithauser’s voice live. He gets every last drop out of his lungs and throat. The band surrounding him creates varied soundscapes that recall turn of the 20th century and last Saturday night’s afterparty. They are a band for every era.
April 5, Scissor Sisters @ House of Blues. True story: I belted out Scissor Sisters’ “Take Your Mama Out” during Sunday night’s karoake escapades. It was epic. It was way better than my performance of Next’s “Too Close”, which was panned as creepy. If my performance of “Take Your Mama Out” was epic, I can only imagine how awesome it would be to see the real Scissor Sisters perform it.
April 9, Lady Gaga @ New Orleans Arena. The show of the year in New Orleans? It’s quite possible. I’ve really wanted to see Gaga bad — almost as bad as that time I had to pee in the White House when I was eight or nine — since my former roommate, Daniel, saw her at Lollapalooza in Chicago. I’d probably cut off my right arm, James Franco-style, to see this show, if I were in New Orleans. Since I’m in Portland, my right arm is safe. That’s probably for the best.