1997 was the first time we played a show with Moral Crux. At the time we were a three piece, we barely knew anyone in Portland and hadn’t even written half the songs from ‘The Kelvis’ yet. I can remember several distinct thoughts from that show, including “I hope these people like us” and “Moral Crux is going to smoke us.” Tonight? Same concerns. We’ve only played Katie O’s once before and in my head it was dark and dingy dive bar with bad sound. This evening it was well lit, good sound and there even seemed to be an unusually positive vibe in the room tonight. The positivity may have been in my own head though, as I was elated not to be playing last again. Black Delaney was up first. I missed their set but Justin and Dustin said they were 1) from Eugene and 2) they both liked them. Brigadier was second and they were pretty solid. They had a very polished sound to them that made them immediately likable. We played third. The set seemed good. Not much movement, but not too many people running for the door either. No real surprises except that we did unearth the song ‘On My Side’ for the first time in many, many, many years. The set was short, fast and we were only subjected to one round of Dave’s “jokes”. We usually practice our songs. It may be time to practice his jokes. Moral Crux was the reason for the show and after all of these years they’ve still got it. I’m pretty sure the singer is part vampire as the dude never seems to age. He also looks as if he could be directly related to our past drummer Jim, but that’s another story. Their set was good. The songs were as catchy as ever as just as energetic as the first time we saw them. The cover of Sonic Reducer was pretty excellent as well. All in all a good night.
After last years last minute cancellation with Moral Crux we’ve got another show booked with them in Portland. Time to party like it’s 1997 again!
Given our slow pace of show bookings these days I never thought we’d get back to Longview. I’m really glad we did. The venue was the Chinese Gardens, which is a combination Chinese restaurant, dive bar and show venue all in one. It’s a strange place. As a musician I think “I would never eat here”. As a diner I’d think “I would hate to play music here”. As a dive bar patron I would wonder “why am I here?” It’s all part of the strange charm that brings us back to Longview so often. After huddling around a mobile phone at Dustin’s place to watch the History of Rap parts 2, 3 and 4 we commenced the soggy load in. The show started early and on time. That is not typical Longview, but in our advancing years we all appreciated it. As referenced earlier, I did not partake of the food selection however Justin had a boat of fries and Dave had some form of seafood. I thought they were nuts, but they said it was quite tasty and no one got sick. Appearances can be deceiving. Many familiar faces trickled in throughout the evening, most far older looking than the last time we’ve seen them. Faster Housecat was up first and sounded pretty good. They are from Portland, but I wouldn’t know because the only shows I go to these days are our own. The Slow Death was on tour from Minneapolis and sounded great. Definitely one the better bands I’ve heard recently. Very good songs and ripe with terribly, terribly amusing in between song banter. As they were winding up their set a large bearded fellow smiled and me and said “I have a pocket full of stink bombs for the next band.” I said “that sucks, because I’m in the next band”. He smiled and slipped away. I felt safe in the fact we were in a Chinese restaurant located only a few miles downwind from some paper mills. Also, we’ve had at least two shows that I can recall where I’m absolutely certain someone shit their pants and we made it through that show. Really, how bad could the smell be? After their set the singer of The Slow Death approached me and said “I heard one of you guys choke-slammed my friend in the band Off With Their Heads.” My first thought was “oh no, this dude is pissed.” It probably showed because he immediately followed it with “whatever happened I’m sure he deserved it”. Dave copped to the crime and we all got a good laugh about it. We even heard a story how the two of them (who turn out to be best of friends) had nearly fought at a wedding once. Anyway, we finally played and it was good. Real good. Not a packed house, but the folks up front were very energetic. The downside of a rowdy group on a slippery floor is the constant microphone-to-the-face beating that Dave took. People pointed. People fell over. Brady sang a song. Matt shouted “everybody better run for your life” ad-nauseam. I’m pretty sure the stink bombs were deployed. It was typical Longview wackiness. We played a lot of songs and eventually there was an “encore”. It wasn’t really an encore, it was just Brady demanding we play ‘Kelvis’. We aim to please and to be honest, it’s flattering to have people ask for your songs so we indulged. Unloading was unpleasant and wet. Again, typical Longview. Many thanks to all who attended, Eric for setting up the show, the other bands for being good, and the Chinese Gardens for having us.
A show? April 5th? Longview? Not a hoax!
We’ve had a couple of questions recently about how to get a hold of The Kelvis and The Return. Both albums are long out of print on physical CD. You can buy or stream them online in a variety of places, however we are now giving them away on our Bandcamp site. Both albums are setup for free download. You can make a donation, but it’s not required. Enjoy.
Thanks for those that showed up and stayed late last night. If anyone has any photos they can share please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
When I think back to our first shows in Portland I think of rock clubs. Not clean all-ages rooms that double as art spaces, but gritty bars and dingy clubs. I think of layers upon layers of stickers and flyers, scratches and gouges on all walls, holes in the floor, and load in areas that probably double as a homeless shelter on an off night. I also think of stages. Small, covered in cords, a PA that has seen better days, and lighting that doesn’t really do anything. Aside from the negatives I think about the positives. I think about walking in and hearing music you like on the sound system, a cool staff that appreciates music and being at a place your friends may hang out at even if you weren’t playing. Satyricon. EJ’s. Tonic Lounge. They weren’t perfect, but you learned to love them, ugliness and all. By those criteria, the East End was a rock club in every sense of the word and tonight was one of those nights that took me back to the 90’s. Aside from my overwhelming sense of déjà vu, the show was pretty excellent. Stumblebum played first and dished out solid songs with a touch of hot rod sensibilities. Thundering Asteroids were second and awfully good. Catchy, energetic and fun with songs about skating and video games. It was nice to see Dwight again after all these years as we first shared the stage with his old band Thrust a few times back in 1997. Finding another old guy in the scene always makes me feel better. We “headlined” and the set felt really good. We have a very active front row who knew all the words and made the show all the more fun to play. We saw a couple of familiar faces and a few news ones. Not a bad night. Thanks to the East End for having us, Scott for setting up the show and those who stayed up late to rock out with us.
Tonight will be our third show this year. That means we have will played 3x as many shows as 2011. Both Thundering Asteroids! and Stumblebum sound pretty rad, so this is shaping up to be a good show. Check it out if you are in the area!
Unfortunately we had to cancel our set in Seattle tomorrow evening. The show is still going on, just without us. If you are in the area go check it out anyway. Really, it’s hard to have a bad evening if Moral Crux is playing.
I’ve noticed playing shows sure hurts a lot more than it used to. Had I followed the advice of Tenacious D and performed 20 rock squats before our set I may be in better shape today. Our contractually obligated show openers 48 Thrills started the show and then promptly left to perform another, presumably better show. Can’t say I blame them. It’s not like we were going to play something they haven’t heard before. The Stims were up second and sounded good considering our multi year absence from seeing them perform. We make a lot of “we’re old” jokes but it’s nice to see other people in the same boat as well. We have been circling the scene with at least two other members of their band since 1998. Although we don’t hang out much, it’s nice knowing you have something in common with people that goes that far back. My New Vice was third and clearly the main attraction of the evening. They sounded great. Impressive guitar work, catchy songs and people were fired up to see them. At this point they’ve been playing for many years, but this was my first time seeing them and I dug it. We “headlined” and I think it went over pretty well. There was an active bunch of folks up front clapping, singing, and throwing their hands in the air as if they didn’t care, which really made the night excellent. The resulting puddle of ball sweat and beer says that we did something right. All in all a pretty good night. Thanks to everyone who endured the crappy weather and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with us. Also, thanks to Brian from The Stims for setting up the show. It’s a thankless job!