by Jonathan Wiley
August 12th @ Anarres
There aren’t a lot of bands who can play high tappy 32nd notes for a full set, but Chicago’s math/jazz fusion/prog rock pioneers Monobody flawlessly hit every single phrase together in a near perfect music nerd’s wet dream. The small venue on N. Lombard street never fails to captivate, and the all ages show brought a full crowd into the packed space. There was chatter as local bands Arbor Daze and PartyApartment finished their sets and made room for Monobody’s full stage, but the chatter stopped as they began to set up.
The band catches eyes even before they have plugged in, as they preform and record with two bassists on opposite sides of the stage, tuning and wildly adjusting pedals, knobs, and switches. Monobody proceeded to play what easily could have easily been categorized as controlled falling; a chaotic dance in perfect unison over incredibly complex form. Every swell, every drop, every hit was perfect. There was no sacrificing melody for the complexity, as is so often evident in note heavy music. The five piece maintained a steady groove, while also keeping audience members on their toes with precise time switches and screaming key solos. It rained for the first time in nearly a full month as they finished their set to agape mouths and applause.
Monobody has no upcoming dates in Portland, but are worth keeping an eye on. Their latest self titled EP is available on Bandcamp, and will be playing on KDUP Radio!
August 16th @ Turn! Turn! Turn!
A passer by would not have seen a rock show through the window of the Turn! Turn! Turn! on Wednesday night. Instead, they would have seen a full neighborhood block party, where everyone knew everyone, and everyone’s band had played everyone’s basement. I cannot honestly say that I have been to a friendlier show in my entire life, as there were no shortage of hugs and drinks as two touring California bands beat their way through a psych rock set in front of a dancing Portland crowd.
Psych rock is all too often a catchall for limp-wristed drumming and unfinished, reverb heavy guitar “melodies”, but the Máscaras embody the exact opposite. From their first song, the band establishes an incredibly high energy instrumental presence that blasts any preconceived notions about the genre directly out of your ears. The trio produced a deafening wall of sound that would make even a stoic scream and jump up and down. The room full of friendly faces bobbed together until the screaming guitar stopped, and the party continued elsewhere.
Máscaras are playing the Doug Fir Lounge on September 7th. Their latest record El Morán is available on Bandcamp, and will be playing on KDUP Radio!
August 20th @ Mississippi Studios
Margaret Glaspy didn’t talk for the first twenty minutes of her set. She played through a number of her tracks from her album, tuning in complete silence in-between, with a packed Mississippi Studio audience watching intently. She broke when her band left the stage, and stepped up to the mic to recount a story from her childhood. She remembered sharing a bedroom with her older sister, listening to all of her records and tapes and learning about song writing through osmosis. Her story moved to places she had first heard important songs, her favorite records, her sisters influence in her music taste, and all of the silence was made up for in one break, capturing the whole crowd.
Margaret Glaspy’s guitar playing is like eating a full meal. It’s like revving an old engine in a driveway. It’s like laying in the grass after you’ve run for too long. Her playing can turn my entire chest inside out. There is very little to her simple setup: a borrowed Danocaster through a spark boost and light reverb into a beautiful Fender amp, but she pulls and crackles every last bit of sound out of the instrument. Her band would later join her for several more tracks from the record, before an encore of what was easily the best cover of Fruits of My Labor that I have ever heard.
Margaret Glaspy has no upcoming dates in Portland, but damn that would be nice. Her latest record Emotions and Math is available on Bandcamp, and will be playing on KDUP Radio!