by Eric Barton
Colin and Annie and I got to the Pistol -- which is booking shows, I mean, parties again now that it's no longer sweltering hot upstairs -- around 9:30 last Wednesday. Cans and bottles of beer stuffed into their coat pockets and I with my Sun Fresh bag full of PBR (preferred luggage for any occasion, actually — fuck those man purses and things in them other than beer), we went up the stairs off Union Street, hurrying out of the bludgeoningly cold wind. Oh, except Annie wasn't hurrying, evidently, because it took her twelve minutes to complete unidentifiable actions with her purse with one leg out of the car while I stood in the wind and froze my tits off. Then we went up the stairs. (Ain't it great ribbing friends who can't defend themselves. J/K!!! I'd give my pancreas to you, Annie!!!)
And when we got to the top, the place was almost dead empty. I spotted a couple of artists-cum-West Bottoms hooligans, Richard and Luke, sitting on a lumpy couch still wrapped up in coats and knit hats like dockworkers. Across the expansive loft, a group including local artist Jaimie Warren, was sitting at another lumpy couch. A couple dudes from one of the two bands — either the Chromatics or Glass Candy -- were setting up the meager PA and whatever amps and stuff they'd brought. We'd gotten there so early because we'd been told Glass Candy would probably go on about 10:30. Knowing they were the headliner, I figured we would be right on time. I wasn't concerned, though. The people would come, and, besides, I had a whole bottle of wine in the car I could start in on if I ran out of beer, which was likely, since I'd only brought three. Man, BYOB shows are the bomb.
We stood and chatted with Craig Comstock, who is extraordinarily nice for a guy who plays wicked-ass shit, i.e., hammering drumsticks on a guitar and a drum set at the same time while screaming into a toy microphone. Though, I guess there's no reason to assume someone who plays like that would be a jerk — a little odd, maybe, but Comstock's completely sane. His other band is the Blue Leaves, and I have yet to see 'em. Hell, he could play acoustic guitar and croon like Neil Diamond -- the very epitome of sanity, n'est-ce pas!? -- in that band for all I know.
At some point, I wandered away from my friends and found myself talking to the frontman of the Chromatics (the one with the cool, patchy eyebrow in the MySpace photos), thinking he was in Glass Candy. After five minutes of misapprehension, I realized my mistake and wept, but he didn't seem to care. I recovered, then slid behind the merch booth, where stood the goddess-like Ida No, singer for GC. I didn't ask her any of the questions I had written down to ask her over the phone a week before the show (we never got in touch). Instead, we talked about corporate journalism and her day job at a Kroger grocery store in Portland, Oregon, where the band is based (in the city, not the store). I can't remember what she said she does, exactly, but it's not the checkout line or anything. If I walked into a Kroger and saw a woman that gorgeous working there, I would want to see her either making flower arrangements or butchering meat. Preferably the latter.
(ASIDE: An email just popped up on my screen from a publicist. It asks me "Remember the Barbara Mandrell Variety Show?" It's a good example of the mass e-mail shit I get every five minutes and delete without reading. Worse are the ones I feel compelled to keep without reading, like, "Sister Hazel Show in Your Area." Because, I have a duty to Sister Hazel fans as much as Ida No fans. Wait a minute...no I don't! Fuck them! Why must I be tormented, oh!)
A warm rush of sound came over the two-speaker PA just then, and it was absorbed by a decent crowd of 30-50 bodies. An exchange of real and electronic drums began, along with serrated, echoing guitar, and the Chromatics had begun. I was hoping to see more dirty art school kids at the show. There had been pleeenty last time these bands came through at the beginning of the summer, and I was looking forward to seeing what level of unhygiene the feral children were practicing nowadays. But there weren't many — possibly not any of the type I speak. Then I remembered, oh, the Ssion isn't playing tonight. Nor is anything involving J. Ashley Miller, our own local Devendra Banhart. That's why the crowd is so well washed. And tame, which isn't always the most fun — in fact, almost never.
The Chromatics were good — it's less danceable, more atmospheric-rocky than the sound of its tourmate band. I don't know if she's out permanently, but the female lead singer the Chros had last time was absent, and that guy I was talking to earlier did all the vocals, running his voice through a heavily reverbbed mic so he sounded kind of like Jon Spencer, filling the room with intermittent hoots, calls and falcetto coos. Despite their decision not to close with "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog," which brought the rafters down last time, it was a good showing.
By that time, I was well into the wine, a New Zealand Pinot Noir that I'd found on sale for $8 at Sun Fresh but had bought mainly because of the screw top. The mouth of the bottle had begun to smell like feet. I drank it anyway, but I will never run around with a bottle of wine at a BYOB show again. Ew.
It was Glass Candy's turn, and when they started up, I saw the instant-party-starting sight of Jaimie Warren cutting it up down front, dancing like a mad Indian and shaking her big, gold mane like a feathered headdress. For some reason, when Warren begins dancing, it becomes (in my mind at least) OK for everyone to follow suit. I certainly did, and pretty much didn't stop until the last, last encore -- and I succeeded in getting my friend Annie to dance, which she never does, though that's a coup probably more attributable to the band than my badass mojo-shakin' werewolf moves. For full taste of the band — glass and candy both — I recommend you go to this fan site and download it all. I'd talk more about how and why they're the most seductive white dance band in the country right now, but I'm going to write about them in earnest someday, plus I'm exhausted and half to walk home today. A cop out, I know, but ain't that life. If there's anything I didn't cover — i.e., what I was wearing (a diaper), whether Annie's hot and single (she is), whether I made it home without being kidnapped by terrorists (not sure) — post a comment.