Saturday, April 5, 2008

Best Portland Night Out Ever

Carla Bozulich. The best musical performance I have ever seen by anyone anywhere was in 1996 at The Paradise in Boston, MA. The Geraldine Fibbers played an opening set for Golden Smog. It rocked me to pieces. And so when I saw in the paper that Carla Bozulich, the former lead singer and avant rock genius was doing a show in Portland at the Doug Fir, I laid my plan. Holy mackerel. It started out with her scurrying around the club, moving chairs, moving people, moving the vibe, while her fantastic moody backing band buzzed and twinkled on stage. She's just a small little goth looking person, but when she opened her mouth, this big dark old world voice came out and everything stopped. There was a lot of sorting through crumpled papers on stage, fiddling over her guitar on the floor, and oozing feedback. At one point she body tackled a guy off the stage and then sprawled on the ground and sang the rest of a song. You kind of had to be there. And with each song, everything built and built and by the last number, she and the band hit a sweet spot. I was standing in center stage and I couldn't believe how overcome I was. I closed my eyes and listened. I had concentrate to take it in and stop congratulating myself about how great it was to be there. The guitars screamed in a perfect way, her voice droned on and on, the drummer hit harder and harder. I had a gigantic smile on my face and thought, I. must. remember. this. Brief but total aural pleasure. And when the last note sounded I stumbled around feeling like I had just had totally mindblowing sex. It made me stupid it was so good. I don't know when I've ever been so moved by music.

So, with me babbling and sighing, we leave the Doug Fir planning to go home. And about a block down Burnside, i see this guy in teal shorts in a second floor window dancing like a crazy person. I was curious so we went to the entrance and found out that the March Fourth Marching Band had just started playing. Okay! Pay the cover and run upstairs! Incidentally, Portland has all these great 100 year old ballrooms all over town that are still music venues, and this one was the Bossanova. I didn't even know it existed until I saw that guy dancing in the windows. Most of them are on the second stories of buildings and the floors are on springs. So musically, it was about the most polar opposite of dark and twisty Carla as we could get. Imagine a 20 person cosmic marching band with drums and horns and a washboard and singers and go-go dancers and people in costumes and grease paint on stilts and a packed ballroom full of people dancing their asses off. We jumped right in and shook it and breathed in the hippie madness. The band took to the audience and the stilt people formed a conga line and the rabbit and I danced our way through the tunnel they made with their legs.

AND THEN we decided it was the best night in Portland ever and we should walk across the Burnside bridge. So off we go, walking and talking over the river when we met up with these three really sweet bicycle guys. They had been out at a rock show too and stopped us at the very middle of the bridge and offered a nip from the bottle of Maker's that they were sharing. By the time we made it to the west bank we were hungry and had a late night snack at Cassidy's. And then we finally walked all the way home thinking that we had squeezed all the fun out of that friday night. We completely wrung it out.

Carla Bozulich - Inside Sleeps

The Geraldine Fibbers- Bitter Honey

The March Fourth Marching Band - Crack Haus

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