I didn’t have time before the show to look up any of the music, so I was just going by the Mercury’s wee lil blurb (which is actually now gone), which made local garage rock act Memories out to be the headliners, with a passing shout out to Twerps but no mention of whatever Dignan Porch is. (Only the Best. Damn. Part. of the night, that’s all.)
There was mention of shambling indie pop in the article & with the addition of the key variable factor, we get this math formula: (Shambling + Indie Pop) x Australia + me = TRUE LOVE FOREVER! Cf. the work of various esteemed mathematicians such as Lucksmiths , The Cat’s Miaow , Allo Darlin’ (Ok, I know that only Elizabeth is from Australia & the band is based out of London, but this is the Best. Video. Ever. & my 2nd favorite song of theirs & I frankly don’t give a toss what you lot think on this, I’m calling it Aussie indiepop because it’s my favorite & I say so), Summer Cats (Ok, not their most emblematic song, nor my favorite of theirs, which is actually a song I love FAR too much to ever even be willing to LISTEN TO around anyone else, much less ever post; some things you just gotta keep for yourself, y’know? – this song hits me in a way that’s both wry and affecting. The vocalist isn’t the one who sings on a majority of the tracks, and his winking delivery lends a humorous timber to the song’s already light touch.), The Rainyard , Even As We Speak (eat your heart out, Frente…oh, who am I kidding? You know I adore both versions of this just as much, albeit in a pretty vastly different way than the original), The Bank Holidays and others I could mention. Or so I thought…
I get to the bar , & make my way past the light, yet (somewhat) stylistically diverse crowd. A few are dressed up in the spirit of the holiday, including a pretty committed and convincing Duffman . Almost made me wish I cared about the Simpsons or that it was 10 years ago and my friends who once cared still do. I take a seat at the bar, order my drink & take out my notebook to try and get caught up with some notes from another show. The crowd thickens a bit, turns a bit odder than I imagined it might be for this show – a bit more Columbia gear & North Face, which while ubiquitous in Portland, somehow shows of this sort usually seem absent of this type. No judgment, of course; just saying we put out (*snicker*) with our appearance what we’d like to be a part of. Love you mad bastards huddled out by the campfire or ascending some grand trail, but my druthers & me would rather be in a bar with a band or in a tea nook with a book or acting haughty drinking specialty coffee. The sound of a car’s wheels down a slick and empty street at night hold far more appeal for me than wearing polar fleece & getting my boots muddy (*snicker*…I know, I don’t know why that sounds, um, dirty; it just DOES, ok?)
Anyhow, I wasn’t really paying close attention because I had a fair amount to catch up on from previous shows I had only made shambling notes of. I was surprised when I actually did get caught up, but then I took note of the time; it’s 10:00. The first band was supposed to go on at 9 & with 3 on the bill on a school night, they tend to stay pretty true to that.
I asked about for what was going on (does my grammar clue you that I’ve been spending too much time with the Brit Kids ?); it turns out that Memories thought they were the headliner, too, but still had showed up too late for even the headlining set’s soundcheck & they didn’t bring any gear, because apparently they thought they were going to use the openers? Twerps, being from Australia, only had plans to use other bands’ equipment & Dignan Porch were thinking the same, being from South London and having Kickstartered the tour or some such thing (ok, “WeFund”, whatever that is) in order to get here.
Kind words were not spoken about the local act, but everyone I spoke to felt bad for the touring bands. Twerps were already gone, so I went over to Dignan Porch, chatted w/ the lads & lasses for a bit & picked up some vinyl without any guilt, because even though I hadn’t heard them before, I’d be recouping my door (I don’t like to milk comps to these tiny shows, even when I am as broke as I currently am; hard enough to be in a band as it is, innit?).
I was pleasantly surprised to find out later that Dignan Porch have A LOT of that great jangly indie pop sound that I’m looking for, with a bit of a rural medieval feel to a few songs, as if Robin Hood and Maid Marian might be singing these songs to each other in some forested glen in Sherwood. I was quite taken with them very quickly. However, for the first time in a long time, an Aussie band I took a chance on, disappointed a tad when I pulled them up on the ol’ compy at home. Actually, I found them really, really enjoyable listening to them again with fresh ears, but it wasn’t one of those “true love at first chord” kind of things that bands like The Lucksmiths and Veronica Falls seem to pull off so effortlessly. (OMG was I *destroyed* after first hearing that Veronica Falls Found Love In A Graveyard track! Completely & totally head-over-heels smitten & enraptured) Long story short, my disappointment was more about my wildly and irrationally high expectations and not due to any musical failing on their part. If you show up at the dance expecting to fall in love, count on going home alone without a song in your heart and without being struck by the thunderbolt .
The mostly-written Part 2 is coming soon, wherein there’s further discussion of the awesomeness of both Dignan Porch and Twerps, an attempt to salvage the remains of the eve at the Ash Street to see Pierced Arrows, which inspire some Dead Moon reminiscences & then crowd observations cause a meandering examination of some of the shared ancestry of punk & indiepop, some significant places where these roads diverge & some thoughts about the ways the punk community has often failed to give anything beyond lip-service to the concerns of race, class, gender and the adverse effects of hetero-normativity & the resulting effect of this on the scene. Whoo-hoo! Anyhow, till now & then, some more show reviews. If I can pull it out before the coffeehouse closes, might be minutes away from a review of last night’s How To Dress Well, Beacons, & Hustle & Drone show last night at the Doug.