Two Shows, Two Nights, One Review: Fuzz and Wooden Indian Burial Ground at Bunk Bar 3/30/13 & Genders and Wooden Indian Burial Ground at Rontoms 3/31/13

Two shows into one review, you know how we do.

So, since I got there predictably late, (NO IT’S NOT A RUNNING FECKIN’ THING; YOU’RE A FECKIN’ RUNNING FECKIN’ THING!…Ok, fine, it *is* a running feckin’ thing) having not realized that I was even gonna go to this show until around 10:30 & rolling up around 10:45. Forgot my plugs & ran out to get some backups & still made the show. Cool story, right?  “Nerd Goes To Concert. Forgets Pocket Protector”.  Why is the Onion still not returning any of my calls?  Oh yeah, because who in the hell calls anymore?  What is it, 2001?  Are people paying attention to The Strokes again or something?

So, I missed (SHUT IT!) the well-raved about Wooden Indian Burial Ground, but since I was gonna catch them the very next day at the Rontoms free show with the much-ballyhooed-by-yours-truly– & everyone else for that matter, Genders…now you know how two become one. (And we’ve filled our daily quota for Spice Girls songs. Win!)

I’m heading back through the doors just as Fuzz kicks into their first song. Ty’s on drums tonight, in this incarnation of one of his 15 bands (SRSLY, dude is like the son from the ‘Hey Mon’ skit off of ‘In Living Color’:
“Lazy son. You only have 1 job!”
“Yeah, but I & I be playin’ in 10 bands, mon!”…or something like that.1

I can only imagine what my life would look like now had I been half as busy doing *anything* at 24…drinking too much & being arrogant about it doesn’t count.

As expected, it’s great and dark garage.  The crowd builds a frantic pit and one person even crowdsurfs & is actually up for most of the song.  The 2010’s remembering the 60s in a decidedly 90s way.

IMG_20130403_010705

We’re rabid for more, but these guys play everything they know.  They close with a cover & despite the crowd’s desperate pleading, they’ve just plain run-out of songs that they all know.

The show’s over and some guy walking by with dreads shout-says “anyone else’s shit all fucked up? Shit’s all got fucked up!” to no one in particular, holding on to a Fuzz 7″. Garage. Shit’s real.

So, Genders put together about as big a crowd as I’ve seen indoors at a Sunday Rontoms show, telling me that either the OPB free show tour kick-off at Mississippi Studios made a lot of new, true believers, or else the word is just out and now everyone is hip to the fact that Genders is the Portland band of 2013.

Maybe this is gonna seem silly, but somehow Genders seemed comparatively sedate from their tour, a bit…world weary, even. Can you really say that about a band that hasn’t even been together for a whole year?  They still sounded amazing, but there was a mature polish this show that seemed a bit at odds with the wild-eyed enthusiasm I’m used to seeing from them.

2013-03-31 21.57.56
(Gratuitous “artsy” if-this-looks-in-focus-you’ve-had-the-right-amount-to-drink pick.)

And then, Wooden Indian Burial Ground are on.  And I mean that in every way.

It’s noisy, dark & garage experimental with some keyboard skronk produced from a box of effects dating back to the very era the music is hoping to evoke, like sci-fi soundtrack zonk zam wow (Batman Sound Effects is go!), like surfing high on acid in cartoon hell with the wind of the dark side of the 1950s, like a nuclear flash melting the pomade right on out of your slicked hair, be you Bettie Page or dark-side Fonzi. Roll that pack of Marlboro reds up on the sleeve of your white T & let the thick reverb wall of wah-ed out guitar, driving drumbeat & rolling bass take you to the atmospheric place suggested by the heavily effects-ladden vocals.

It’s DARK in here. Truly “freak out” rock. I can see someone calling this psychedelia, but I think that would be a misleading tag for this trio. Like a Ludacris song or a bad car movie, this band is just 2 Fast, 2 Furious.2

-Michael Feck

1:  I didn’t even bother watching the link myself, because I’m really BUSY and IMPORTANT, he said, rearranging his record collection for the thousandth time instead of doing anything real.  C’mon, *don’t* pretend you haven’t been there, too.  And yes, itunes library management counts, too if you’re more nomadically inclined.  To tell the truth, I’m also a little afraid that the skit that I grew up watching may also be racially insensitive, and that’s not mitigated by the fact that it’s a group of African-Americans poking fun at some Jamaican-American stereotypes, which, while being so-called positive stereotypes, which is a big problem in-and-of itself. In addition, I don’t actually think it’s a “positive”, since the message of “just work hard like a Horatio Alger story and you’ll get everything you want” is poisonous capitalist apology of the highest order. People are *not* poor because they are not working hard enough; we have an economic structure in place where accumulation of wealth is *not* a direct function of labor, and very often those who have the least are those who are working the hardest, (not to diminish the experience of anyone else). This is why I haven’t just excised the clip altogether; because I think there’s a valuable message about work and exploitation and the clip displays this antagonism, since it begs the question, “If everyone in the family has 10 jobs, why are you still living in squalor?”, which leads to the opening answer, “because of an intersection of race, class and gender, limiting opportunities in a way that’s invisible to people who occupy positions of privilege”.  I do think it does that, even though I’m still a bit uncomfortable about the way in which it is articulated.

I know, I’m getting tedious.  Am I reading too much into a sketch?  I don’t think it’s possible; I think we all in general (myself included) tend to not read *enough* into these seemingly ephemeral artifacts of culture… But you’re here for music, right? All I want to do is be Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes all in one; is that so wrong?

2: That gag’s for you, Collision, if you’re watching…

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