Underbelly Bender Mix
Macrocosm just lit their bass aflame and there are fireworks skipping across the floor, hardly out-dancing the crowd. The room is smoke and fire. I’m on the edge of blacking out from innumerable dollar short-cans of Pabst. I’m wrapped in chaos at one of my favorite dive bars. The late Mudai Lounge.
Sadly, Mudai Lounge and all the other taste-making, pretension-muzzling escapes from mid-level venue mediocrity only seem to get recognition for their noble work when they are forced to close. This sits sour with me. Nearly every one of my all-time favorite live shows happened in a dive bar.
You know these rooms when you walk into them. You can smell a happy poverty. A room as steeped in itself as it is under-funded and self-wrought– from the taped-up barstool upholstery to the locals that resemble their seats; the peeling corner of the copper bar top, full of holes from various attempts to nail it back into place. The great fucking bands and the shows even better for an atmosphere already broken.
But the truth beyond the potency of these unfettered shows, these lovably dim and dirty birthing places for bands, is that they’re constantly tiding– closed and replaced again and again. The glorious constant is that they truly are, in one form or another, the caretakers of Portland’s music scene. They are a crucial liaison. Humbly ushering bands from basements and hideaways into our flourishing music culture.
It’s why we come to these places ready for any color of wonder. Ready to say “Fuck you” to the morning. Something about caution and wind… More so, we come to be blown away by that main support band that plays purely for the sake of music, to a packed house of five or fifty. Playing despite the “jank.” No, in honor of it.
It’s these aspects of the underbelly that are loved by so many show-goers and bands alike. And because these spaces are so great and fleeting, me and my band And And And decided to honor our favorite dives as 2011 draws out. We’re tipping our hats (mohawk, in my case) with seven shows over six weeks, starting Black Friday and on through New Year’s Eve. We’re calling it the Underbelly Bender, but it’s really just a way for the fifteen bands involved to play the places they love.
I guess this whole thing is a love note, and to sign their names to it, each band participating in my Bender has sent along a song. I mixed ‘em together all nice, so you didn’t have to. See y’all soon.
(Do The) No Tomorrow Twist. The No Tomorrow Boys
Beach_Bummer. Hounds Tooth
Tense In The Water. Support Force
Corpsepaint. Blood Beach
Wish I Could Love. Hollywood Tans
My Canary (Was Sure To Run) Your Rival
Goat Chasing. Animal Eyes
Guillotine. My Autumn’s Done Come
Get Lost. And And And
Into The Bay. YOUTH
Ophelia. Death Songs
Talk Alotta. BOOM!
Reverie. Father Figure
[The first Underbelly Bender show is this Friday at Slims with Your Rival, Death Songs, and And And And. Check the facebook event for a full schedule.]