September 4, 2008

MFNW Day #2: Crystal Ballroom - Eskimo and Sons, Calvin Johnson and M Ward

add to kirtsy

When going to the Crystal Ballroom for a concert, it is necessary, if you love your feet, to get there early and snag a seat on the benches in the back corner, right under the air vent. But now I shouldn't have told you that. I'll have to fight you for it when I'm there next.

Since the Crystal Ballroom was an all ages show tonight, it was sure to be crowded, so we got there early, when Eskimo and Sons was playing. They were happy and loud and grateful to the crowd. Also enthusiastic about their music: "We're going to jam on this shit so hard!" They are also apparently breaking up the band and this was one of their last shows. ("We are never ever ever playing this song again!") They have one more show on Saturday at the Towne Lounge. Go. They were delightful. And drunk.

Verdict: So glad I heard them, sad I won't hear them again.

Calvin Johnson
was next. He had a good strong voice, but it was so noisy that I couldn't really make out what he was saying or singing and I could barely hear the guitar. He sounded like my brother does when he breaks out into song in the car. I did catch that he said he was from Olympia, which is where I grew up. Wikipedia said that he is one of the major figures of the Olympia indie rock scene. I could have known who he was if I hadn't been sequestered in my house listening to Whitney Houston and Broadway musicals in the late 80s. But that's neither here nor there. I didn't really like him when he started playing. I perked up when I started hearing some good strong music and I turned to Ansley and said, "Now we're talking - I like this." Then I looked up on stage and realized that he wasn't playing anymore. It was the music between bands coming over the speakers.

Verdict: Maybe in a small bar, over some drinks and fries, but not in the Crystal Ballroom.

Let's play a word association game. M Ward. Rich. Sweet. Maple Sugar Candy. Melted and poured on my head. Entrancing. Deep. Lovely. Baseball hat. Cool shirt. Genius. Entertaining. Pleasant.

This show rocked. The crowd yelled and stomped and clapped when he said, "Hello Portland. It's good to be home." I love that. I love when I'm at home with an artist in Portland. What can be better than that. This was the best I've seen in a long time. It was mellow and rich, then upbeat and complex. Entertaining at all levels. I could have listened to him forever. In fact, it's time for bed and I think I'll just pop on one of his albums to fall asleep to. I want to dream about the magic voice.

Verdict: Hell yes. The best.

Tomorrow: Vampire Weekend at the Crystal again. Don't even think about stealing my seat.


Sara said...

So glad M Ward was fantastic. Just as I would expect. I love tbe fact you liked the intermission music better than the band. Trust me, I think we have all been there before.

Vampire Weekend. Oh, if only I could magically be two places at once tonight...