Smile Politely

Blitzen Trapper’s Ball

bt1My weekend had book ends with a manic middle, just like most weekends do for everyone all over the world.  The far side of the weekend was a disappointing chance at revenge for the Chicago Bears.  My middle was a mangled mess of galvanized steel (two tons worth!), which formerly compromised my second 3,000 square foot high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) project for my job. 

However, with all the mania my weekend brought, the beginning was fine. A wonderful evening of music in the form of Blitzen Trapper and the Shaky Hands at the Canopy Club filled this essential base to a weekend that might make most throw their hands up in surrender.  I guess live music just has that sort of power sometimes.

The evening began with the Shaky Hands.  These boys are good friends and fellow Portland townies with multiple time touring mates Blitzen Trapper.  There was absolutely nothing contrived about this four piece.  Their straight forward rhythm driven rock and roll screamed attention from the 75-80 early attendees trickling through the doors into the theatre.   The lead singer pounded foot and leg upon the stage to every beat as the sweat flung forth onto the unsuspecting stage.  He used no pedals, Les Paul straight into tube powered Fender magic. They just brought it, plain and simple.  It was refreshing and easy to take in compared to the fury of genre and dynamics that I was about to become privy to. 

bt2If you are not a Blitzen Trapper fan, I can see how their onslaught of genre jumping with each given set of songs might overwhelm and turn off.  As for me, I love it.  They pull it off effectively and yet still within overlapping areas of the different genres they explore. Though parts of songs like the shoegazy garage rocker “Love U” tend to drift and distract the attention of some, most of their set was amazing. Beginning with Furr opener “Sleepytime in the Western World,” and seamlessly weaving through notable numbers like “Wild Mountain Nation” and my personal favorite “Not Your Lover.”

There were two self-proclaimed “firsts” for Blitzen Trapper that evening, both of which were enough for them to feel welcome and promise their near return to our beloved musical enclave.  The first of these was a 45 second crowd surf during the crowd pleaser title track to their 2008 release Furr. The second was an impromptu junior high couple dance onstage during their encore cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest.”  At first it was one bold couple, and it seemed fitting enough, until it was followed by a small exodus onstage.  The band had to unfortunately cut the song short amidst a little onstage laughter and fears of escalation.  This isn’t the first time in the past few years that the audience/stage line has been crossed at the Canopy Club.

I had a great time, they are great performers, and the audience loved them back for the fun and energy they were emanating from stage.  It was expected on my part, but sometimes when you put an ounce worth of faith into a live show, everything can seemingly go wrong.  This Blitzen Trapper show did not display such a result.  If you missed them this time, I am sure they will return.  Plus there are plenty of other shows this semester to wet your whistle.   

For more photos from the show, be sure to check out Jamie Newell’s SPlog post.

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