Every act that plays this cozy living room show is distinctive, with something passionate and personal to transmit.
July 18th, 2013 @ Dream’s Outer Space in Portland, Oregon
First up is Wizard Apprentice (formerly known as Fat Transfer), from Oakland, CA. My friends and I come in during the tail end of her performance, lulled, hypnotized, and mesmerized by her loop-oriented, disembodied soul music. She plays with backing tapes, vaguely karaoke style, with layers and loops of her own voice, making a spectral chorus out of thin air. Talk about “an army of me”! She unknowingly answers a few questions I’d been having regarding arrangements and structure, and my mind is whizzing with new ideas by the time she extinguishes her wicks. She’s got a new album out on Bandcamp, seems to be a formidable talent with a distinctive vision to communicate, so you’d be advised to get in on the ground floor, and check out this newcomer.
The Ghost Ease
Local favorites The Ghost Ease, who are largely responsible for dragging us out into the industrial bowels of SE, are up next. I’ve been following Jem Marie’s output as The Ghost Ease for quite a while now, seeing her progress from an experimental bedroom-pop magician to a full-bore rock goddess. This performance marks the first time I’ve seen the band as a trio, since the induction of Fabi Reyna on the bass guitar — and it is probably the finest I’ve ever heard them sound (barring perhaps their Fela-Kuti-meets-Black-Sabbath impersonation at a birthday noise concert I organized). This evening, The Ghost Ease are definitely in their element; the lights are dimmed to suitable seance levels, with Nsayi Matingou (who used to play with the band Kusikia) creating a primal pulse on the drums. The feeling is of a late-night campfire: light burning low, mesmerizing embers dancing. Once the mood alights, Jem Marie is able to let go, with her Fender roaring and purring like a black panther. They are all clearly having a great time — vibing you might say, getting ready for a big show at PDX POP NOW! the following weekend. To me, however, this seems like the real event — the hidden magickal moment where real rock n’ roll is made, with only a dozen people looking. A great reminder to not get blasé and skip small shows, as they are where the real shit goes down.
Filardo plays next, hushed and gentle electric guitar miniatures with abstract lyrics, surreal while still being personal, delivered with a voice like air blowing through a pipe factory. He remindes me of a mixture of M. Ward, Jandek, and Bill Callahan, succeeding in making truly experimental jazz/folk/blues. He’s one of the most talented electric guitarists I’ve seen in a hot minute, with a truly light and graceful touch. I feel like I am getting to see Lorren Mazzacane Connors in a tiny living room; my friends are also suitably impressed. He’s gained some new fans from his recent stints in Portland; until he comes back, I’ll be digging through his meager recorded output and stealing ideas.
And for the pièce de résistance, a solo intimate acoustic set from Mr.