*photo of San Lorenzo by Aaron Sharpsteen. Other photos from the night can be found on the Deli Portland Facebook page.
The string of beautiful days and nights stirred something, a desire to attend the basic foundation of local underground music: the word-of-mouth house show. There was a time when I was attending these on a regular basis in Portland, years ago...but as it always happens, people move, houses are sold to different people, and I didn’t keep up with the who/what/when/where of it all.
How lucky then was I to find out about one of these shows while attending another, and not only that, but right down the street (literally 6 blocks away) from my deep SouthEast apartment. Armed with a bottle of root-beer schnapps and some cheap beer, I made my way over to a stranger’s house to catch some tunes.
The first band of the evening was so called “Russian surf act” Kozyol. The project seems to be the brainchild of Davey Zilban, who plays guitar and sings in Russian, slinging a mash-up of vaguely folksy-sounding surf that was the perfect start to a party. Nothing too aggressive or abrasive, but certainly nothing too relaxed or laid-back, Kozyol hit the perfect tempo and got bodies moving immediately. I knew it was going to be a good night.
Next up was Dim Wit, in this iteration a two-piece with Zilban moving back to drums and Jeff Tuyay moving up to sing and play guitar. Dim Wit is obviously a play on words, as I found the lyrics quite witty and compelling, and Tuyay very charming and natural as a lead man. There’s something pleasing about a minimalist set-up that can crank out well-written but unconventional songs and keep it interesting, and Dim Wit did just that. They also somehow stirred the young folks (yes, I am old enough to say that) into some light moshing by the end.
Absolutely no offense to any of the other bands who played, but the night belonged to The Super Secret Hot Girls Club, who threw down what might have been one of the best house-show performances I’ve seen in quite a while. After two more traditional rock acts they turned up the noise and upped the tempo, with an energetic front-man who had the entire room in the palm of his hand.
Unfortunately there was a casualty, as it appeared one of the more energetic participants slammed into a wall and left a gigantic, body shaped hole. By this point the root beer schnapps and cheap beer was completely gone and so was I, and it was great.
Closers San Lorenzo were obviously the most polished, “professional” bands of the evening (check them out, they have shows coming up all over town in the next month or so) but the crowd was a little thinned out, possibly because of the relative age of the audience and perhaps because the people who slammed into the wall dipped the fuck out instead of doing the decent thing and sticking around to take responsibility for their mistakes. Seriously. My ears were still ringing from The Super Secret Hot Girls Club but San Lorenzo ended the night well with a solid performance.
After the quality that I witnessed on Saturday, it’s safe to say that I plan on attending many more of these soirees over the next few months. Hope to see you there, in the garden from which our underground music scene grows: the shady-looking house down the block with the music coming out of it.
Aaron Sharpsteen is a photographer and swell dude based in Portland, Or.