Fundraiser: Surfs Drugs, Andrew Endres Collective, and The We Shared Milk@ The Firkin Tavern 2/13/2014
The Thursday before Valentine’s day, I went out to the Firkin Tavern to see my friends The We Shared Milk and a jazz band that I was very curious about, Andrew Endres Ensemble. It’s a trek I’ve made many a time.
There’s just something about this relatively small, darkened bar with a tiny patio that grows on you. Last Thursday The Firkin hosted a fundraising show for our friends at Pals Clubhouse. For the past three years, Pals has hosted a free music festival in the summer. They’ve been really fun, but they’ve been costly: there are permits that need to be purchased, and so on. Here’s hoping that last Thursday’s fundraiser will have made this year’s festival a little less stressful!
The first band up was the very weird Surfs Drugs. I have no idea what these guys’ deal was, but they had sort of an interesting aesthetic. Two depressed-looking guys made odd jokes that no one got, scratched on their guitars while one of them mumbled and yelled into the mic, and introduced every song as “Hashtag Kim Kardashian”. One of them started the set wearing a dog mask and occasionally brandished a trumpet during the set.
Despite not being able to make out any of their lyrics, I felt that these guys had some charm– like a twisted comedy band jocking the blurry aesthetic of neo-psych. I’ll look out for them in the future; they cracked me up in a way that reminded me of The Memories, another really strange Portland band.
What stranger way to follow up this band than with a polished, highly satisfying (and also very polite) jazz band: Andrew Endres Collective!
I got a lot of pleasure out of this set of forty or so minutes of laid back jazz fusion. It may come off the wrong way to use the word “mellow” but this band was pretty satisfying, with a free-wheeling, bubbly sound married perfectly to considerable technical expertise. The high point of the set for me came in the middle– with the band venturing into some of the vaguely Eastern spaces of quiet-Electric-jazz for one piece. Guitarist Andrew Endres messed around with a soft, plaintive tone on his guitar pedals for a minute or two, then the rest of the band slowly glided in. This was a set of impressive musicianship and humbleness and I will definitely check them out again in the future. Here’s their bandcamp.
The headliners of the show were my friends in The We Shared Milk. It had been something like a few months since I’d seen them play, and I guess I picked the right time to drop in on them, because they were in top form on this night.
Over the years, The We Shared Milk have built up a loyal following. I can honestly say they’re one of the best live rock acts in Portland. It’s just fun to go out and see them play. And they play quite a lot– at a rate of something like at least two to three times a week, for just about every week for the past two years. The We Shared Milk have a very distinctive, deliberately hybridized sound– drummer Eric Ambrosius likes math rock and the overarching influence of psychedelic rock and grunge comes through in guitarist/vocalist Boone Howard’s lyrics. The We Shared Milk can get the whole room dancing with thrashing, insistent rock that sounds a little fast, a little psychedelic, a little grungey, all the things that people would want from a rock band, really. When Ambrosius, Howard, and bassist Travis Leipzig get cooking, they show an uncommon passion– Ambrosius in particular hammers away like a madman as they careen through a sonic rollercoaster of post-grunge jamming. Here’s a link to their bandcamp; show them some love, as they’ve given away their albums completely FOR FREE in the past and have played countless free shows in addition to opening for big names and touring the East Coast.
That’s all for today, and remember: support local music!
Photos taken on a point-and-shoot by me.