thedonproject
Point Juncture, WA, Velella Velella, Secret Highways The Tractor
Review
Published 04-09-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

I hope it’s not my fault that you didn’t go.

And now what the rest of you are here for:

The Tractor. This night will live in infamy. And the show was pretty good too.

Secret Highways
I like Secret Highways a lot. The singer/bassist from Velella Velella complimented them on their guitar tones, so I can’t do that, but I wholeheartedly agree. I reviewed them once already, actually, so I won’t spend all night saying the same things. The sound tonight compared to their Chop Suey show was greatly improved. I understood the song structures much better when I was able to discern all the parts. The parts are really good. I like the high guitar twiddly bits the best. They have a bigger sound than just the three piece configuration would imply. I’m glad I got to hear the clarinet this time. I liked the delay and layering of the clarinet sound (on the one song). I kept waiting for the band to rock the hell out, but this is not that type of band. This is the type of band that you drive through eastern Washington with. On long, straight roads past wheat fields in September. A lovely way to start the evening, and I was feeling pretty excellent at this point.

And then…

I got a haircut this afternoon and put on my bright blue Bronze Fawn shirt in an attempt to boost the “I’m not so bad” meter. Apparently the ruse worked. After the Secret Highways set, I was sitting in a lonely chair and recuperating from all the work I did on the house today (not much, actually) and a nice looking lady started chatting me up. It was pretty awesome and I was suitably open minded despite my recent lapses into insanity. It appeared that I had at least average social skills and was doing moderately interesting things with my life. We talked about a band she liked and this magazine she used to run and she provided a facebook and myspace link for further communication. Then Velella Velella started playing and it was time for dancing. My idea of dancing and her idea of dancing were somewhat different. It made for an awkward first and second song, and then during the third song I said “I just met you, I’m not comfortable…” “Fine, I get it” (or something similar), a kiss on the cheek, and she went back over to her friend and, after finishing their drinks, they left. I felt a little bit bad for her, since she was unlucky enough to pick such a morbidly depressed prude. And now that I’ve visited the myspace to check her age I’m amused by the whole situation. She’s outside my self-imposed 5 year range anyways, though she was pretty and seemed nice enough.

Velella Velella
What seems like ages ago, a beautiful and talented and wonderful and music-scene-connected woman was considering what bands would play at our wedding reception. She never told me about this until well after the tragic events of 12-4-07, but I like to dream about it sometimes when I haven’t had a haircut in a long time and I’m not wearing my bright blue Bronze Fawn t-shirt and my “I’m not so bad” meter is in the red. I dream that we would have come to an agreement that we’d each get to pick two bands (though I’d have tried to pick two bands she liked, of course). Tonight, I imagined that Velella Velella was one of her choices. Imagine like you just got married and get to spend the rest of your days with a supportive and handsome and caring and flashes-of-above-average man. You would want to party with a band that represented the elation in your heart. A band that could get even the most stoic of sourpusses to, at the very least, tap their feet a little bit. A band that causes strangers to grind all up on each other. Oh wait, maybe not. No, screw it, let everyone celebrate how they want to. There’s no freak-dancing rule to enforce here. You just need a band that can spread the happiness you feel through electronics and hand claps and home-spun lighting rigs and switching instruments and everybody singing the word “party” and hand percussion and drum machines and a suave leather jacket and upbeat songs of joy. You need Velella Velella.

Point Juncture, WA
Portland quartet Point Juncture, WA (wait, Portland?) brought it back down from blissful happiness to simple goodness. They have a lady drummer who also sings. I have a soft spot in this hard heart of mine for drummers who sing. Again, multi-instrumentalism is the new grunge, so they all play two instruments. Guitarist also plays bass, bassist also plays drums and sings, keyboardist also plays trumpet and sings, drummer also sings and plays bass and marimba. They invited a guest up to play sleigh bells and then had her stay for a round of shaker playing. She did quite well. See? Multi-instrumentalism everywhere you look. Now, I’m not just stalling because I can’t remember much after the “incident” earlier… okay, I am. Point Juncture, WA was smooth. Like the Puget Sound on a calm winter day. Yet, they weren’t boring. They wandered from sort of noisy stuff to sort of poppy stuff without a blink. They are *really* nice people. Their music is for nice people and doesn’t have any scary edge anywhere, but still pushes the boundaries of what pop music is. Their slightly off key vocal delivery was endearing (and understandable given that all the vocalists were multi-tasking) and their rhythms and melodies were interesting and toe-tapping. I wanted to buy the vinyl to check out the recorded songs, but could only afford the CD, unfortunately. It appears they’ll be touring with The Thermals, so you folks should check them out in your city soon. Bring enough cash for the vinyl, it looks awesome.

Well, now it’s 2AM and I’ll be drifting off to sleep with an unsolved conundrum or two to think over. But it will be relatively happy problem solving. Or problem not solving.

Keywords: point juncture, secret highways, Tractor Tavern, velella velella
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