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Live Review: Fruit Bats at The Mission Theater - January 23rd, 2010

6:35… I’m at the Mission Theater, alone and wondering if this is the correct choice for a Saturday evening. I soon find my hand being stamped with black ink by a man in bright yellow-and-pink clothing that looks to have been dug out of a bin where beggars throw their rejects. Following his kind direction into the theater hall ahead, I perform my best scurry through the crowd, quickly settling in a secluded seat with cushions and a decent view.

6:42… It was an all-ages sort of thing, and each was there to give a proper representation for their group. There was a grandma to the front, dads scattered about, children speckled within, and a large number of teenagers to my right, bringing back memories of these sort of things in a time that seems so far past. We made up the majority of the crowd; our age group, those who like myself, were ready to discover whether this was indeed the correct choice for an early Saturday evening.

7:01… A band appears. Well...some people got on stage with instruments and started playing music anyhow. Although listening intently for a name between each retro-embraced B-52’s-esque number, all I could come up with was “The Sunny Sunshine.” These guys had a decent sound, but lacked enough confidence/charisma/any interest at all to pull it off very well. Mid-set, the bass pedal collapsed and the front man asked if there were any comedians amongst us. Living in the moment, grandma stands up immediately from her family table and waves both hands in the air. Not expecting to be called out, “we the crowd” watch in anguish as she reluctantly approaches the stage. In one of those unspoken, “united we stand in embarrassment for you” moments, breath was held, eyes slammed shut, fingers were broken to a cross…and grandma told a joke. Something about Nantucket and a nugget, either way, it wasn’t music and it wasn’t funny, unless of course bitter reality is your cup of tea. The band finished dillydallying shortly after grandma had left the building, and The Sunny Sunshine played out the rest of their very unfocused set.

 

8:00… the Fruit Bats arrive. Being someone who has only heard their music a couple of times, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but was quite confident that if these guys merely came out and shouted their name with any stamina, it would stand as the top performance of the evening. Luckily, they did one better. Bringing the focus back to enjoyable, front man Eric Johnson called the crowd up to dance. Following the teenagers to my right, the fathers and children speckled about, all my peers, and yes, even the Nantucket Nugget herself, I leapt into the swarm.

8:35… When a band performs with so much personality and spunk, it often times rarely matters if what they are playing is any good. But the Fruit Bats were better than good, and wonderful performers at that, shouting to the crowd and genuinely showing pleasure in raising an audience. At one point Johnson apologized for not having the time to profess his witty banter upon us due to a curfew for the theater, but gave just as much in singing and leading our dance by the last second of the very last note.

- Michael Miller

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Parenthetical Girls Release New Video and First Installment of New Album

Evelyn McHale leaped to her death from the Empire State building’s 86th floor observation deck in May of 1947. A limousine caught her fall. Minutes after her death photographer Robert Wiles captured McHale’s peculiarly serene post-jump repose.

And now, 63 years later, Parenthetical Girls have written a song equally as morose and beautiful as its namesake. “Evelyn McHale,” is one of four tracks comprising Privilege: Pt. 1 – On Death and Endorsements, the first of a series of five extremely limited-edition 12-inch EPs released by the band’s own Slender Means Society label. On Death and Endorsements will be released February 23, with a quarterly release of the following EPs spanning the next 15 months.

Parenthetical Girls plan to release the final 12-inch, concluding the box set and completing the record, May of 2011. Each installment of Privilege is limited to 500 physical copies and will not be distributed in stores.

 -Katrina Nattress

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A quick look outside your local scene: The other Deli Best of 2009 Polls

Rockers, Folkers and Poppers of all ages, sexes and hair colors,

The Deli's regional Year End Best of Polls for emerging artists are finally over and it's time to have a quick look at what's going on outside your local scene. Here's a recap of the winners of our nine polls with links to overall charts and readers' polls results:

AUSTIN - Winner: Stereo Is a Lie
Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

CHICAGO - Winner: I Fight Dragons

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart

LOS ANGELES - Winner: Local Natives

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart

NASHVILLE - Winner: Those Darlins

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart

NEW ENGLAND- Winner: Mean Creek

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

NYC - Winner: Talk Normal

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

PORTLAND - Winner: Explode into Colors

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

PHILLY - Winner: Reading Rainbow

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

SF BAY AREA - Winner: Girls

Overall Chart
- Readers Chart - list of jurors

The Deli's Staff





Liz Harris Helps Out with Indie Film Sputnik


Liz Harris of the solo project Grouper has done a fabulous job of writing and arranging a little score for Weston Currie's weird and eerily shot film, Sputnik. Grouper's last album, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, was met with great critical reviews, and was recognized on Pitchfork's Best 50 albums of 2008.

Harris' craft of spinning ethereal sounds continues to grow, as does her commercial success.

- Joel Sommer

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Wampire: Over the River and Into the Woods, a Free Holocene Gig

How can this town possibly afford to give away anymore free music?

On Wednesday, January 27th, Holocene introduces their first edition of Carpet Culture where you can "get warm n fuzzy in the front lounge room with some of Portland's greatest up-and-coming musical talents."

This week features electro-rock with Wampire, dark soundscapes from Tunnels, and some cozy and curly ambient like the fur of Golden Retriever Moody. Plus Wampire shows up again on the big screen in the premiere episode of Into the Woods, a new web series where Portland bands march out to a cabin in the wilderness of Mt. Hood to perform an intimate concert with their besties.

Check the trailer out here but show your face at Holocene at 8:30 p.m. for the real deal, for free!!! 21+

 

- Chris Young

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