In fact, it sort of looks like these folks (three of whom are apparently members of the Matching Douchebag Hat Society) are in line at the low-income medical clinic waiting to get their gonorrhea test results back. And they're watching the most recent patient doing the walk of shame back toward the parking lot, thinking to themselves, "This is sort of an embarrassing place to be, but at least I can get this whole mess cleared up with a brief course of antibiotics."
You'd never know they were actually at Holocene, a club in Portland that puts on pretty good shows a fair number of nights per week, watching Strangers Die Every Day, a string trio/rock band with a beautiful godspeed you! black emperor-ish vibe and an amazing stage presence, would you?
So listen. I love Portland. I love living here; I love the restaurants, the bridges, the live music every-freakin-where you go, the fascinating fashion combinations and so on. But this is a thing I've noticed since the first show we went to here, and it bugs the hell out of me every time:
If you are too cool to enjoy yourself at a show, you are too cool to be there at all. And so you should probably stay home.
Jim and I went to Someday Lounge on Saturday night to see a trifecta of bands: Bodhi, Eternal Tapestry (yes! it is the goofiest name ever for a band!) and Modey Lemon. All the bands were good; we went because we'd heard fine things about Bodhi, but everyone ended up putting on a pretty swell show. Eternal Tapestry was the biggest surprise of the night: their guitarist, who was a very unassuming-looking and rather nerdish fellow, ended up shredding in major Guitar Hero hip-thrusting axe-slamming guitar-strap-snapping style. And Modey Lemon (straight outta Pittsburgh!), all three of whose members looked remarkably like refugees from Stillwater (the band in Almost Famous, if you don't want to look it up) freakin rocked. They were amazing--heavy and solo-ey without being jammy or noodley (both of which traits are the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned... I don't want to feel like I've accidentally wandered into a Phish concert, for god's sake).
So there's all this fine music happening on stage in a fine venue (Someday Lounge is beautifully nicely laid out for a small club). And Jim and I are having a fine time... you know, a little head-bobbing, a little toe-tapping, nothing egregious. (Nobody loves the solo hippie dancer who seems to show up at every free show on the planet, twirling and waving her arms about like a sad little Deadhead kelp strand.)
And pretty much everybody else in the place is standing there, arms crossed, super-blase cranky expressions on their chin-pubed faces, as chock-full of enthusiasm as a box of All-Bran. Smiling is uncool, you know, as is clapping or, heaven forbid, shaking your booty a little bit.
I can't even imagine how disheartening it must be for a band to be putting their hearts into a show (especially those bands who have to schlep their own gear... gee whiz), rocking too hard for just one hand, and then to look down and see a bunch of po-faced knuckleheads standing there concentrating on maintaining the Facade of Eternal Hipness.
Seriously, people, if you can't just stay home and suffer your angst in private, can you at least get away from the front of the stage so those of us who are actually there to enjoy ourselves can get a better look?
Portland, get over yourselves! Have fun or get out!