In a city as small as Portland, conflicting concerts can spell sabotage. With only so many music fans on hand, the best bet for a full house is often to combine forces. Which is exactly how a show originally scheduled for the Apohadion ended up instead slotted as the early show at SPACE Gallery.
When I moved to Maine from the Green Mountains I lamented that Portland was too hip for me. I traded my Crocs for cowgirl boots and bid adieu to the judgment-free vibe of Vermont. This past Monday at SPACE assured me that the city still retains a healthy amount of hippie. It was the first show I attended at SPACE where "seated" was interpreted to mean on the floor.
Planets Around the Sun, also known as the 33 Congress band-in-residence, started the evening with an electric improvisation that had the same courageous atmosphere as a college-age house concert. The "free for all" gallery display added to the living-room ambience, as the crowd cozied up and gave warm reception to the barefoot artists.
Next up was Peace, Loving — another unorthodox group, but with a more DIY feel. Instead of guitars, the group featured wind chimes. And saws. And handheld recorders. And quarters thrown at ceiling pipes. Was it an experiment in sound, or conventional comfort levels? I wasn't sure.
By the time Theodore Treehouse took the stage, I was in need of something a little more structured. The band's solid percussion and Modest Mouse vibe provided exactly that. Even the bike punks couldn't resist bopping their heads.
Prince Rama of Ayodhya rounded out the evening with the perfect merging of the night's sounds thus far: echoed moaning on a microphone combined with killer beats. The crowd, now standing, danced freely, and even got over their fear of participation enough to grab some of the community noisemakers.
While a solid show of four bands was ending, the next event at SPACE was just setting up. Portland may be a small city, but any place that can support six bands in one night — and a Monday night no less — is not to be taken lightly.