• 'Twas a shocker to send a text to a friend the other night reading "Hey, the guitarist from Black Flag is about to perform in a warehouse two minutes from your house." Like much of Portland, the friend was unawares and unavailable, as Greg Ginn's 5 pm, two-set show at the secret DIRIGIMUS enclave last Friday night went largely unattended. Still, it was a worthwhile venture for those who made it — Ginn, now pushing 60, makes music nothing like the roaring blur of his signature West Coast punk band, though his guitar playing is still distinctly savage in Greg Ginn and the Royal We, the name of his tour-ready solitary exercise. Over a pre-programmed skeleton of uncomplicated beats and synth lines, Ginn layered percussive, staccato riffs with the unwavering dedication of a carpenter. His songs were instrumental, repetitive, and rather boring, which was actually pretty interesting given the whole context. Apparently he was explicit in not playing with local bands — a decision we're fine with, as it's kind of a fool's errand to open for the guy from Black Flag. A set by Cinema Cinema — a NYC duo which compressed Ginn's guitar playing, Henry Rollins's masculinity fetishizing, and the bedroom-metal percussion of Ginn's '90s band Gone — seemed to prove the point, awkwardly clearing the room for the intermission set. Dirigimus will be gone soon, but its ballsy summer roster and outskirts environment makes for a radically different type of Portland show experience, which is a torch that needs to be passed.
• Elsewhere in radical music ventures, the local label RESURGAM RECORDS has been born from the Local Sprouts Cooperative. Resurgam aims to produce "field recordings" of Portland-specific artists and musicians, and though its website boasts a lot of traditional formats right now (new albums from garage-rock band MR. NATURAL, the frail folk artist GAELLE ROBIN, and primitive guitarist JACK MARRIE), we could see the field-recording thing getting pretty interesting, capitalizing on the distinctly familiar fabric of some Portland locales. While some of Resurgam's catalog includes live, multi-artist recordings of house shows, we're particularly interested in CHRISTOPHER PULSONI's site-specific collaborations at Battery Steele, and wonder which other greater Portland locations have enough character to fuel an album. Visit resurgamrecords.com for more info.
• After a slumber of more than three years, old Portland doom band OGRE are reawakening in preparation for a gig September 1 at Geno's. Don't know yet if it's a one-off show or a full-bore reunion, but the band will have limited-edition CDs containing live, comp, and demo tracks for sale. Starting at the turn of the century, Ogre had a good long reign as one of the heaviest bands in Portland, and are among those who helped make doom metal a pop genre in this town.
: New England Music News
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