Saturday was such a nice day — a big change from the wet, sub 40-degree days we have had lately — that after hitting the gym to strengthen my healing knee and mowing the lawn, I met some friends at Wulapalooza, Willamette University’s annual outdoor festival, to see Blitzen Trapper and The Blow perform.
I hadn’t seen either band before, and I had just recently heard of Blitzen Trapper, a Portland band that got its start as Salem’s Garmonbozia in 2000 and has received rave reviews for its most recent album, Wild Mountain Nation, and will release its next album, Furr, on big-shot Sub Pop records. The band’s mix of southern roots rock is all over the place musically but lots of fun. Groovy jams that got the hippie kids in the audience dancing.
Here is a video of Blitzen Trapper performing the title track from Wild Mountain Nation in New York City:
The Blow is one of my favorite Portland bands. Khaela Maricich’s voice is incredible, and her lyrics are funny and poignant. For the two albums I own, Everyday Examples of Humans Facing Straight into The Blow and Paper Television, she collaborated with Jona Bechtolt, who left in 2007 to work full-time with his own band, YACHT, also out of Portland. His beeps-and-blips soundtrack will be sorely missed. Khaela’s solo performance was great. It was just her on the stage, dancing around and telling the stories behind her music. She’s wacky and lots of fun.
Here’s a video of The Blow performing on its British tour:
After the two bands, we watched some fire dancers, who were just OK (although two of the women were really good). There were lots of drops — dropping flaming sticks on grass makes me understandably nervous — and most of them seemed to be concentrating so hard that they forgot the dancing part of the show. It was still fun. I certainly can’t imagine trying something like that. I would be a ball of flame in just a few minutes.
We skipped the last band and went for a beer at The Ram, a local brewery/bar and grill that still can’t seem to figure out how to provide good service. Still, the beer was great — I had a pint of The Ram’s famous Buttface Amber Ale. Tasty.