Portland Music Today
Well, first I think I’d like to say that I’m glad that I found nwmusicblog.com. It seems to be a real liberating place for real music discussion, that’s REALLY related to local music.
I read two blogs recently, one from New York, and another in England. They were both referring to the “Portland Scene” specifically. The blog was intentionally addressed to Portland as a separate entity from Seattle… I found this first attribute to be laughable. The next attribute was their aesthetic descriptions of the Portland scene… I had no idea what they were talking about, and I’ve been playing the Portland scene for 6 years now. No such environment exists that they were describing.
I won’t go on to elaborate, but I think it’s quite comical how hard people are trying to hold on to a dying idea. The Portland music environment is quite an anomaly. Here’s my observation:
Bands from afar look at the NW as a mecca for musical development. The bands that have so much CURRENT success from the area (Modest Mouse, The Decemberists), have convinced the bands that come here that this is the music that we all make here in Portland. Therefore, they all come to Portland with this lame music, and say it’s Portland music.
This is what I believe the people in the media are talking about. They say it’s the, “Portland Music Scene”.
The G Word
I would make the argument that this is definitely not the case, but a very different idea is true. Those that I grew up with here in Oregon, are all fans of heavy GRUNGE music. OOOOHHH NOOOOO, I said it! Not that word! UGGGHHHH, HISSSSSSSSS!!! That’s right GRUNGE. Or, should I say instead, punk rock. Bands like, Tad, Napalm Beach, Dead Moon, The Wipers, or the more esteemed counter parts, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.
I can attest to the TRUTH that this area is infamous for it’s DIY movement. I would suggest that this value still exists, and best identifies this scene to this day. And I should ALSO suggest that the sound is grungier and nastier than ever.
Here’s another simple truth…
NO ONE GOES TO HEAR THE MUSIC
That’s not to say there’s people going to the shows. I definitely think that’s going on, but in my observation, it’s all a conglomeration of the dance party, night life scene. NOT the rock and roll, liberate your minds idea. However, there’s defintely something to say about the metal movement. There’s definitely kids going to the Satyricon to hear the metal bands, but we’d all have to start METAL bands to fit in with this. My theory is that this is an extension of the Californian exodus (Californian corporate investors moving in on Oregon). Plus, it’s still more bands that AREN’T from Oregon.
Do I have a problem with this? Absolutely not. I think it’s great that people are making music that they love. however I think the world that we live in today music gets everywhere, and people get everywhere at a rate unlike any other. The “Portland” scene doesn’t exist. It’s really the “American” scene and it just happens in Portland, because they’re people from all over the country that make their way into Portland because it’s the new, “Indie” L.A. …. might I suggest that it’s because there’s so many people moving here from L.A.?
I’m pretty much rambling here, but I thought I’d get off to a start with speaking my mind. Is there great music in Portland? Absolutely!
I guess I’m just looking for suggestions on how we can start getting people to care about it…
I’m PROBABLY wrong. Tell me your experience has been different.