For those who came of age in the late '80s, time travel became a reality at a local bar in SE Portland along the industrial Water Avenue this June. The New Zealand-born, American-grown singer-songwriter Dean Wareham just released his first solo LP in March, but at Bunk Bar on June 26, 2014, the set could have easily confused some for a Galaxie 500 show. Also known for his work with another influential band, Luna, Wareham's presence at the minuscule venue was a blessing for his fans and melancholic for the state of music.
At one point when a can of Old German beer spilled over, seeping its content under his effects pedals, the 50-year-old musician made a casual comment about how small the stage was. Yet, the size of the space was a minor distraction for Wareham who played with candor and humility, aided by his wife and a longtime musical partner, Britta Phillips, along with a guitarist and a drummer.
It was rather unfathomable that I would be standing in an intimate gathering hearing songs that are a quarter of a century old for the first time. Indie classics like "Tugboat" and "Blue Thunder" were like fables that I had to loosen from the grips of my childhood, a period when life was more about imagination than checking off items on a to-do list. And while songs from Wareham's new self-tilted album like "The Dancer Disappears" sounded just as precious, the crowd swallowed up the Galaxie 500 tunes as if they were the last bites of a cake they would not eat again for an indefinite future. For tomorrow, they'll be transported back to 2014 as they clock in for another day at work.