Words by Trent Hutchinson
On August 24, a crowd at the Doug Fir Lounge was treated to an all-Portland bill. Cambrian Explosion started off the night with a healthy dose of heavy psych rock. Closing with “Innocuous Creatures” off their recent EP The Moon, the song found the band in their most peyote-induced desert wanderings with the middle of the song breaking down to a soft trip through space, aided and abetted by Derrin Twiford’s theremin skills, before exploding once again in the tumultuous doom of an impending asteroid.
Up next was Eclisse, the new project headed by Febian Perez, formerly of Bike Thief. Anticipating their debut LP, The Origin of Error, this gig marked only the second show for this band, a surprising fact given how tight their sound seemed to be. (Listen to two tracks from the new record below.) With three guitars, bass and drums, bands can sometimes run the risk of a muddied or redundant sound. Given their freshness to live performance, Eclisse really did a remarkable job avoiding this, with each member layering lush and varied tones symbiotically across the sonic spectrum, as their songs stalked and slinked through the unlit corridors of a mad and tortured mind. Unfortunately the impressive vocal gymnastics of Perez, bouncing from Jeff Buckley-like falsetto croons to menacing howls (often in the same breath) sometimes got buried in the mix. At one point, the band did leave the stage to Perez, who, trading his electric guitar for an acoustic, played the softer ballad “Your Son” off their new album, allowing his vocals more space to come through. They're definitely a band to watch out for in the future.
Abandoning the heavy psych of the preceding two sets, Hustle and Drone kicked things up a notch with the infectious energy of their own take on '80s synthpop in a vein similar to Junior Boys. Behind banks of synthesizers and drum machines, the trio, led by ex-Portugal. The Man member Ryan Neighbors, managed to get even the stiffest of Portland bodies moving to glitched-out beats, funky basslines and dirty analog synths. With exaggerated affect, the three sang and danced together like a group of friends drunk on camaraderie (and booze) at a karaoke bar doing covers of TV On The Radio and Bruno Mars. Needless to say, it was a grand time.