Sunday, September 11, 2011
Crystal Ballroom, MFNW. The festivities are drawing to a close, and after this last set of this last full evening, there will be no more club gigs in MFNW, only the outdoor concerts at Pioneer Courthouse Square, and for only one more day. But tonight, I ended the club gigs on a particularly joyful note, by seeing Blind Pilot playing the Crystal Ballroom.
Blind Pilot are a folk-rock sextet, and their checklist includes everything that I like in the genre. Keyboardist also plays the trumpet? Check. Upright bass? Check. Female multi-instrumentalist playing ukulele and banjo? Check. Vibraphone player? Check. Charismatic frontman? Check. Good original songs with interesting structures and changing textures? Check. Bonus points: they performed a near-acapella cover of Paul Simon's "Cecilia" to synchronized handicaps.
They are extremely popular in Portland, and the Crystal Ballroom, a large capacity venue, was packed. It's also one of the hottest clubs I've been to - I saw The Kills there last Wednesday night (which seems like an eternity ago now) and was shocked at how hot and sweaty the club was and by their apparent lack of so much as a ceiling fan. It was every bit as hot tonight.
This is Blind Pilot's moment - teenage girls were shrieking at the band's every move, including the set up, and when was the last time you heard teenagers getting all worked up over folk rockers? They have a new album coming out and announced this was their CD release party. They are headlining their home town's music festival. This has got to be as good as it gets for a band like this, especially in these hard times for the music industry.
This was my first time seeing Blind Pilot perform, although I have heard them on some performance podcasts. But having now seen them live, I can unequivocally say that I like them. A lot. It was a good way to start to reign in the festivities and my rock 'n' roll vacation.
Update: Someone posted their cover of "Cecilia" on YouTube.