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Crystal Ballroom

Where On Any Night, Anything Can Happen!!

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Full Event Calendar

Saturday, February 17

McMenamins and Portland Mercury present

"Sabertooth Micro Fest"

* Day 2 of three *

featuring:

Parquet Courts

Japanese Breakfast

Jay Som

Cat Hoch

Hand Habits

Lola's Room: Performances by School Of Rock

Lola's Room: Psychedelic 90s Dance Flashback

Al's Den: Holy Smokes and the Godforsaken Rollers with guest Bitches of the Sun

Al's Den: Sabertooth Comedy (10:30pm)

Ringlers: DJ'd After-party

A musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history

sponsored by Portland Mercury, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jackpot Records, Voodoo Doughnuts

On sale 10/20 12:00pm

(Times to be announced)

All ages welcome (Al's Den is 21+)

$35 advance, $40 day of show (VIP and Weekend Passes available)

"Sabertooth Micro Fest"

McMenamins and Portland Mercury proudly host the Fourth Annual Sabertooth psychedelicstonerrockmicrofest, a musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history.

Visit the Sabertooth website for all info!

Sabertooth is presented by McMenamins and Portland Mercury, with additional support from Jackpot Records, Pabst and Voodoo Doughnuts.

Weekend passes and VIP tickets available!

Microfest website:
http://www.sabertoothpdx.com/

Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts have New York in their blood. From the steadfast, chiming guitars of The Strokes and the spasmodic solos of Television to the urban roughness of The Velvet Underground and intenseness of Sonic Youth - they are the latest in a lineage of great bands from the Big Apple.

After capturing the world's attention with their second album Light Up Gold in 2012, they've released a steady stream of albums, EPs and singles. Their latest release and fifth studio album Human Performance mixed raucous and restless punk vitriol with woozy, sun-soaked, inward reflections.

 

Japanese Breakfast

"The title Soft Sounds From Another Planet alludes to the promise of something that may or may not be there. Like a hope in something more. The songs are about human resilience and the strength it takes to claw out of the darkest of spaces."

Michelle Zauner wrote the debut Japanese Breakfast album in the weeks after her mother died of cancer, thinking she would quit music entirely once it was done. That wasn't the case. When Psychopomp was released to acclaim in 2016, she was forced to confront her grief. Zauner would find find herself reliving traumatic memories multiple times a day during interviews, trying to remain composed while discussing the most painful experience of her life. Her sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, is a transmutation of mourning, a reflection that turns back on the cosmos in search of healing.

"I want to be a woman of regimen," Zauner sings over a burbling synth on the album's opening track "Diving Woman." This serves as Zauner's mission statement: stick to the routine lest you get derailed, don't cling to the past, don't descend. In fact, ascend to the stars; Zauner found artistic solace removed from Earth, in outer space and science fiction. "I used the theme as a means to disassociate from trauma," she explains. "Space used as a place of fantasy."

And yet, Soft Sounds From Another Planet isn't a concept album. Over the course of 12 tracks, Zauner explores an expansive thematic universe, a cohesive outpouring of unlike parts structured to create a galaxy of her own design. In the instrumental "Planetary Ambience," synths communicate the way extraterrestrials might, and on the shapeshifting single "Machinist," which Zauner has been performing live for over a year now, she details the sci-fi narrative of a woman falling in love with a machine. "It's pure fiction," she explains, "But it can map onto real relationships in a relevant way." The track, which begins with spoken-word ambience, moves into autotune ‘80s pop bliss and ends with a sultry saxophone solo, perfectly marries the experience: there's a perceptible humanity in mechanical, bodily events.

Within its astral production, much of Soft Sounds From Another Planet stays grounded. "Road Head" is the last chest compression in attempt to resuscitate a doomed relationship, while the penultimate track "This House" is an acoustic dirge that honors Zauner's chosen family. The baroque pop "Boyish" has a haunting, crystalline clarity that recalls the pathos of a Roy Orbison ballad, while "Body is a Blade" embraces the dark intimacy of Zauner's Pacific Northwest heroes Elliott Smith and Mount Eerie.
With help from co-producer Craig Hendrix (who also co-produced Little Big League's debut) and Jorge Elbrecht, (Ariel Pink, Tamaryn) who mixed the album, Zauner recontextualizes her bedroom pop beginnings, expanding and maturing her sound. The sheer massiveness of the big room production on Soft Sounds From Another Planet introduces listeners to a new Japanese Breakfast. Zauner's familiar, capacious voice will serve as their guide.

"Your body is a blade that moves while your brain is writhing," she sings. "Knuckled under pain you mourn but your blood is flowing." There's discernible pain in the phrasing, Zauner recognizing limitation, a lack of control, but then subverting the feeling, creating her own musical language for confronting trauma. Where Psychopomp introduced the world to Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds dives deeper. It builds space where there is none, and suggests that in the face of tragedy, we find ways to keep on living.

 

Jay Som

On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year's aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux-chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording-then the rising Oakland star's latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished.

Duterte is as DIY as ever-writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals-but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

And while Duterte's early stuff found her bucking against life's lows, Everybody Works is about turning that angst into fuel for forging ahead. "Last time I was angry at the world," she says. "This is a note to myself: everybody's trying their best on their own set of problems and goals. We're all working for something."

Everybody Works was made in three furious, caffeinated weeks in October. She came home from the road, moved into a new apartment, set up her bedroom studio (with room for a bed this time) and dove in. Duterte even ditched most of her demos, writing half the LP on the spot and making lushly composed pieces like "Lipstick Stains" all the more impressive. While the guitar-grinding Jay Som we first fell in love with still reigns on shoegazey shredders like "1 Billion Dogs" and in the melodic distortions of "Take It," we also get the sublimely spacious synth-pop beauty of "Remain," and the luxe, proggy funk of "One More Time, Please."

Duterte's production approach was inspired by the complexity of Tame Impala, the simplicity of Yo La Tengo, and the messiness of Pixies. "Also, I was listening to a lot of Carly Rae Jepsen to be quite honest," she says. "Her E•MO•TION album actually inspired a lot of the sounds on Everybody Works."

There's story in the sounds-even in the fact that Duterte's voice is more present than before. As for the lyrics, our host leaves the meaning to us. So if we can interpret, there's a bit about the aspirational and fleeting nature of love in the opener, and the oddity of turning your art into job on the titular track. There's even one tune, "The Bus Song," that seems to be written as a dialog between two kids, although it plays like vintage Broken Social Scene and likely has more to do with yearning for things out of reach.

While there's no obvious politics here, Duterte says witnessing the challenges facing women, people of color, and the queer community lit a fire. And when you reach the end of Everybody Works, "For Light," you'll find a mantra suitable for anyone trying, as Duterte says, "to find your peace even it it's not perfect." As her trusty trumpet blows, she sings: "I'll be right on time, open blinds for light, won't forget to climb."

 

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jaysommusic

Al's Den: Sabertooth Comedy (10:30pm)

Join us in Al's Den after the concert for some stoner friendly comedy with:

Jacob Christopher
Katie Nguyen
Phil Schallberger
Jason Traeger
hosted by Jon Washigton

 

A musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history

The Saber-toothed Cat thrived from the Eocene Epoch to the Pleistocene Epoch (a 42 million year stretch), and it's our hope that our Sabertooth Festival, with its roots in Portland's own "psycheluvic epoch"* will survive as long.

While psychedelic music covers a range of styles and genres, it is inspired by psychedelic culture and the attempt to replicate the mind altering experiences that started in mid-'60s folk rock and blues. As such, Sabertooth celebrates the historical role the Crystal Ballroom played through previous half-century of psychedelic music.

In the late 1960s the Crystal Ballroom celebrated an era referred to as "18 months of Psychedelia," and hosted mind expanding artists of the day from Frank Zappa to the Grateful Dead.  While the modern Sabertooth Festival celebrates this history and shares the same common thread of experimentation and the ability to transport the listener to an altered reality, it is not a rehash of artists from a bygone era; the psychedelic music of the 21st century is in fact very different than what it was in the 1960s.

The Crystal's psychedelic cred includes notable nuggets from rock and roll history:

  • the famous Peace Rites event at the Crystal in the '60s, where Allen Ginsberg disputably first read 'Howl' (we celebrate his fellow beats in the Joe Cotter mural in the room itself).
  • the Dead recorded much of their exploratory Anthem of the Sun at the Crystal
  • the forefather of the distorted and processed guitar, Jimi Hendrix, played there as well

The Crystal has always been the nexus of this scene and McMenamins has continued to program and promote music of this nature since its opening.

Those looking at psychedelia's earliest roots will also see the Crystal playing a role. The first use of the word "psychedelic" in reference to music was in reference to our friends and extended family, the Holy Modal Rounders (members of whom will be performing at the Sabertooth event) of the East Village Freak Folk scene.  Other key players of this scene were John Fahey, who's last Portland show was with us at our St Johns Pub; Bert Jansch  (Pentangle) who we have hosted on two occasions in Lola's Room and the Rounders themselves who have performed multiple reunion concerts at the Crystal Ballroom.

In the late 70s the new psychedelic revival featuring bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, George Clinton and Fishbone... all acts who have played the Ballroom. And as time moved on, the early 90s brought a "neo-psychedelic " movement with the Elephant 6 collective, and the Crystal continues to host their music (Jeff Mangum, Neutral Milk Hotel, of Montreal - and supporting the Saturday night show The Minders). 

The 21st Century lineage continues with such bands as Tame Impala, Animal Collective and The War on Drugs, who in fact just performed at the Crystal and whose early member/collaborator Kurt Vile headlined the inagural event along with stoner rock doom metal pioneers Sleep in 2015.

 

Psychedelic music in its varying forms and styles is part of the lifeblood of the Crystal Ballroom:  we wouldn't be open today without it, and we have continued to program it. Sabertooth is a natural extension of this, a full blown celebration of the music where the Company and the Crystal , as our predecessors , eternally presses Furthur ...

*from the Oregonian, March 3, 1967

Wiki-delia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_music

Interesting related Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Remember-the-Crystal-Ballroom-of-the-60s/1429127164040565