Saturday, May 3, 2008

VHS Or Beta - Live at the Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR 2008/05/02


The new-wave nostalgiacs known as VHS Or Beta seem to have a soft spot for Portland and heavy logs. Last night's show was their third at the Doug Fir Lounge in the past nine months, and after having missed them the first two times they swung through the Rose City, I managed to shake off my SAD and throw some dance-rock mojo on the local kids.

I could break out my fakebook and internet search machines to fool you into thinking I have an intimate knowledge of the band's catalog, but listen here, Mulder: the truth is I like to get tipsy and swirl my girl around to VHSoB, and I don't really keep track of the song titles (though the Night On Fire album is my personal favorite for being my introduction to the band). What I can tell you is that whether they were being being mid-tempo romantic with "Bring On The Comets", blazing through "Night On Fire", or introducing the instrumental "Le Funk" (?) as a mid-90s disco song that was at odds with everything they were hearing on the radio at the time, the local crowd was starry-eyed for it. There might even have been a little fist-pumping along with the sing-along for the lyrics to "Burn It All Down", but I'll deny it if you call me out.

The group saved "“Can’t Believe a Single Word” for the encore, but it hardly made a dent on the enthusiasm level because it was already in the stratosphere. Kudos to VHS Or Beta for breaking through the stereotypical alt-indie vibe that Portland is known for and making some much needed headway in getting the Northwest to both rock out AND shake it's ass at the same time. When frontman Craig Pfunder knowingly proclaimed, "Portland on a f**king Friday night!", it was almost as if this WAS a typical evening for the 503.