I tried writing a press release for this show a while back and found myself at a loss for words in trying to describe NUDE BEACH in a way that really captures what they're like and about as a band. It wasn't until I was driving around late night listening to English pre-punk that the comparisons finally started coming to mind.
NUDE BEACH are first and foremost a band out of the DIY punk scene, although I'd never describe their music as punk. Too many bands from our little scene these days seem to listen to little else, to be influenced by little else, and to sound like little else than other bands of their ilk. Alternately, too many bands these days are so busy emulating bands from the good old days that they've lost all relevance outside of their own myopic sub-sub-genre of independent music.
But, NUDE BEACH is their own animal. They're often compared to both TOM PETTY and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, but I'm equally reminded of ELVIS COSTELLO's earliest singles, possibly even EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS, played with the energy of THE JAM. And, as their video for "Walkin' Down My Street," the first single from their latest full-length, demonstrates, NUDE BEACH seems to just want to hang out and play music at a packed house show. (Unfortunately for those of us who love their music and want to claim it as our own without sharing it with the rest of the world, the days when NUDE BEACH will be able to play small clubs like Slabtown for five bucks might be drawing to an end. After completing this solo tour, they're slated to open for Roky Erickson on a tour of the East Coast and Mid-West, and the word will be out.)
And speaking of bands-on-the-verge, our own DIVERS will be there as well Friday night. Like NUDE BEACH, they are another band with strong DIY roots but influences that roam far and wide. For most of their existence as a band, DIVERS seemed to play infrequently if not rarely around town. Lately, though, they've started playing out and about more often, and they've started picking up more and more gigs that will introduce their sound to people who never got the invite to the house show they played last month. And, as much as I'd like to keep them as my own private secret, it's bitchen to see them starting to get the recognition they deserve because they truly are one of the best bands in Portland.
The other two bands on the bill, DEFECT DEFECT and BI-MARKS, feature two of the best frontmen in Portland (Seriously, the only one better who immediately comes to mind is August Alston from WALLS.). DEFECT's Colin Sanders brings his playfulness directly into the crowd, often pointing the mic at random audience members in an attempt to get them to sing lyrics they may or may not know while mussing their hair or otherwise just invading their personal bubbles. Evan Johnson of BI-MARKS, on the other hand, seems to be channeling Henry Rollins as he throws himself to the floor in the midst of the crowd, and whenever they play, my first thought is to clear the empty glasses from every table within fifteen feet of the stage. As a firm believer that live music is meant to be experienced and not just passively received (You can always watch TV at home if you want to be bored.), I cannot get enough of either of them.
Friday, September 14. Doors at 9. $5.
NUDE BEACH's "Walkin' Down My Street" video.
Two songs from NUDE BEACH's innovatively-titled "II" full-length.
DIVERS on Facebook.
DEFECT DEFECT's self-titled full-length on bandcamp.
BI-MARKS on MySpace.