Port Angeles: The city lies precariously on the shores of an ancient lake, in the misty eternal twilight of the Olympic Peninsula in the Northwestern United States (of America). The city itself is a contradiction in nearly every way: it is light, yet dark; you can see Canada, yet you are not in it; the two words that make up its name are maddeningly derived from two different languages; 4th street is a thousand feet above 3rd street. And so on…
I was called upon by folk / psychedelic / rock group Autumn Electric to open up for them at a venue called Bohemian Lounge. It was on 3rd street. The venue existed in an impossible realm along a street which was perpendicular to two streets of the same name, one of which rose vertically into the sky, disappearing at a point somewhere in the ionosphere, the other of which was so dark that neither light nor time could escape it. Finding the venue proved to be the most difficult task imaginable, as its sign and entrance were only visible to people who weren’t expecting or looking for them, and you could only enter the property by forgetting why you came. Finally arriving at the venue required deep patience and accepting disturbing paradoxes of physics, but it especially took help from other people, and I eventually did find it.
The local ambassadors of culture were filing into the dimly lit and vaguely noisy warehouse. The warehouse was immense, a prism bearing faces on either end that were shaped like half-buried eggs; or perhaps like a silver slice of bundt cake. The corrugated iron facade made a bold attempt at shining in the damp night, but ultimately failed, defeated by a thin coating of rust. I greeted the person who led me there, Annie of the Estefets, and followed her into the ominous ovular edifice, fully expecting to be blasted with a thick cloud of illegal smoke, or the monotone chanting of a new Heaven’s Gate cult, or perhaps I would be hauled into the back corner to undergo a brutal interrogation by some government agency about whom I’d never heard…or had but didn’t believe. In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by a relatively clean environment, relatively positive people of all ages, a bathroom fully stocked with toilet paper and seemingly not misused, and an actual PA system.
The show was a blast, in every sense of the word, or at the very least in one sense of the word. The show began with a stellar performance by the band Robot Pi, only two days away from their the holiday which bears their namesake (Robot Day). They performed comedic new wave electro rock, and did it very well. Every moment was hilarious and danceable. The next performer was I. And I had fun…standing up there in the heat of the burning lights, staring out into an unfamiliar crowd, hearing as the sound of my guitar amplifier reverberated off the metal walls of the building…retreating into the inner playground of the mind, while I let my body to the grueling labor of musical performance…you know. Then Autumn Electric performed, and I imagine had a similar experience to mine, only as a collective of four, each one’s subconscious a ghost of the other. They made use of the enormous space by letting their sounds go and come back and put the audience and themselves into trances. The Estafets closed the night with classic driving new wavy punk rock (or something). The music pulsed into the late hours of the wet night dragging us with it into the endless abyss of….er….something. Okay, that’s all I have.
Thank you Amber for helping put the show together!