I don’t get out much. If I didn’t have a job or a dog to walk three times a day you’d think I was agoraphobic. So when my brother-in-law Paul suggested I meet him at the Foggy Notion to see the band Muscle Beach last Saturday Night it seemed as good a reason as any to get out of the house. I’ve been interested in the goings-on at the Foggy Notion and Paul offered to pay my three dollar cover charge–an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Muscle Beach turned out to be a blast. Not only did they blast my ears off as evident by the over modulation of my field recording, but they were unpretentious in their performance approach. They threw out shards of music, sound and noise. Two guys played electronic boxes with effects, along with a drummer and a singer down on the floor in front of the band. All of the band members had a microphone they used to yelp, grunt, shriek and do a little singing. It added up to a heavy, grungy, fragmented, psychobilly, caterwaul. It sounded like Pussy Riot meeting Nirvana without the guitars. They had the kind of swagger that makes a blogger reach for way off descriptions like that. There was the classic changing into show costumes on stage. The singer stripped down to his under shorts, climbed out of his wheelchair and crawled around on the floor in front if the stage. The drummer had a big beard and wore a fox head hat–a total mountain man look. He spouted funny one liners at the show’s end. The joke I considered cracking about four part harmony wouldn’t have gone anywhere. This is a band that’s about anything but harmony.
Paul told me they were a fun band and I enjoyed seeing them trash my preconceived notions of what music is supposed to be. It was refreshing to see something completely different and unexpected. Maybe there’s more of that around Portland, but like I said, I don’t get out much.
Here’s some audio and photos from the show: