SHOW REVIEW: The Jimmies/Longfellow/The Drapes/Stagger
May 22, 1998--Portland, Oregon (Danceteria 2000)
By: Alex Steininger
Having never been to Danceteria 2000, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, yeah, I went to it a bunch of times when it was Suberbia, and thought it was a really great club, but what would it be like now? I was about to find out, and what better way to test a new club than with Longview/Portland's premiere punk band, The Jimmies.
Walking up the steps, I noticed a handbill on the wall stating the show was at 7:30pm. As I reluctantly walked through the door at 9:20pm, I slowly asked if the show had started yet. "No, it hasn't," said the door man, so I quietly went and sat on a bench. As I waited for the show to begin, I kept looking around and taking in everything. It looked just like the old Suberbia, except for the cosmetic additions, which made it look a lot nicer. As I continued sitting there, I became very skeptical, wondering if the show was ever going to start. I don't remember the Suberbia being this badly put together. Forty-or-so minutes later the first band was finally setting up and about to take the stage.
"We drove all the way from South East for you guys tonight," announced the lead singer of Stagger, the first band of the night. As the other members of the band were still tuning and setting up, the lead singer started asking members of the crowd (about twenty people) where they were from. Various answers spread across the room. Then the stalling stopped and the band busted into their first number of the night. A standard-issued punk band, the best thing they had going for them was the lead singer. Although not the most charismatic guy I've ever seen, he had a lot of character to him which really helped propel the band past the "I've seen this before" stages and into a thought of "these guys aren't bad, not the best, but they're kinda interesting." Their set was about twenty minutes, as they jumped through a handful of punk tunes that had enough muscle for you to enjoy them. Nothing earth shattering, but never hearing them before, if they were opening for another act I might show up on time to check them out.
Next up was The Drapes, one of Portland's top punk acts. Full of youth, talent, and energy, their brand of punk rock is a statement upon itself. Blasting through both new numbers, a few off their debut CD, and a handful off their One Foot Records release, The Silent War..., the show actually began to feel like a show. With only a few of the twenty to thirty people at the show sitting down, the rest of us devoted our full attention to The Drapes. The drums were fierce, the bass was intense, and the guitars were as ferocious as they come. The music was very passionate, with energy pouring out of the speakers, and everyone was enjoying it. Demonstrating their professionalism, they quickly announced each song, sometimes with a description of its meaning, before actually diving into the number. Not only is this courteous to the audience, letting them know where they can find the music they're hearing and enjoying, but it demonstrates their respect for their audiences. They were also well composed and tight, proving they take themselves seriously, so so should you. Playing a bunch of new songs, their set left me wondering, "when are these guys going to release a new album?" With powerful melodies, touching lyrics, and self control, this band deserved to play over the next band, Longfellow, which didn't impress me that much.
Coming all the way from Orange County, California, this pop-punk five piece had their moments. The music wasn't bad, even catchy at times, with some nice hooks mixed in with some punk fierceness. But what really destroyed their music for me was the whine-ridden, teenage voice that fronted this band. Granted, the whole band is teenagers, but unlike other teenage bands, you could hear his age very easily in his voice. Sometimes, however, his voice would blend nicely with the music, but for the most part, his voice soaked through the music and seemed to elevate itself over everything else, standing out like a sore-thumb, and it was during these times I lost a lot of interest. Nearing the end of their set, the last two songs did catch my interest, and showed a band that could pound out the beats and slip in a few melodic hooks as well.
Now it was time for the Jimmies. What I couldn't understand was, why had the crowd dwindled down to about five? The Jimmies are amazing, nothing short of spectacular, and now it's their turn to play and everyone just leaves? That's not right! "Thanks for sticking around. We'll remember your faces someday," announced Chris, the Jimmies lead singer, as they took the stage. Starting off with "Live Without It," off their Schizophonic Records debut full-length COUNTDOWN, they immediately transformed me from half-asleep to fully awake and ready for some action. As the music started to blare, five more people strolled in, but ten still wasn't anywhere near as much as there should have been. Oh well, a very intimate show for the lucky few that were there. Giving everyone what they came for, they jumped through their spirited punk rock with a smile on their face, despite the low turn out. Covering such classic Jimmies as "Nobody Seems To Mind," off of COUNTDOWN, and "Good To Go" off their split EP with The Weaklings, they re-enforced everyone's opinions on why they stuck around. Also playing new material, they kept giving the audience treat after treat. Each song its own little gem. After awhile they decided to scrap the set list and just take on requests. Playing a few requests, they went back to the set list and started playing more new material. Closing out the set with their cover of INXS' "Don't Change," available on the Jimmies/Weaklings split CD, they topped off a great set with a great cover. These guys are truly one of a kind.