Thursday, July 22, 2010

Music Seen: Chris Teret + Man Forever + Guitar Cloud at SPACE Gallery, July 17

Published in the Portland Phoenix

When Kid Millions (Oneida) brought his new project, Man Forever, to SPACE Gallery, it was more than an opportunity to see a friend I have long known as a drummer with unusual intensity and stamina. It was a chance to see four more drummers like him — one even a local standout — at the same time, pouring sound and sweat in equal volumes into the cavernous SPACE.

Opener Chris Teret knew Kid from the past too — Kid had produced Old Baby, the 2008 Brah Records release by the band Company, of which Teret is part. He began with a few songs in his haunting voice, standing stock still, moving so economically it was almost as if the guitar itself birthed the notes and the vocals came from out of thin air.

But then, starting suddenly with a unanimous thunderous roll on snares, toms, kickdrums, and cymbals, Kid, Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Shahin Motia (Ex Models, Oneida), Andrew Barker (Gold Sparkle Band), and local Andrew Barron (Cult Maze, Domino Harvey) put out a physically solid, powerful roar that Just. Kept. Going.

It was a nonstop half-hour of continuous pounding, a whirlwind of arms, legs, heads, and the occasional flying drumstick. The coordinated improvisation produced rumbles and resonance that shifted from subway-train-approaching to calving-iceberg (due not only to the performers' physical prowess, but also to Chase's pre-show efforts, tuning the drums precisely to B or F-sharp). One particularly furious collective flurry looked like a group seizure but sounded like the Earth was coming apart around us.

Bassist Richard Hoffman (Sightings) joined in after a time, and later gave the drum corps a break with a screeching, wailing solo that blistered whatever eardrums were left in the spare but rapt audience.

After the Man Forever inundation came Guitar Cloud, another planned-improv endeavor, with more than a dozen guitarists jamming together in a collective drone that broke apart into themes, anthems, and solos — sometimes soft, other times overwhelmingly loud, and always dancing on the edge between control and madness.