band exhibit interesting cats
are getting long, which might be good if you like long nights filled
with music. But damn, it's getting cold! Having no expectations
nor obligations on a long, cold Wednesday night, I find myself in
a mixed-up state, pushed and pulled by mandate of a band named Easy,
Tiger at Tiger Bar.
Tiger Bar is the elbow-bender's version of a mash-up song: part
Tube, part Ohm, part Cascade Bar and Grill (the type of place with
a two-acre gravel parking lot).
No: angry-soul singing at Tiger Bar (317 NW Broadway). [photos
by Steven Poole; © 2002]
It's a good thing, though, because Tiger Bar seems much truer to
Portland's character than trendier, more pretentious joints. It's
a smallish, dark room with about eight tables and a short bar; the
perfect size for intimate music or an after-work tipple.
Low light casts the brick-and-green walls in soothing relief. The
bartenders are fast, effective and friendly. They even hang adventurous,
outside-the-mainstream art every First Thursday.
Even with all the positives, Tiger Bar comes off as unpretentious
and low budget, something my friend and I and the young,
comfortably dressed crowd all seem to enjoy.
Easy, Tiger (Krys No, Niall Davids and Brent Williams from HEADSCOpE)
is petitioning tonight for an alternating Wednesday-night house
gig for its stripped-down, ambient take on HEADSCOpE's dark, gothic
electronic rock. I'm not sure if coincidence or graft brought Easy,
Tiger and Tiger Bar together, but the shoe fits.
Davids: sinuous melodies.
Impressionistic video projections from and of the group (taped
and broadcast live while they play) splash across the wall, reverse
water-droplet images (a personal favorite) and other sundry scenes
of ocular wonder mesh with live-action footage of the set. The effect
is subtle, especially with the band's low-key presence.
But sparse beats, samples and a little live instrumentation form
a somewhat unimpressive backdrop for vocalist No's contemporary
angry-soul singing on the first couple of songs.
Without a strong harmonic background, these passive melodies just
move back and forth with the other sounds, creating little fire.
Soon enough, as if abducted by aliens, I suffer a bit of lost-time
syndrome when suddenly they announce their last song. What
happened in that hour between my carping and now?
Williams: stringy guitar solos.
As best as I can reconstruct, reverb appeared, and delay, then
dub was summoned. Minds were lost. Stringy guitar solos folded over
themselves, No began chanting and humming, bobbing on her mic-stand
like a tribal shaman with a cane. Then came more singing and more
sinuous melodies as tempos slowed, grooves meditated and the room
thickened with vibration.
Easy, Tiger comes alive when channeling both aspects of its name:
easy atmospheric funk like the late, lamented Sky Cries Mary, and
the teeth and claws of a strong presentation and graceful knob twiddling.
Neither Easy, Tiger nor Tiger Bar seem to strive to be the newest,
flashiest or most cutting-edge, but both seem comfortable within
the confines of their chosen worlds, doing the best at what they