As any free show in Portland goes, you never know how the crowd will turn out, especially on a night with two other amazing shows going down, (one also being free). These are the problems I can deal with in life; too many great free shows to choose from on a Thursday night. What a beautiful world we live in.
I invited a good chunk of folks along for the ride and was happy to see quite a few of you attend including a fair amount of local musicians and fellow music nerds. It’s nice when you can feel at home in a venue and the White Owl often has that atmosphere similar to Mississippi Studios in that regard.
I approached the stage with Rachel and our friend Regina in front of me knowing full well that as soon as Somber set off it would be a cruising set of melancholy tones and melodies and vocals overlapping with loops galore. It was just as expected, an outstanding performance by all four members.
The lead keyboardist/ vocalist had a keen sense of rhythm and timing and gave way for the guitarist to go to town on his guitar with a nerf pick and a love for repetitive yet unique riffs that would lead the transitions from slower to more upbeat. The bassist kept it fairly mellow which honestly fit perfect with the vibe and sound but would kick it up as soon as they let the drummer go who you could see was waiting for the right time to explode. It stayed melodic throughout, though, even when raging they built an incredible wall of dreamy post punk sound that carried on throughout the entirety of the set which ended with the lead gal hopping off the stage and proceeding to dance right in front and alongside the three of us. Certainly spiced up the audience and prepared us for the onset of my favorite instrumental group around; Máscaras.
As soon as you see the name David “papi” Fimbres attached to a group you can just assume you’ll be in for an amazing show full of laughs and jams that seem like they could go on forever just to drop right into the next.
Máscaras, who just released their newest EP this May, (El Morán) is comprised of three members that all have music running through their veins. Need I say no more about the drummer who will steal your heart and soul, Papi, but the other two need a fine introduction.
Theo Craig, A.K.A T-KRAY, of Smoke Signals and XRAY is a masterful bassist that has had his hands in and on music as far back as I can tell. He create basslines that you would/could almost find absent of a lead guitarist because he’s that good.
Carlos Segovia, A.K.A DC, of Orchestra Pacifico Tropical, Ghost Ramps, & Deer or the Doe, exudes as I’ve said in the past a Santana like presence of pure guitar skill and freedom. He leads the band to higher grounds with riffs that wouldn’t be in need of even the best lyrics. The instrumental aspect of an amazing jam band is key and can only spur imagination and expression to a higher extent without the drowning of vocals. This band needs to be heard, but even more so, needs to be seen. If you missed it, or just loved it as much as I do, their next show will be whenever you go to your favorite venue and request them to be there. They’re currently planning to perfect their new album but you can catch the members in their other bands about town on a fairly regular basis.
Often times bands get boxed into a situation of not being able to leave much or at all so they play the same venues all the time. Eventually most of you have seen these bands because of that, which is awesome, but we need to still support them as much as possible to assure we don’t take them for granted because when we do, they’re often lost in the shuffle. This is one that is forever immortalized in my eyes as Portland’s #1 jam band.
Player credits for Somber:
Guitar- Jonathan Benz
Drums- Justin Clark
Bass- LP White
Vocals/Keys- Myrrh Crow