1939 Ensemble may be the last band we’re featuring here on the St. Johns Bizarre blog, but they’re definitely not the least of the bunch. Especially not here in Portland where this duo has been picking up raves galore from the local press. The Portland Mercury had this assessment for the band’s debut LP: “Each track on Howl and Bite paints an entirely different atmosphere, and that is the astonishing thing about the album: With only vibes, drums, and noise, every song transports you to a specific place and mood.”
In concert, the two are even more transporting, eking out surprising subtlety from their percussion instruments and topping off the jazz/world music/post-punk hybrid with a healthy dose of electronics. There’s dissonance in the mix as well, but it’s a small, eardrum challenging price to pay for the dynamic range of rhythms and musical colors. Enjoy the splatter and clatter at 4pm on the main stage tomorrow.
People have described Mo Phillips‘ album Train Beard as if Black Francis and Wilco joined forces to make a kid’s album. Intrigued yet? Just wait to get a load of his high-octane, giddy performance style.
You may remember Mo from last year’s Bizarre, but we are especially lucky to grab him for a return engagement as he’s one of the busiest children’s music performers in the city. He plays a few times a month, delighting kids of all ages at libraries and cafes alike. And it’s not hard to see why: his blend of jazz, blues, and folk topped with his buoyant wit and charm is what keeps people coming back for more.
Bizarre Morning is all for the tykes – 2 hours of kids tunes!
Grab the little ones, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to start off parade day with a bang! The first two hours, from 10am to noon will be strictly kid-centric music from The Tumble Down Library (10am) and then Mo Phillips hits the main stage at 11am tomorrow!
If you were at the St. Johns Bizarre last year, you’ll likely recognize Reed Wallsmith from his work backing up AU during their barn burning set. We’ve invited him back for the 2013 edition of the Bizarre with the proviso that he bring along the rest of his incredible jazz ensemble Blue Cranes.
We’re catching them at just the right time too as the band is geared up to release its latest album Swim (available for preorder here). Recorded with Nate Query of the Decemberists, the album is another bold step forward for the band, amplifying their modern playing and the almost psychic connection that the five piece share when performing.
“The last few years were a really intense period of time for us,” says Wallsmith. “Writing and recording these songs was an important outlet for me (and I think all of us) to process everything that was going on.”
The cathartic tone of these songs comes across the loudest when they play live, with all five members of the group bringing a marked intensity and a palpable joy to their performances. Set yourself up in front of the main stage (sponsored by the University of Portland) at the St. Johns Bizarre at 5pm on Saturday and join in the experience.
Booking the St. Johns Bizarre is something that we take very seriously. Some might say a little too seriously but if you’ve attended in years past, I think you will agree that the effort we put into it shows. So, when it came to finding a headliner for this year’s event, we knew we had to find the perfect act that would provide ample opportunity for roof raising and party rocking, and hopefully send you home grinning madly. And boy do we think we hit the bullseye with Ancient Heat.
This 10 piece ensemble are pure disco fire with a full slate of singers, horn players, and groove to spare. And their live performances are quickly becoming legendary in this town, with the band leaving themselves and their audience spent and sweaty at the end of it all. If that weren’t incentive enough, know that we were able to coax the band out of their self-imposed hiatus as they work on new material. Catch them at 6pm on the main stage (sponsored by our friends at the University of Portland) before they scurry off to the basement.
This coming weekend is always such a great one to spend in St Johns – the 51st annual St Johns Parade, the 7th annual St Johns Bizarre, Mother’s Day on Sunday, the first street fair of the season! Including the music on the Plaza Stage, there at least 17 bands are playing in the neighborhood, and there are all sorts of activities happening. Just a few are listed below. Is there anything we missed?
The St. Johns Bizarre – N. Lombard and N. Philadelphia
Over 75 craft vendors, 7 bands, Kids Creations Station, top-notch food carts, and the Bier Garten
Starts promptly at Noon – see map
This year’s theme is Vintage Family Fun!
Anna Bannana’s – 8716 N. Lombard
The Longshots Ska Band – 2:00-4:00pm
How Long Jug Band 4:00-6:00pm
Street Ping Pong and Chalk Mural going on all day!
Central Hotel – 8608 N. Lombard
Reggae Night – Small Axe with Selecta YT
Fixin’ To – 8218 N. Lombard
Parade Day Bacchanal
C. E. Searle – 7:00pm
Silent Numbers – 8:00pm
Bison Bison – 9:00pm
Leisure – 8002 N. Lombard
Bocce Tournament – 3:00pm
Plews – 8409 N. Lombard
Michael Manning and Carolina Pump Station – 9:00pm
Slims – 8635 N. Lombard
Suburban Slim – 3:00-6:30pm
We Sick Boss – 7:00-9:00pm
The Karmaceuticals 9:30-10:30pm
The Charlie Darwins 11:00pm