Surfer Blood, Wild Ones, AgesandAges at Mississippi Studios in Portland , OR (December 31, 2013)
[This summary is more about my experience, rather than a recap of the show.]
I don’t make a fuss about New Year’s Eve; I would have been perfectly happy staying at home and catching up on projects or watching a good sci-fi movie. But I decided that maybe it would be nice and safe to spend the last night of 2013 at one of Portland’s best small venues that was easy two miles away.
My knowledge on the three bands billed at Mississippi Studios‘ New Year’s Eve event was minimal, but consisted of a choral collective, a quintet with tantalizing female vocals and guitar composition, and a hunky dory rockers, reflecting the aura of the Sunshine State. Two of the buzzier Bridgetown bands, Wild Ones and AgesandAges were sound choices to welcome the new year as their future just may get righter in 2014. But it seemed strange to have Florida’s Surfer Blood headline. Perhaps because they were not natives or as a former resident of their home base, I couldn’t understand why anyone would sacrifice the brief period of comfortable weather for a cold and grey place. Or maybe Surfer Blood’s nonchalant hooks were the perfect prescription for the sold out function, consisting of a crowd seemingly unconcerned about the glitter and the glitz. And that made it one of the strangest parties for the final hours of a year.
Dimly lit with a minimal festive decor, the crowd at Mississippi Studios welcomed 2014 with Surfer Blood’s frontman, John Paul Pitts, counting down the ten seconds, looking at his smartphone with a plastic cup of champagne on stage. Those few seconds were uneventful compared to the actual performances from the bands. The most rousing moment happened before midnight, when Pitts stepped off the stage, crawled into the abyss of audience like a rat (as his face painting implied), parading around the usually placid Portlanders, kissing a blogger who had been diligently jotting down notes, and laying on the floor, singing into my long lens (please watch the video below for a better account).
On the previous NYE, my friend and I dragged ourselves to a nearby dive bar; they had fire crackers going off inside with free champagne for everyone. Compared to this minor festivity, this year’s at one of the most trendy districts in Portland felt surreal for its lack of the stereotypical NYE spirit. On the way to my car, a clan of naked runners poured out into the streets – well, that made the night complete.