Back to the U$$A, day 2

From March 10th to March 25th, Frank is visiting the good old US of A. First a 6 day trip to Portland, to visit ZXZW artist Khris Soden. After that, Frank is visiting the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. He will try and write a blogpost a day on his whereabouts.

Got up around 8 a.m., slept really well, and didn’t feel jetlagged at all. Spent the first hour or so handling business emails, will people ever stop sending me emails? Met Heather, who made me a really decent cup of coffee. She had to go to work too, she sells purses on eBay for a living, can you imagine?

Went to Bread, Meat and Cheese, a lunchroom just down the road, for a sandwich and a cup of coffee, and decided to walk up Belmont Avenue for a while. Khris drew me a city map, that said ” really hip part of town” a few blocks up, so, hipster as I am, I decided to walk up there. Weather was perfect, sunny and about 5 degrees. Excellent walking conditions.

Belmont is a really nice street with lots of wooden houses with porches, I like that style of building. It gives the whole area a nice and cosy look. There are a lot of small bars and diners on Belmont, some little clothing shops, etc. I passed some record shops, but they opened at 11, so I decided to drink an IceTea at the Paradox cafe, which had almost the same logo as the Paradox jazzclub in Tilburg.

After my drink, I went to a cool record shop where this metalhead type of guy with a Bad Brains shirt was playing an extremely cool metalrecord which name I forgot, but it sounded like old Judas Priest combined with some more trashy Forbidden kind of stuff. The guitar player of Assuck used to be in it, he told me. We talked a bit about metal and grindcore, he was in a band called Superbad, a sort of hardcore / grindcore metalband with an extremely tight drummer. Bought the 7″ and a really cheap Comets on Fire album. Good way to start the day.

Stumbled down Belmont a bit further for the next record store, which had a lot of cool jazz vinyl, amongst others 2 really old Sun Ra Arkestra records of 150 bucks each. A bit above my budget unfortunately. Bought a Freddy King and a Vanilla Fudge record, and went back to Khris’ place, since my bag could arrive any minute.

Well, I couldn’t have timed it better, because I sat down, opened a drink, and the bell rang, there was my bag! Hell yeah!

After refreshing clothes, teeth and body odor, checking email and reading a bit, I decided to walk west down Stark Street, to the river. However, the more westward I got, the uglier the builings and the bigger the roads. Mostly warehouses and heavy industrial lots, when I approach the river. On my way, I experienced the typical treat “American airheads that drive too big vehicles that compensate the size of their penis” give pedestrians….a really hospitable “faggot” , “gay” and “you want it up the *ss” got thrown at my head. My return to America was complete…

Anyways, I decided to walk towards Hawthorne Street, and walk up to 30th av. since there were some more record stores there. On my way up Hawthore, I notices a big snowy mountain top, it looked beautiful. Have to check out what mountain that is. I had a really decent slice of pizza, and passed some anarchistic food-park, with all sorts of politaclly outspoken food trailers. Too bad they where all closed.

I went all the way up to 30th, and went to Crossroads music. A really, really big recordstore, with tons and tons of records, and really cool posters everywhere. Too bad records weren’t that well sorted, and above all, pretty expensive. I mean, I really like the Flaming Groovies, but to pay $50,- for an album is a bit over budget. Got a nice Sun Ra Arkestra album for 9 bucks though. If you ever visit Portland and you have some spare hours to spend, and a bit of patience, I guess you can find a lot of cheap cool records there too, since they had a lot of bargin-bins, but I didn’t really feel like going through all of those.

Walked back to Khris’ place through the SouthEastern part of town. Really beautiful houses, idillic suburban atmosphere, and above all, lots of trees and plants. I can imagine why houses in this part of the city ar so wanted.

Hung around the house for a while, and went off to get a cheeseburger for diner. Funny thing is that both Heather, Khris and me had to show an ID when we ordered a beer. They’re either really uptight about that, or we just look young. Don’t know… After a decent burger, we went to the Kenton  Club, where Kurt Vile, Eternal Tapestrie, The Wipes (or something like that) and Eat Skull played tonight.

The Kenton Club is a cool club in a different part of the city. Kenton used to be a small town near Portland, but got sucked in the conglomerate of the big city. A bit like Korvel or Hasselt in Tilburg, I guess. The club was nice, pretty big with tables, and it was also pretty crowded for such an experimental music show. There were really stereotype sort of people. I guess 80% men, with either beards, checkered shirts, thick-framed glasses, funny hats, their keys hanging on a big hook on their trousers, or a combination of all the former. I fit in perfectly….:o)

Eternal Tapestrie started out, pretty good psych / krautrock. After that, Kurt Vile was already on. It was two guys with heavily manipulated acoustic and electric guitars. Sound sucked, but it was pretty ok, especially the guitarparts. Vocals were a bit out of tune, but I enjoyed it. I think I will check them out in Austin with a full band, that should be better. The Wipes sucked, exept for the part where this really big, coked up, high as a kite black guy came on stage and started singing along with the music. Pretty funny. Eat Skull wasn’t that interesting either. Noise psych/punkrock, but not that good. Anyways, I had a pretty good night, some beers and a good view on Portlands more experimental music scene, which is a bit bigger, but looks exactly the same as in Tilburg.

We took a cab home, drove alongside the river, and had a really beautiful view on the skyline of downtown Portland. I will walk in that direction tomorrow.

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