Back to the U$$A, day 5

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.

After a good nights rest, we went away around 11 a.m. to pick up a car at the rental company on Burnside. We are driving to the coast and the surrounding area of Portland tomorrow, that should be fun. We arrived at the rental company Khris rented a car at two weeks ago too. We were helped by this questionably gay, annoyingly nice guy. He was going through some routines with Khris and I was standing next to him, listening to the questions. Boring, you’d say? I don’t think so.

After a question or 3, the clerk wanted to know a few, rather private things about Khris, and he wasn’t hitting on him or so. Company policy for renting a car, I guess. First of all, he wanted to know where, and how long Khris was living, where he lived now.Heather needed to confirm that. Then, what sort of a job he had, and how long he has been working there. Then, he needed 3 independent people to confirm if Khris was trustworthy enough to rent a car to, and also confirm the address he is living on. So, Khris had to give them 3 phone#’s which were all registered. Somebody of work, a friend, and Khris’ mom (!) were called by the clerk, him asking to confirm Khris’s address, and asking the question “Imagine you’d be a car rental company, would you rent a car to Khris Soden?” For me, this was really offensive, patronizing and way out there, I was fucking flabbergasted that you had to go through this procedure to fucking rent a car. Especially when you bare in mind that Khris rented a car there 2 weeks ago, and a couple of times more the last year or so. One would think that he’d be registered as a good client…..

Anyways, Heather told me that it probably has to do with the fact that Khris was paying with a Debit card, instead of a Credit card. A Debit card is sort of similar to a Pinpas, or a bankcard. With it, you spent money you actually own, without the ability to go overbudget, insted of spending money you don’t have at all, with your credit card. I wonder how the USA ended up in this financial crisis and dragged the whole world down with it…

Anyways, enough about that, off to brunch. We drove up to the North Eastern part of town, where Heather works. We had lunch in a really cool place. They had your typical american breakfasts with hashbrowns, potatoes, eggs, sausage, etc. Cool thing was, that everything was sustainably grown or bred. They served everything with vegan or vegetarion options, but they also served meat. They were really consious on how they put their menu together. It had a statement on the back, which explaned their vision on how to run a decent diner. They only served locally grown or bred food, and furniture, napkins, cups, etc. were biologically degradable or re-used. Also, they weren’t dogmatic about their veganism or vegetarism. They acknowledged the fact that people want to eat meat every now and then, so they also had meat on the menu. Needless to say, brunch was perfect!

We dropped Heather off at work, and went to a big organic grocery store, to get organic cat food (!). We went in and I was immediately distracted by the deliciously looking food, salads, meat and fish which was displayed. Everything, once again, was sustainable and organic. That’s the way to do it. Why can’t we do that in Holland too? Would be great if people would be more aware of what they are eating and what the concequences of eating are.

After we got the catfood, we drove downtown through a touristic route. I had an appointment with Ivy, a girl doing an internet radio show, where she focusses on the music scenes in different towns all over the globe. She knew Khris from the TBA festival, and even walked the Portland tour of Tilburg last week. We met at this really remote place called Sydney’s, directly located along the railroad track. A bit of a hipster bar with people drinking enormous cups of coffee, and staring at MacBooks all the time. I had a really nice talk with Ivy about the Tilburg music scene, the bands, the labels, the venues and the festivals. It took about an hour or so, and than Khris came by to pick me up again.

We drove downtown, to see some more of the city. Saw a lot of cool, older buildings, even a park, and the biggest bronze statue of the US, next to the statue of liberty. It was raining cats and dogs, so we decided to ride back home, and do a little powernap there. I needed that badly!

This evening, we scheduled to go see …and you will know us by the trail of dead. We had a quick bite of really good sushi somewhere on the other side of town, and walked towards the venue afterwards. Rain was pouring heavily, this was the normal weather in Portland for this time of year, Khris told me. I’ve been very lucky the last 3 days.

Trail of Dead played at Berbati’s Pan, a cool venue just over the bridge, near Dante’s. When we got in, The Funeral Party from LA was already playing. They were quite ok, a bit like At the drive-in, also with their stage-anthics. But, all in all, a pretty good band. I’d book them for ZXZW without a doubt. Funny thing about the venue, it was divided in 2 sides with a sort of 3 feet wide corridor that stretched from the middle of the stage to the back of the venue. We came in on the left side, which was the 21+ area, the other side was Kindergarden, and all the minors head to stay there…. A bit weird, but well, it worked.

Next up: Trail of Dead. I’d never seen them live, so a really stoked to see the show. They started out, the sound was monstrous, and they really hit the right nerve. Energetic, intelligent music by a band with 3 guitarist, a drummer, a bassplayer, a pianist and an overenthousiastic roadie, on a really small stage. This was very good and impressive. The roadies were extremely busy changing guitars between the songs. Normally, I’d find changing guitars every song rather pretentious, but this time, it sort of added to the show. They played about 1 hour and 15 minutes and I didn’t get bored for a second. Long time since I’ve seen such a good show. We took off directly after the show and went to sleep early. We were driving up to the Pacific Coast tomorrow morning, so every minute of sleep was welcome.

No wisdom from the Bible of Rock today, since I’m posting this from PDX airport, and the bible is in my checked baggage.


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