“The Thermals” intake

The past few weeks in Oregon have been crazy busy. Whether we were running round Mount Hood, stopping at fruit stands to sample the latest dried cherry, hazelnut butter, and dried blueberries spread OR seeing trained cats ring bells for freshly cooked chicken breasts….it’s been an amazing couple of weeks.

We have decided to keep a calendar on our wall to schedule our “together” events and our individual happenings. I’m fully aware how shameful it is that a tech guy doesn’t keep a public google calendar or somesuch..but the calendar is only as accurate as the people who use it. I assure you Ginger would not use a cloud calendar…sorry honey…it’s just like that. I have found myself asking more often: “What do we have the week of…”.

This past weekend was one of those weekends that was packed. Friday night we both went to see the amazing “Acro-cats”. The show was fun and worth the ticket. Ginger and I found our jaws hurting from all the laughing and smiling. It was a great opening to the weekend. Saturday we spent running around which would lead into the evening where we would go our separate ways. Ginger was volunteering at “Dress for Success, Oregon”, and I was headed to a concert.

The concert was a Portland band named “The Thermals”. Now if you haven’t heard of them and you’re a fan of not so hardcore punk alternative genre…then they are right up your alley. Check them out at the end of this post. (go to the 25:00 mark to check out their song to get people going)

The concert was at a club named Branx PDX. Upon arrival, I walked by a door approximately 20 yards off the road without any signage. Luckily there was a guy outside smoking who verified my inquisition. I made my way inside and the guy at the door stamped my arms and said “it’s much better upstairs”. So I made my way up there only to learn the little bastard took me for a fool. His intention was to get me to buy a drink at the bar upstairs and to drive some customers that way. Good on ya jackass. Well the joke is on you….I really don’t drink anymore, so I just awkwardly stood around and attempted to engage others with cigarettes outside on their balcony. Anyway I ended up getting a coke, nothing was happening upstairs so I started to make my way back down. As I passed a woman on the stairs she stopped me and said “you can’t take that past this point”. I said “it’s just a coke”….”it doesn’t matter you’ll have to leave it here or toss it” she replied. Yeah okay…let me just leave my open cup drink out in the open for you people to slip me the date rape drug while I’m not looking. No thanks. So I just set it down and walked by. As I passed the jackass who told me to go upstairs, I showed him my branded wrists and he acknowledged. I watched the opening band from the back of the room. After their set was done I headed to the bar, downstairs this time, for another coke (I was getting lit tonight…hahah). After the bartender handed my cup o’ syrup sans soda water, I started to make my way to the front of the stage where I came across a tall bouncer who took his job waaayyyy tooooo seriously. This is where I began to reminisce of the old Dallas music scene. He looked over casually and said “no drinks past this point”. WTF!!!! I just bought this to replace the one I wasn’t allowed to bring past the ten foot barrier..screw this…it was syrup anyway. He repeated it slower to me as I gave him the scathing “I hate your skinny hipster jean, full beard, captain hat wearing face you son of a bitch” look. He acknowledged my disdain with a smirk…so I looked him in the eye and tossed my 9/10ths full cup in the trash next to him, in hopes he’d get splashed…and then walked by with an equal (if not better) smirk.

I was now a few feet from the stage and looking at the t-shirts. As I stood there looking at the choices, suddenly a light came up in to my face and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t Kathy Foster…the bassist for the band I was about to see. She was trying to spot her product better and by accident hit me in the face with 60 watts. I smiled at her after I made my purchase, and rather than ask for a picture with her…I just nodded and smiled.

After a few minutes of setup, they came out and acknowledged their loyal local following. The crowd was full of energy that I had not felt in a long time. Everyone from teenagers to sixty somethings was in attendance. As they started to play, I noticed a tension there. I didn’t pick up on it right away…but as the band busted into “Pillar of Salt” I finally was able to put my finger on it. The crowd wanted to dance…and dance they did. Call it “Slam” call it “mosh”…whatever word you use, just know it was glorious. I had not seen a pit like that in so long. Everyone in Dallas is too goddamn busy looking at their phones, texting their friends, and social media’ing to live in the moment. Well this WAS the moment. The moment I realized the real music scene is alive and well in the underground. Past the unmarked door…through the douchebag bouncers…with the bands who put in the sweat work. Clearly this band was hard working, I hope it is paying off for them (in whatever form of payment they seek). This fan fully appreciated what they were doing and I’m excited to finally see a real music scene again. Bravo PDX…Bravo.



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