The View from the Road II: SEBADOH – Portland, OR

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, photo by Mikala Taylor,

The best tweet about the gig came from @endhits: “Ladies of Portland: If you are looking for the sad, disheveled, and bearded men of Portland, they are here at the Sebadoh. All of them.”

Ah Portland – Voodoo Donuts, Powell’s Books, Stumptown and thick black glasses and hoodies everywhere.

Sebadoh arrived on Thursday after a quick drive up from Eugene – where they’d camped the night before after booting it from San Francisco. Lou was cooking up a cold – “Yeah, sharing a joint with [also cold-y] Jason Loewenstein might have something to do with it”, and remembering the time 16 or so years ago when Sebadoh last played – and they got bottled. Turns out, the lobber was actually from Massachussetts, but whatever. Portland is supposed to be filled with hippies, isn’t it? “Hippies are angry people”, Jason Loewenstein later says, laughing on the way back to the hotel.

So, to the show. Warming up his voice with Jim Beam and some run throughs of Dino Jr’s “Imagination Blind” and his own “Holding Back the Year”, Lou strums his acoustic while I tweet. Bob D’Amico and Jake wander round – one of Jake’s old friends Tara Jane O’Neil (from 90s Kentucky-based indie band Rodan), shows up and we all have a natter. She’s wearing her “Canadian tuxedo”, she says – it’s a jean jacket, jeans and a fur hat. She’s cool. And it’s been cold in Portland.

At the show, the sad, disheveled, bearded men of Portland and 30-something doe-eyed women stare up at the band. Jason and Bob are locked in, tonight – they’ve done about 400 shows together in Fiery Furnaces – and have a great chemistry. “Careful” sounds really strong, as does my favourite, “Forced Love”…but “Crystal Gypsy” inspires Portland to nod a little faster. It’s thrash and delicious. “Beauty of the Ride” also thrums.

It’s still only just gig three of the tour (as Lou is fond of reminding the folks, when he’s not trying to stir shit about angry Portlanders), but this Sebadoh is really fucking good. I beg Jason after the show for new Sebadoh. “We’ll see how we feel after the tour.” I will take that grain of hope and clutch it.

Tonight: Sebadoh hit Vancouver’s concrete bunker The Rickshaw Theatre, and Lou does an in-store at Zulu Records. Stay tuned for all. \m/


The View from the Road I – Sebadoh in San Francisco

The View from the Road III – Sebadoh at (my) home in Vancouver

The View from the Road IV – Sebadoh in Seattle

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