Right Place at the Right Time

•December 12, 2013 • 1 Comment

One of the things I promised myself I would do if I moved back to Portland was see more live music. Not to say that there isn’t a thriving music scene in Boise… just that one can only attend so many shows alone before the shine wears off.

So far, I haven’t done especially well with this goal. But over Thanksgiving weekend I did get to see one of my current favorites, Portland-based band Typhoon. I first saw them at a Record Exchange in-store performance in Boise a couple years ago, and I fell hard. The thing that blows me away about this group is not just that they create a huge, well-layered sound (they should- there are at least 11 of them usually), but that with that much sound, it’s never overwhelming. Kyle Morton’s lyrics are not swallowed up by brass, or percussion. Typhoon’s arrangements are complex and they build beautifully. When I saw them at the Crystal ballroom this time around, they were just back from a pretty big tour, which included some nice press and even a Tiny Desk Concert. (Fitting a dozen people behind that desk. Yes!) It was a great show, but I was a little sad that I couldn’t see very well. Surrounded by tall people. Story of my life. Sigh…

So last Friday evening, as I was perusing Twitter (I know what you’re thinking… wild Friday night. It was.) I just happened to catch a tweet from @weareTYPHOON inviting the first 20 people who replied by email, to a ‘secret show.’

When I heard back the next day, that I was on the list, I think I spent the rest of the afternoon smiling. The email included just enough information to be mysterious: an address in North Portland, which would not be marked, and a recommendation to wear layers (it has been unseasonably cold here of late).

After a quick change in the bathroom after my indoor soccer game- okay actually I slipped away with a few minutes remaining, but let’s just say I’m not the player who’s going to be sorely missed- I had just enough time to check my phone, find out I was able to bring Paul and Amanda (in their soccer attire), and jump in the car.

We arrived at a warehouse with a lone poster outside. And walked in to what will certainly hold a spot among my favorite music memories.

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A large, open space, sparsely lit, and definitely not heated. Scattered people, all bundled and Portland-y (except of course, for my +2 in shorts and soccer socks, that is dedication). Instruments being set up in the center, or being warmed in front of an industrial cannon-shaped heater.

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As it turned out, it was not a ‘secret show’ per say. We were there to be a very small audience for what I expect will be a brilliantly creative project. Six songs. Several cameras shooting video and stills. Additional orchestra. Collaboration with La Blogotheque.

They expected, understandably, that we not take pictures during the show, but said before and after would be okay. So I settled for a few phone pics, and they don’t do any of it justice.

We were asked to make a circle around the band, and there were just enough of us for that to work. Almost like they planned it…

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I have to say, it is really hard to not sing along with an album that has been on heavy rotation in my car for the last couple months. Car music is for singing loudly, and pretending no one else can see you.

And to silently enjoy an amazing show, while occasionally having a camera pointed at you, is strange. It was palpable, how much everyone was holding back, waiting carefully til the end of each song for applause.

If I end up in any footage, I’m telling you now, I will look like a nerd. Hopefully a happy nerd.

I took a few more pictures during a break in the middle, and afterward (in lieu of actually talking to/thanking any band members, because that would be an activity for extroverts).

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If I haven’t been abundantly clear, it was a unique experience. A bit magical. Can I say that? Too corny? Don’t care. I am grateful to have been present for it.

Even if I couldn’t really feel my toes at the end.

Totally worth it.

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See, I don’t look cold, I look happy! Who needs toes?

I hope (and expect)  to see very good things happening for Typhoon in this coming year.

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