Saturday, June 16, 2012

Shine On You Crazy Portland


“You’re hopelessness is like a vacation.”

“I’m not happy that I want to eat that.” Lisa
“It’s like someone puke-farted.” Chuck (Both quotes were responses to Joe opening a bag of Western Family Beef Jerky. Apparently it tasted great)

“Do you know how many Roadrunner cartoons they made? Just think how many they would have had to make if Wile E. Coyote had cried about it? If he had a bunch of pups and cried about it? I mean he learned how to write signs and shit. Maybe that’s what the people who don’t like our president are doing. Writing signs and crying about it.”- Young man with a backpack shouting as he walked down the sidewalk

 The first person we saw when we entered Portland was a dude with white boy dreads wearing a suit with a jacket bare-chested underneath and sandals with white socks.  So that was cool.  We were told we had to be at the club at 7:00 sharp because there was going to be a comedy show before the rock show and we needed to be all loaded in. The venue was called the Star Theater and as soon as we walked in they started grousing at us because we were late. We were actually right on time (not a given with Wussy) and had the e-mails to prove when they had told us to be there, but whatever. We loaded all our gear onto this patio but they wouldn’t let us into the club because the doors had opened for the comedy show. So we had to have someone sit with the gear for 4 hours on the patio while the rest of went and foraged for food. While out I came across Powell’s Bookstore. Oooh, so many sexy books; used, new, floor after floor. A happy place. While walking back to the club I came across our prophet of Looney Tunes doom, who before he began shouting, expectorated loudly, dropped a loogy like melted cheese then proceeded to make no sense whatsoever. When I got back to the club Chuck and Lisa asked if I had seen the man fighting the shrub? “No.”  Well apparently this guy was full on punching a bush (there had been no bush punching prior to Portland this tour) (because saying bush is funny) and then when it had been subdued he turned and began punching a tree. The only thing that could possibly distract from his Don Quixote-like quest was our vision of indie inscrutability Lisa Walker. As soon as he saw her he stopped punching and said, “Hey there...” and started walking towards her. Wisely she fled.

The Star Theater was a beautiful, recently renovated theater that used to host burlesque performers according to the posters on the wall. No one was mean to us and I don’t intend to slag the place. It was fine, but there was a weird vibe all night. The club was lit by this big central red light in the center of a cavernous ceiling. The bar was set high and had a glowing strip on it that made everyone look like they were telling spooky stories with a flashlight. The bartender looked like the son of the man who had interviewed Chuck and Lisa in Grand Junction. The comedy show was part of pride week so it was a very focused kind of humor. Unfunny. This has nothing to do with gay or straight humor. Comedians just aren’t funny. It’s not their fault.* A friend of ours from Cincinnati showed up with the owners of the pizza joint where he worked (“they’re not really our bosses – they don’t do anything, we just deliver food to them every once in awhile) who were, and I swear I’m not lying, a little person who likes to dress like Marilyn Manson and a seven foot giant. If David Lynch had directed the Shining you’d be getting close to our evening. 

We were opening up for some band so we had about a foot and a half available onstage. We had just about given up all hope when out of the red light came about 40 people who were there to see us. It was so unexpected and lovely. Thanks to you all in Portland. You made our night. After us was the headliner. They were fucking awesome. The lead singer had what was actually a quite beautiful hair hat. They had a full-on light show and a smoke machine that spewed forth continuously like a teenager alone with his Farrah Fawcet poster. The smoke got so thick that for the latter half of the show you couldn’t actually see the band. They played a style of music that put forth the notion that Garbage (the band) were visionaries whose depths had yet to be adequately plumbed. Their version of, “Losing My Religion” was lovely though.

Portland. The show doesn't even come close.

Tomorrow is Seattle and KEXP.

*I didn’t actually see more than 5 minutes of comedy as I was running around. Just being silly.


  1. I got to see Wussy hit it out of the park, under rough conditions in Portland. After finishing teaching 5th grade for the year, I met a buddy to see our favorite band. Talk about having your own little secret. There really were only about 40 of us there to see the best band in the land. Wussy played like it was the Hollywood Bowl, and I only hope we responded in kind. The show was abbreviated, no doubt from being sandwiched between bad comedy and some band we didn't stay for. I moved to Portland in the late 90s, and now I experience the weird like the proverbial frog in a boiling pot. It was a hoot to experience Wussy’s view of Portland through some great stage banter.

    We made the most of the brief set, boogying, cheering and air-guitaring. Then we got a real treat. While breaking down their own gear (should I have helped?), the band chatted us all up. I begged Chuck and Lisa, “please come back! You are so awesome! We love you!” Rather than giving me a get-a-life look, they reached out their hands and thanked me. Is this band unreal of what? Come back to Portland Wussy! Cross the river to the real Portland, and play the Doug Fir or the Aladdin. Hell, play my basement. I’m on the east side.

    Your Pal, Chris

  2. I'll second Chris on the show. Fantastic to finally see you guys out here, and you didn't disappoint. I've been hearing from my brother in Cleveland about you guys, and have had to make do with his stories and your recorded output. I love the albums, but the live show is something else.

    I brought a group of 6 Wussy newbies, and you made 6 new fans! You're on pace!

    The show was so good, my friend and I decided to venture to Seattle for Friday's show. 2 shows in two days. Take that, Dave in Cleveland!

    Good luck with the rest of the tour. Wussy, come back to Portland soon. We'll get you a full room next time (and no goth band hogging the stage!).


  3. This blog is one of the bext I have ever read. Love the quotes, pics, the notes on wildlife and such and the actual written accounts of the shows are great. Four fucking hours? Wussy is definitely on some sorts of herculean trial... Fuck you Homer

    Also, I thought only i knew of puke-farts.... I see a support group beginning.

    Keep up the awesome work

  4. Mark, this blog is excellent. I experienced all of it and I'm laughing out loud reading it. (Admittedly, Wussy does like to laugh at our own jokes a lot.)

    Portland folks, you rock. Seriously. We will definitely be back. We loved that you came out and were so enthusiastic!!! We are loving the Pacific Northwest. Feels like a home away from home.

    And that show was...odd. While the last band was playing, I stood next to my friend (with the aforementioned pizza bosses) and he pointed at the stage and said, "Hey...You opened for THAT." Then laughed for about 3 minutes.

  5. Bummed I missed the show, but glad that Lisa says, "We will definitely be back." I miss you guys... but I guess I love living in Oregon more than living in Cincinnati. :")

    Anyway, glad the show was good, and definitely looking forward to more WUSSY music (whether it be live or recorded).


  6. Yea, you definitely don't want to characterize Portland on that stretch of Burnside West of the Willamette. That is loony tune city right there . A friend of mine went to the show though, and she loved you guys. Definitely get out and explore a little more next, and look towards the East, and my favorite and former dwelling area, NoPo (North Portland). NoPo makes a Midwesterner feel right at home. Hope to see you's soon back OH.

  7. Yeah, I figured. I know way too many people who love Portland. Can't wait to spend some real time there.

  8. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.