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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

 

Blitzen Trapper at the Crystal Ballroom

On Sunday night at the Crystal Ballroom's 95th birthday celebration Blitzen Trapper made the same mistake the Decemberists made during a show there a few years ago. If you're going to play a set in a venue with a bouncing dance floor you'd better not select a song list consisting almost entirely of your mellowest ballads.

The place was packed at the beginning of Blitzen Trapper's set but, about halfway through, the crowd started heading for the exits. Never a good sign, especially during a free show. I guess they were expecting 90 minutes of this. In their defense, many of the tracks off the band's latest album Furr aren't exactly what could be called dance songs. Guitarist Marty Marquis even apologized for their laid back set before launching into a few acoustic numbers. It's a shame that more people didn't stick around to hear the band play "Sleepy Time in the Western World" and the album's title track, one of the best (and oddest) songs released last year.




Maybe Blitzen Trapper should have played more songs from their crazier Wild Mountain Nation but the crowd sitting in the balcony didn't seem to mind. It was pretty hazy up there, especially during Blue Giant's solid opening act. It's nice to see that some local venues haven't gone entirely smoke free (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, etc).

While the response of many in the audience have been a solid "meh," an older couple tore up the dance floor. They each had to be well north of 60 and didn't take a single break during Blitzen Trapper's set. They really had some moves and the husband pulled off one of the best robots I've ever seen.

One last thing: if anyone can tell me what this instrument is, I'd be much obliged. Marty Marquis, the band's keyboardist, broke one out for a few of their songs.

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