N o v e m b e r   2 0 0 2

Aural Report

Bar, band exhibit interesting cats
Taming two tigers
by Kurt Dahlke

ights are getting long, which might be good if you like long nights filled with music. But damn, it's getting cold! Having no expectations nor obligations on a long, cold Wednesday night, I find myself in a mixed-up state, pushed and pulled by mandate of a band named Easy, Tiger at Tiger Bar.

Tiger Bar is the elbow-bender's version of a mash-up song: part Tube, part Ohm, part Cascade Bar and Grill (the type of place with a two-acre gravel parking lot).

Krys No: angry-soul singing at Tiger Bar (317 NW Broadway). [photos by Steven Poole; © 2002]

It's a good thing, though, because Tiger Bar seems much truer to Portland's character than trendier, more pretentious joints. It's a smallish, dark room with about eight tables and a short bar; the perfect size for intimate music or an after-work tipple.

Low light casts the brick-and-green walls in soothing relief. The bartenders are fast, effective and friendly. They even hang adventurous, outside-the-mainstream art every First Thursday.

Even with all the positives, Tiger Bar comes off as unpretentious and low budget, something my friend and I – and the young, comfortably dressed crowd – all seem to enjoy.

Easy, Tiger (Krys No, Niall Davids and Brent Williams from HEADSCOpE) is petitioning tonight for an alternating Wednesday-night house gig for its stripped-down, ambient take on HEADSCOpE's dark, gothic electronic rock. I'm not sure if coincidence or graft brought Easy, Tiger and Tiger Bar together, but the shoe fits.

Niall Davids: sinuous melodies.

Impressionistic video projections from and of the group (taped and broadcast live while they play) splash across the wall, reverse water-droplet images (a personal favorite) and other sundry scenes of ocular wonder mesh with live-action footage of the set. The effect is subtle, especially with the band's low-key presence.

But sparse beats, samples and a little live instrumentation form a somewhat unimpressive backdrop for vocalist No's contemporary angry-soul singing on the first couple of songs.

Without a strong harmonic background, these passive melodies just move back and forth with the other sounds, creating little fire.

Soon enough, as if abducted by aliens, I suffer a bit of lost-time syndrome – when suddenly they announce their last song. What happened in that hour between my carping and now?

Brent Williams: stringy guitar solos.

As best as I can reconstruct, reverb appeared, and delay, then dub was summoned. Minds were lost. Stringy guitar solos folded over themselves, No began chanting and humming, bobbing on her mic-stand like a tribal shaman with a cane. Then came more singing and more sinuous melodies as tempos slowed, grooves meditated and the room thickened with vibration.

Easy, Tiger comes alive when channeling both aspects of its name: easy atmospheric funk like the late, lamented Sky Cries Mary, and the teeth and claws of a strong presentation and graceful knob twiddling.

Neither Easy, Tiger nor Tiger Bar seem to strive to be the newest, flashiest or most cutting-edge, but both seem comfortable within the confines of their chosen worlds, doing the best at what they do.

E-mail Kurt at orangeandorange@msn.com, and don't miss his previous reports.

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