I swear this review will be about the music, not about me getting drunk…
That being said, I did, as expected, dress cute and get inebriated. There is something about attending a concert by yourself that requires those two conditions— for me at least. What? I’m not going to pretend to be one of those overly-confident people who can just show up places, sober and still have fun. Please. I applaud those who can. Hell, I probably could, if I wanted to.
Anyway, in the process of getting dressed and getting inebriated, I was listening to G. Love, you know, getting in the mood, when “Who’s Got The Weed” came on. In this moment I panicked a little: I realized I had chosen the incorrect substance to preface my night. I should have gotten stoned. G. Love is definitely more of stoner sort of scene. I should have thought of that! The only problem was that I had no idea how to obtain marijuana in this state. You see, I left all of my stoner habits in undergraduate school back in Boulder Colorado, which means I no longer have a supplier. I started considering my resources. In Boulder pot is pretty easy to come by; I had a few friends who found it growing in their gardens and had no idea it was there! That shit is cray. I definitely didn’t have any friends with this problem here in Portland but I didn’t find this discouraging. No problem, I’ll just trade a homeless person a cig for a joint. You see, in Boulder, cigarettes are practically currency among the homeless population. You can trade anything for a cig. I heard that someone once traded two packs for an entire puppy.
So I bummed one from my roommate and hit the streets in search of the ganja. It didn’t take me long to realize that Portland doesn’t have the same situation among its homeless and drifter population. I got grunted at enough to make me scurry my way to the State. When I got to the venue everyone was, as I expected, red-eyed, giggly, and quickly stuffing their faces with candy and snacks before they entered. GREAT. I am the only one not stoned. Cool. Or should I say, not cool. Disgruntled I approached the ticket counter and felt even less cool handing them a regular ticket rather than requesting a press pass. This review is going to suck. I frowned, bought myself some Allagash, found a seat on the second floor in a dark corner and waited for the show to begin.
Opening for G. Love was Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. Sometimes I wonder if bands give themselves really long, weird names to distract from the fact that they suck. Not in this case. I don’t get what the name means, but man are they groovy. Before I knew it, my Allagash and I were swaying back and forth, nodding our heads, and jamming like we were native to a certain previous British colony in the Caribbean, which shall remain nameless due to cliché reasons. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad has some serious reggae sounds. That being said there were moments during their set that felt reminiscent of Lotus shows I had been to, only there was fewer hippies. Pretty great show, I’d say. My “notes” from their set read, “Is this Bob Marley? Sounds like most groovy band jams, only…is this Mexican? This feels like Christmas sorta. Great show tho. They sure like to jam. I sure like the jam. Blissss.” You shouldn’t read too much into the Christmas part—that was probably the Allagash talking. I wasn’t taken aback by their whole presentation, but enjoyed myself nonetheless which can be expected from a good jam band with a weird name.
Towards the end of their set, my nose caught whiff of a familiar smell. Is that….is that the GANJA I smell? I whipped my head around and searched the darkness behind me. Its gotta be here somewhere. I caught glimpse of a red spark far in the left corner. This made me pretty happy. Not because the prospect of me smoking pot increased, but because the smell hit my nose at the same time G. Love hit the stage. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I pretty much danced the rest of the show on the second floor balcony by myself. G. Love (Garrett Dutton) takes the stage with a surprising energy. I had never seen him live, but have always loved him. I spent most of Saturday afternoon spreading the lie that I was his girlfriend. No one believed me but it felt really nice saying it out loud. There is something about the groove that these musicians establish on stage that just gets right into your veins. Garrett sits on a stool, his knees rapidly clanking together with the music while he spits words into a mike so quickly you can hardly keep up. At some point you realize how he’s been around almost 20 years: he’s a showman. It should be said that G. Love commands the stage; you immediately know that you’re at his show. He has this sort of bouncy energy that steals the moment right out from underneath you. The band is very reminiscent of the 90s, which of course makes sense because that’s when they began (it’s not just their fedoras). Speaking of that decade, I just about teenage-girl-crazy when they played “Baby’s Got Sauce.”
It was the best show I’ve seen all year. If you haven’t listened to them before, do consider taking up the habit.