Tents – Tickets – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR – December 20th, 2018

Tents

The best of Portland locals: comfort pop, dreamy shoegaze, and dynamic art-rock

Tents

Bridal Veil, Kelli Schaefer

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$8.00 - $10.00

This event is 21 and over

Tents
Tents
“Conflict is an integral part of good art,” says Brian Hall, the lead singer and songwriter for Portland, Oregon’s TENTS.

If we accept that statement as truth, then perhaps there’s been no better time to make music than the present day. We’re in the middle of any number of cultural clashes, where every opinion, action, or choice is primed for an antagonistic response. As listeners, we turn to our favorite songs to provide us solace and escape in days like these. Yet musicians often create to cope with their inner turmoil, only to find that what they’ve created can be just as healing for others.

Hall had plenty of his own to cope with when he chose to start TENTS. After years as a successful advertising composer, it became clear he couldn’t satiate his artistic impulses in corporate music making any longer. At 31, it was time to finally get serious about starting a band. He recruited his ever-supportive wife, Amy, to provide backing vocals. Their friend Christopher Hall (no relation) brought his eccentric guitar skills to the group, while the Australian transplant Josh Brine picked up the drum sticks.

That’s right about when Amy underwent spinal surgery and Hall found out he was infertile. They decided to adopt, a terrifying and chaotic experience as much as it was beautiful and fulfilling. Shortly after bringing their first child home, Brian was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. By the time they adopted a second child, he’d gotten cancer. It was a rolling series of tribulations punctuated by the brightness of parenthood. As if there weren’t enough difficulties in the world at large already.

But now he had TENTS set up around him. As they improvised together in Hall’s backyard studio, they would “literally just get lost back there.” Adrift in the swirling origins of compositions, finding creative elation in the face of modern anxieties, they would, as Christopher would often say, simply “keep flow.” There, in that free and vulnerable place, they tapped into a universal spirituality: joy.

“Joy feels spiritual to me,” Hall explains. “There’s a lot to be discouraged about and hopeless about, but in the midst of pain, just beneath the surface there is so much beauty to soak in. The pain can actually take you deeper. When I’m able to process something that gives me pain, when I feel genuine joy as I process it, that’s nourishing to people.”

Therein lies the sense of purpose that drives TENTS — to provide an outlet for others. Yes, being in the band has helped the Halls through their recent rough patches, but what keeps them going is something greater. “I really love being able to ask myself how I can effect change and communicate very directly with people. I like the idea of art as medicine,” Hall explains. “We’re in a really trying time in history, and I want to be able to contribute. And my desire to contribute, as an artist, only adds motivation. I’m less angsty than I was when I was younger so I feel like I have a lot of positive energy in general to radiate.”

As TENT’s debut full-length, Deer Keeps Pace, unfolds, you can feel that delight begin to radiate with greater brilliance. A track like “Back Yards” may be full of melancholy as Hall confronts his self-damaging behavior prior to getting sick, but weaved in are signs of rehabilitation and perseverance (“Tell my baby I’ll always be around”). “Danger” is an indie jam reassuring us that the fear of chasing your dreams will pass, and the tender “Shoulder to Shoulder” provides comfort for both those in need and their loved ones. Listening to the glowing “Light Light Weight” provides the strength to accept who we are without fear of judgment or disapproval.

Like all these songs, Deer Keeps Pace is about finding moments of truth and beauty in a world too often full of sadness and pain. The muck and the acrimony are everywhere, and TENTS are a reminder of what it feels like to find peace. “I wrestle with my own pain, I find clarity, and then I try to put that good stuff in to our songs,” Hall says. “Hopefully it can rub off on people.”

TENTS aren’t here to solve all the troubles that surround our daily lives. Hell, they’re pretty sure no one is ever going to figure it all out. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to get through it all. “It’s not about right and wrong and the arguments,” Hall clarifies. “It’s about moving through those arguments and experiencing some kind of wellness that allows us to just communicate again and share again.”

For Hall, that quest for eudaemonia led him to his wife and the band they share together. As society and culture continue to become entangled in dissension, TENTS want to assure us that putting our arms around others for support only makes us all stronger. They’re striving to capture the sanctity they’ve found in each other and share it with whoever will listen. So for those looking for light in the darkness, listen up.

After all, isn’t that what music is meant for?

– Ben Kaye
Bridal Veil
Bridal Veil
Bridal Veil is an American four-piece shoegaze band from Portland, Oregon inspired by the simple lush nostalgia of the 90’s — the last era to know what life was like without a cell phone in every hand.

Led by Emily Overstreet, the band creates magical (and sometimes aggressive) walls of guitar sound for her voice to dip into and soar over. She is joined by Kevin Leigh Robinson on drums (Father John Misty, Viva Voce), producer Jordan Richter on lead guitar, and Joel Swensen on bass.

​Together they weave unique dream-pop that touches on all the moods. They draw inspiration from The Sundays, Mazzy Star, Massive Attack, My Bloody Valentine, and Slowdive. They are currently recording their debut full-length album at Jordan’s studio in Portland, Oregon.
Kelli Schaefer
Kelli Schaefer
In 2011, Kelli Schaefer released her first full length record Ghost of the Beast - a compilation of singles released throughout 2009 on the artist-run label Amigo Amiga Recordings. A surprising follow up to her 2008 Lasso the Moon EP, Ghost of the Beast is a haunting art-pop record with a backbone made of steel and distortion. Schaefer garnered praise and attention, sharing the stage with Damien Jurado, Wild Flag, and the Corin Tucker Band. Included in Willamette Week’s “Best New Band” poll, with a music video featured on Paste, tracks featured on NPR and KEXP, and multiple regional festival appearances, Schaefer’s debut was gaining momentum in the northwest.

But when Schaefer decided to step back from the whirlwind of live shows to focus on her follow up, she found that she wanted to go in a different direction. She kicked off this exploration with a self-produced, limited release EP titled 601 in May of 2013, debuting the beginnings of her new sound. Starting in 2014, she joined back up with Ghost of the Beast producer Drew Grow, and her bandmates Jeremiah Hayden and 601 guitarist Ryan Lynch, and found her vision had shifted to a more conceptual, unhinged rock and roll sound.

Driven to explore the darkest corners of her own origin, and also to step outside of herself, the record came into being after almost three years of writing and recording.

No Identity is darker than Ghost of the Beast, growling with confidence - but with a sense of humor. Confidence was hard-won, coming out of the passing of her father and dealing with the unavoidable ripples from it, the record was as much shaped by life and life was shaped around the record. The title track of No Identity kicks off with a beat as strong as a heart and a guitar line threatening to explode. She sings in clear, close range:

I am a bobcat
Trying to be a tiger
Trying to push through

Mirroring the expansive noise and incisive shadow of PJ Harvey, with the fearless abandon of Nick Cave, and vocal play of Bjork, No Identity travels at light speed through the American landscape so many of us left and forgot to examine. It is a genesis story marked with resolve and technical prowess - muscular guitar, rumbling bass, and vocals that bend over themselves and spring back to shape.

The melodies are pop with meat on their bones, robust and full, unafraid to stick in your head and to your ribs. It is art-pop with depth and vision, the product of an artist who not only carved out a space for herself, but has grown into a voice that has the potential to reshape a well-worn world.

No Identity earns Schaefer a reputation as one of Portland's strongest songwriters. Since the album released, Schaefer and her band have been touring regionally to support the record. NPR included the band’s in-studio performance in their “Essentials of 2017” list noting that “through chopped-up verses and soaring choruses, she turned in one of the most impressive performances I've seen in years,” while a KEXP review of a recent live show found ”her music stares into the abyss, but she continues to come back unscathed and stronger than before."

Late this year, Schaefer worked with electronic artist Mija, who reproduced the final track from “NO Identity” into a song Spin says “splits the difference between Bjork & ODESZA,” while Pitchfork noted “Kelli Schaefer has some of the xx’s Romy Madley Croft’s velvet hush in her vocals.” In the track’s premiere, Noisey dug deeper into the intention of the song, saying “Schaefer's lyrics are an us-against-the-world sort of thing, singing about the ways that the shitty state of affairs can bind people together.” “Bad For U” released Nov 30, 2017.

Keep an eye out in 2018, as Kelli Schaefer and her band plan hit the road as much as possible.