The air was hazey with smoke from all of the special effects. As I typed some notes in between sets, a tribal drumbeat with electro notes played from two 10-ft overhead speakers. People were chatting, taking group photos (selfies, anyone?) and dancing to the music. Whatever they were doing, it seemed like everyone was having a great time. Then the music started to fade, and suddenly everyone realized how loud they were and started to quiet down. Five band members stepped onto the stage. As soon as André Anjos, frontman for RAC, grabbed the mic, the crowd went crazy. In less than a minute, RAC had the crowd dancing to a remix of “Armistice” by Phoenix, and followed it up with well-known favorites like “Cheap Sunglasses” of course, their latest hit “Back of the Car.” All of this was after a stellar performance from Big Data, with remixes and an incredible visual display. Needless to say, this concert was an indie electronic fan’s paradise.
Having just finished a test and a quiz the day before, it was great to relax a bit and enjoy the great musical talent Portland has to offer. I haven’t been to many concerts (this one was my third), but every one I’ve been to so far has been top-notch. Last year an alternative radio station hosted a concert at the waterfront next to OMSI, and the view was spectacular! The venue also hosted some great food carts, and the concert itself featured solid performances from some of my favorite artists.
This RAC and Big Data concert was also my first at the Crystal Ballroom, and I can honestly say it was one I’ll remember very well. If you haven’t been to the venue, two chandeliers with intricate glass ornaments hang from the ceiling, and the walls are decorated with various pseudo-medieval murals depicting everyday life with a satirical humor . The Crystal was opened in 1914, and it truly encapsulates a century of history. During 1967 the Grateful Dead played there frequently–that is, until the venue was temporarily discontinued in 1968 because of concern over the effects of this music on “The youth of Portland.” I love the irony in that: Portland of all places having the Grateful Dead shut out in the 1960s.
The show started off with a performance by Filous, a young Austrian electronic music producer. He nonchalantly starts playing some a cover on his guitar, and the impressive bass speakers made it sound even better than the original. Next he pulled out a ukulele, then later an acoustic guitar connected to an amp, all the while smiling as he strummed and tapped his left foot while playing.
Next Karl Kling jumped on stage. They had a solid performance for only two members, a keyboard and two bass guitars. But they couldn’t beat Big Data, with their amazing on-stage act featuring crazy visual performances, choreography and light displays. They had a remix of “Dangerous” which not only was great to dance to, but featured a fantastic presentation. The frontman and female vocalist stood side-by-side for most of the concert, executing a pre-programmed choreography while electro beats infused with alt and indie rock filled the room. And then there was RAC. They had the longest set, and brought the crowd from reverent focus to near-manic excitement. The whole group had a relaxed but passionate vibe, and Karl Kling came back to assist on vocals and electric guitar. It was pretty obvious that they were having a great time–as we all were.
I think it’s great that Clark College is located so close to Portland. We have access to a great cultural center, as well as so many exceptionally talented instructors from the Portland metro area. As an added plus, we can travel to Portland easily from Clark, making class art gallery or museum visits possible. I love being able to look out and see the hills on the other side of the Columbia. It’s pretty great too that Clark is on Vancouver’s historic Central Park, which gives the campus a spacious, outdoorsy feeling. None of the buildings at Clark are more than two stories tall, with the exception of the in-construction STEM building. This was planned out to make sure Clark didn’t feel boxed in because of large, tall buildings. Depending on where you’re standing, you can sometimes look from one corner of the campus and see across to the other end over 1/2 a mile away.