KZME Presents: Wild Bells CD RELEASE! with The Satin Chaps, The Pynnacles

Wild Bells

A word to the wise: think twice before you put away those “childish things” (or even abandon them to Craigslist). There’s no statute of limitations on one’s right to rock despite what those blemishless TV faces would like us to believe. With age comes not only wisdom, but chops and perhaps a sense of humility that wasn’t present during the young and restless years of first-launch inspiration.

You don’t need to put 'em under a microscope to discover that the Wild Bells is a … ahem … “mature band.” The shameful lack of bedazzled jumpsuits and glossy hair product attests to a universal cavalier disregard of focus-group generated flair. Instead, all of that carefully measured consideration goes into Pete Ficht’s songs, that are then airdropped directly to you, the lucky listener.

You know Pete, how could you not? He’s that lanky guy from New Orleans, who moved here (Portland, duh!) in the mid-90s after a stellar stint down south with his group the House Levelers, a freewheeling folk-punk outfit that recorded an extremely promising record (Collectible? Sure, why not?) with Memphis legend Jim Dickinson (Hello? Big Star? Replacements, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins? Any of these ring a wild bell?)

Pete’s played guitar and bass in a ton of Portland groups over the eons, a characteristic he shares with his bandmates. Noisecandy, Joy Pop Turbo, State Flowers, and Lisa & Her Kin are some of the names on his crowded resume. Worthy bands all, Pete dabbled in everything from confectionary pop to desolate, bittersweet Americana to bang-and-twang trailer-park hootenanny. The man is a well-seasoned pro, one that usually takes a backseat to his costars. Not this time.

Pete sings and plays guitar with the Wild Bells, and most importantly, he’s writing the kind of infectious tunes that we would normally expect from people named Matthew Sweet or the dB’s. A little shimmery jingle-jangle, a yearning voice, and maybe a stray tumbleweed or two, all fixed to choruses so catchy they’re practically terminal. Now let’s meet the band!

Bassist Sean Tichenor and keyboardist Sean Farrell (the Seans!) were both members of King Black Acid, another ensemble that contained Pete Ficht for a time. Certainly one of Portland’s most distinctive and influential groups, KBA, under the direction of (rumored) time lord Daniel Riddle, had a lengthy and fruitful career bridging the chasm between the tremblingly sublime and utter chaos. It was from this boiling cauldron of mad genius that many versatile and formidable Portland players emerged.

Drummer Scott Pettit is an in-demand studio timekeeper as well as a hit man for hire with combos like Small Souls and State and Standard. Lead guitarist Craig Stahr has wowed the locals with his fleet fretwork in the Quags and Mission 5, while new singer Ellen Louise served memorable stints with Shee Bee Gees and faux French popsters Les Etrangers.

The Wild Bells manifest a whole that’s definitely greater than the sum of its disparate parts. All of the lessons these folks learned over the years in bands of every shape and description are now ripe and ready for a listen. And listen you will—the band's full-length debut is currently being recorded with veteran producer Tony Lash (Heatmiser, Sunset Valley) as well as KBA mastermind Daniel Riddle. Expect to see it fall from the sky some time in October.

The Satin Chaps

The Satin Chaps ply their trade in the largely uncharted waters of European style go-go/ soul of ‘60s era groove-pop composers like Ingfried Hoffman, Gert Wilden, and Heidi Brühl. To make it palatable stateside (and to make it their own), they mix hints of American purveyors like Memphis soul kings The Bar-Kays and Pac NW garage legends the Wailers. Aided by the howl of their three-piece horn section, the whiz-bang of their Hammond organ, and the percussion necessities to make it all sparkle, the Chaps specialize in sweaty, booty-shaking music. Hailed as “a triumphant celebration of all things rhythm and blues” by Blizt Magazine and “The Party Album of the year” by The Vinyl Anachronist music blog, the group’s self-released debut long player, Might I Suggest The Satin Chaps, is part homage to the likes of Booker T and the MGs, The Mohawks, and Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.

The Pynnacles

From the music hot bed that is Portland comes a band of veterans reinventing themselves and the music that inspired them from that short time period between 1965 and 1968. The Pynnacles bring back the vitality of raw classic Psyche/Garage with some dance floor filling songs. Featuring members of Satan’s Pilgrims, Big Elf, Paradise and Crackerbash this crew has the experience without any of the burn out. Tune In, Turn On, Freak Out!!!!

$8 in advance • $10 day of show

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KZME Presents: Wild Bells CD RELEASE! with The Satin Chaps, The Pynnacles

Saturday, October 19 · Doors 8:45 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Secret Society