Heavy, heady and experimental rock project with deep Portland roots
SOLD OUT: Grails
Daniel Higgs, Abronia
3939 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR, 97227
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnalexudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details. Produced by the band over the past five years, Chalice Hymnal bears some of the European psych and experimental hip-hop production techniques of founding members Alex Hall and Emil Amos’ other group, Lilacs & Champagne. Amos’ meditative metal band, Om, and longtime singer-songwriter project, Holy Sons, also naturally find their way into the Chalice cauldron. Rounding out their line-up, cofounder Zak Riles (also of experimental kraut-psych trio, Watter) layers synths and programming into an electronic-prog hybrid that pushes Grailsfurther into the deep end, displaying a profound resonance, both musically and emotionally. No one else sounds like Grails, and on Chalice Hymnal they sound more like themselves than ever before.
Daniel Arcus Incus Ululat Higgs is a musician and artist from Baltimore, Maryland on whose behalf superlatives are destined to fail. It's not that his artistic output – spanning three decades, numerous albums, books of poetry and collections of drawings – simply eludes classification, it defies it. Often we hear that a true work of art is meant to speak for itself, and with the work of Daniel Higgs the maxim rings truer than ever. His art is of the cosmos, we on Earth merely lucky that it happens to be confined to our atmosphere, in our lifetime.
Higgs is known primarily for his work as the sole lyricist and frontman of the band Lungfish, a four-piece dedicated to charting, in this listener's estimation, nothing short of the evolution of all species, known and unknown. That the band has undertaken this pursuit in the guise of a humble rock outfit, in the absence of any public relations fanfare, metanarrative, or manifesto has been enough to endear them to tens of thousands. They are enshrined as one of America's last true folk bands, and Higgs anointed as a patron saint to artistic purity.
In recent years, Higgs has released a number of solo outings that can only be described as the ultimate in isolation, worlds away from the hypnotic, communal rock of his band. On Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot, Higgs weaves meditative, casually ruptured drones using acoustic and electric guitar, upright pianos, banjo and jew's harp, recorded entirely at home on cassette recorder. He pairs the music with a series of paintings that call to mind religious iconography passed through the disfiguring surrealism of Miro.
Higgs has wedded his music and his visual art into a singular being, meant to be encountered as a conjuring force similar to that of the tarot experience. The yggdrasil is the great tree of Norse myth that connects all worlds of cosmology. Passing into Christian folklore, the tree is said to connect heaven and earth. In his relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs travels up and down this spine and hatches a new transubstantiation of sound and image into life-form.
Consisting of two guitars, bass, tenor saxophone, pedal steel, and one giant drum (no drum set here), Abronia makes music that takes inspiration from Spaghetti Western soundtracks, spiritual free jazz, drone metal, various tribal music, Tuareg guitar bands, 80's goth, outlaw country, Krautrock, 60's psychedelia, and the arid landscapes of the American West. Both delicate and enormous, Abronia has carved out its own singular sonic space within the the broader psych rock universe.
Their debut album was released on vinyl through Portland's Mississippi Records associated, Water Wing Records, and on CD by the British label, Reverb Worship, in the summer of 2017, earning praise from critics around the world and getting consistent airplay on stations such as the legendary WFMU.
Fresh off of a songwriting retreat at an isolated ranch in Oregon's high desert Abronia is armed with new material and will begin recording its next album within the next few months.
$13 ADV / $15 DOS
Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seats