I have long admired how Al’s Den, the basement pub in downtown Portland run by the McMenamins empire, books acts for a full week of shows, a residency that encourages musicians to bring in friends, collaborators, and other elements to fill three hours of performance time. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many acts to really inspire me to visit the space, as they have leaned way too heavy on the folk/country side of the city’s music scene.
That is, until I heard about this week-long event being put on by Krist Krueger, the musician performing Godspeed-like meshing of grandiose instrumentals with visual accompaniment under the name Yards. Krueger is in the midst of a tribute to experimental/modern classical icon John Cage, which started last night. The idea of the week of shows, he told me via Twitter, is to bring in “similar pieces based on specific themes in three parts, each night will vary. Themes are based on Cage’s perspective, not covers.” Those three parts are listed as follows:
Hour 1 – Light & Sound
Hour 2 – Ascent/Descent
Hour 3 – A Study In Chaotic Harmony & Saturation
That’s what makes this event so interesting: that template provides Krueger with an infinite number of directions and approaches to take. Which is something I think Cage would have appreciated greatly.
Krueger won’t be entirely on his own either, as he will cede the small stage at Al’s Den to Creature Guts and Mustaphamond on Wednesday August 22nd. But otherwise, it will be Krueger, his videos, his grand musical vision, and the spirit of the late great Cage driving the whole affair.