Have you ever been to a show that’s made you feel invincible? From the moment Joel and I finished our sushi a few blocks away until the moment we left the Roseland Theater and all I could hear was a loud ringing in my ears, I knew this show would be something I’d never forget. Joel and I had arrived in Portland earlier that day only to find that the $350 hotel room we had gotten was a complete and total shithole.
On top of that, Joel and I had brought the aluminum can from hell (a Miata) as our means of transportation. Assuming Portland would be more like Boise than it would be like my hometown of Los Angeles, a shifting car seemed fine, and after riding through the beautiful scenery that surrounded Portland, I thought we had made a perfect decision. That was until we reached Portland and I realized that it was truly a smaller, even more cramped version of L.A.
Real freeways surrounded the bustling streets and people were not afraid to honk at you even if you had no idea where you were going. From first glance, I thought I had entered the seventh circle of hell in which I would experience all the things I hated about L.A. in a concentrated form.
The Shitty Hotel
When we got to our hotel room and noticed the lack of parking, the spiderwebs on the lights and the terrible decor, I felt sick inside. Everyone told me that Portland was the place for me, but now, standing outside my room and looking at our impeccable view of another hotel and a telephone pole, I wasn’t sure why.
Then, we began to meet some of the people. Now, Los Angeles may be called the city of angels, but the people are far from it. Most people in Los Angeles can’t care less about your existence, but in Portland, something seemed off. For one thing, people wanted to know about us and where we were from.
The Roseland Theater
They were willing to give us directions and tell us what places were the best for food. When we got to The Roseland Theater, everything seemed unreal to me. The security guard wasn’t giving us shit for the camera, the people weren’t judging us for dressing in regular clothes as opposed to furry attachments, and even the most attractive people there were acting as if our dorky asses existed after all. This was nothing like Los Angeles. This felt like home.
As the people began to fill up the theater, I noticed lights everywhere. From the light up pacifiers to the finger light shows that were occuring in every nook and cranny, the place was one step away from a mass seizure and it was absolutely amazing. Neon and tie dye seemed to be splattered on the crowd in order to commemorate Feed Me‘s Psychedelic Journey and nearly everyone had on something with Teeth to showcase his iconic logo.
While the crowd continued to grow, an artist by the name Zeros played some strangely timed yet heavy beats. It definitely got you in the mood for some amazing music and prepared you for what was in store. I have to be honest though, I was not extremely impressed with Zeros though I can see why people would like his music. I’m a bit more into the funkier side of electronic and I really love well done dubstep, but the problem was that his timing wasn’t the best and his songs were decent, just not up to my standards. I could imagine him in a dance club, but I don’t think I could go to one of his shows just for him.
Le Castle Vania’s Performance
After Zeros left the stage, the crowd began to get antsy for Le Castle Vania and Feed Me. To be honest, I hadn’t heard much from Le Castle Vania before the week of the show. I knew the name but not so much the music related to it. After listening to a few songs on Spotify, on the other hand, I was pretty excited to see him live. The energy and the hard sounds he mixed in with certain softer voices was the exact kind of harmony I like to see in electronic and dubstep songs.
The little mink
When he hit the stage, the first thing I thought was, ‘He’s adorable! He looks like a little mink!’ Yeah, I know it’s weird, but his wirey behavior and blonde, puffy hair made me think immediately of a cute little animal jumping about the stage. On top of his charismatic personality and ability to get people riled up, his music was impeccable live and every person seemed to be going wild listening to the bass drops and heavy electronic sounds he brought to the stage.
I thought the two giant banners behind him of his name were both slick as well as clever. It made you keep reading them over and over as each light hit them and no matter how wasted you might be at this particular show, you wouldn’t forget the name after his performance. On top of the continual message it gave, it was also pretty simple yet classy, easy to carry on tour, and it definitely tied in to the ‘Transylvania Castle of Dracula’ vibe the name gave off.
The Dude Loves His Job
The thing I loved most about Le Castle Vania wasn’t his music or his banners or even his style (which fit perfectly, by the way), It was the fact that when you looked at him jumping up and down on stage, yelling into the mic between songs, and smiling ear to ear, you could tell he was having a killer time doing the thing he loved most in this world.
The Love of Music
His music, his style, his banners, his set-up and his smile all indicated that he wasn’t in it for money or girls but rather for the love of music. It was the perfect way to prepare for the headlining act of the night and by this point, everyone was dancing and screaming and laughing like long lost friends. People began to hug me from all angles and both Joel and I received bracelets as part of a strange game they play in which newfound friends they like are given handmade bracelets of theirs to show their love.
After a bit more research, I found out that these types of ravers are known as ‘Candy Ravers’ and apparently, this is a common thing to be given handmade bracelets or even candy itself in return for friendship. I had never heard of this before, but by the end of the night, I began to think I needed some neon clothing and beads!
The Candy Ravers live by the philosophy PLUR- Peace, Love, Unity and Respect and although when I first entered the place and saw neon everywhere, teddy bears in grown men’s hands, and bracelets ALL THE WAY UP EACH ARM, I was judgemental and a bit uncomfortable, but by the end of the night, I was dancing along with them and taking pictures like I had known them since I was a kid.
Colorful and Wild
It was a new experience by far and although once upon a time I might have made fun of one of these colorful and wild people, I grew an undying respect for them that night and I hope they continue to do what they do because it really is great.
And So It Begins…
Once Le Castle Vania said goodnight, the tech crew began to remove his stuff from the stage and that is when the big black curtain suddenly became apparent. Up until then, I had thought the stage was just small, but in reality, it was humongous and something beautiful yet sinister was lurking behind it. As the black curtain fell and the crowd began to scream, the jagged grin showed itself and I couldn’t help but grin wildly in return.
Sure, I have been to some crazy shows in my lifetime and special effects on stage never fail to impress me, but this was something entirely different. This was not just an effect, this was the show itself and I suddenly felt completely immersed in a world of bright lights, flashing figures and loud beats. As if the show couldn’t get any better, songs we all know and love began to blast through the speakers and directly into our ears with such force, it almost seemed criminal.
Wild Animals and Ravers: Who’s Who?
Now, I like to bob my head or dance awfully just to have some fun typically, but this was a special occasion and for this, it was time to really let myself go. I began to rock back and forth and pound my hands on the railing like a wild animal, but I was not alone in this endeavor. Behind me and to either side of me were hundreds more that did the same movements and let go of themselves for one hell of a show likewise.
I suddenly realized why everyone said I belonged here. It was not the fact that it was bustling or the fact that it was artistic even; it was the fact that everyone there that night was welcomed with open arms and nobody cared about clothing or makeup or even looks. Portland is a city of freaks, geeks and artists and they don’t want it any other way.
Being Weird is Cool
They embrace the weirdness and the craziness and they don’t fear change. Sure, the hotel sucked and the parking was even worse, but when I looked around the room and felt the back pats of dozens of new friends around me, I felt at home and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at that moment in time than right there listening to blasting music with wild people.
Pretty Sure I’m Deaf Now
After a few more songs and a whole lot more sweat, Joel and I left the quirky club and made our way out into the city streets that now seemed nicer than ever. Although my ears were ringing so terribly that everything sounded highly muffled, I could hear the people around me talking about the show being one of the best they’d ever seen and I couldn’t blame them.
Hello Real Portland, Goodbye Hell
After driving seven hours in a tight car with a big cooler between my legs and arriving at a shitty hotel room in the center of traffic galore, I finally felt like I had arrived in the Portland I had always imagined. When I finally got home, I looked at my bracelets and my press pass and felt satisfied.
Bracelets, Teeth, and a Goddamned Teddy Bear
Feed Me was well worth all we had done to get there and now, as I sit back and remember Portland for all that it truly was, the question is not whether I’ll go back to Portland but rather when I will. Maybe Feed Me liked the taste of Portland so much, he’ll eat it up again and you can bet your ass that if that were to happen, I’d be there with bracelets, teeth and a goddamned teddy bear as I should be!