For example, the folks at Berbati's have begun an ever-so-slight shift in their booking focus from well-worn three-band-a-bill anonymity to something a little more inspired: a semi-spankin' new pair of monthly events, both expertly curated and absolutely gratis.
For the last three months the venue has hosted Church of Psychedelia, a monthly Sunday night event that consolidates a heady assortment of local and touring bands, united in the single-minded pursuit of consciousness-expanding sonics--from drone, to avant-folk, to ambient soundscapes. Religious in his curatorial conviction, the Church is pastored by local luminary (and Mercury contributor) Josh Blanchard, who in addition to his joint membership in Point Line Plane and the Plants, has been actively organizing "sonically challenging" shows in Portland for nearly a decade.
"[Church of Psychedelia] really gave confidence to the idea that the kind of events I'm interested in focusing on can actually pay the bills as well as your average, almost-mainstream buzz band," says Chantelle Hylton, the venue's booker.
With this newfound confidence came the inspiration for Housewarming, a new monthly event that premieres this Wednesday at the venue. Conceived by Hylton and local PR omni-presence Matt Wright, Housewarming is a PDX-centric attempt to replace the cold, somewhat awkward confines of the club with that of a more familial house party vibe. Taking place every first Wednesday, the event is to be curated by a revolving cast of Portland's power players--a list that so far includes Stop 'n' Rewind Records' Jessica Jones (this month's host), and Larry Crane.
"I've spent some time really considering what Portland's missing right now, what I'm missing right now," Hylton continues, "and with so much incredible music in this city, there's a lot of opportunity for innovation in the way we present the live music, even at a venue this size."