Wed Jan 15 Blackbird
I've always liked Portland band Nudge's subtle, low-key recordings--which combine beat-centric ambiance, minimal bass lines, and a very pretty spectrum of wispy noise made with guitars and electronics--but for the most part, their live shows haven't ever really put the bump in my trunk, if you know what I mean. If you don't, I mean that in the past, Nudge performances have provided a wonderful atmosphere to accompany their occasional visuals, but they haven't exactly been wearing a sign that says, "Yo, WATCH US."
However, at their last show opening the Tigerbeat6 tour a couple weeks ago, it all just came together. Not only did I find their music inspired my hips to bounce (which, admittedly, isn't that difficult, but it never really happened much with their past live shows) but they also managed to maintain all the pretty subtlety and swooning ambiance of the past. With the addition of Strategy's Paul Dickow on contact drums, the core band of Honey Owens and Brian Foote on electronics, guitar, bass, vocals, and mysterious black boxes turned their dreamy background music into a snappy, more bass- and beat-heavy live experience. To celebrate, I sent an email posing two questions to the admirably demure Foote (who also acts as Outward Music Company impresario) to find out what's up.
1. Does Nudge bump more than it did before, or am I crazy? (Like, are you more beat-oriented now?)
"Nudge continues to feel multiple settings, the least of which is not bump. But yeah, you ain't crazy (well, maybe crazy good); the last bunch of sets we've played have definitely picked it up a bit."
2. Why or why not?
"Dunno. I'm sure it must have something to do w/ the current socio-political climate. ;) [sic] Actually, I think it has a lot to do w/ the expanded line-up, combined w/ the realization that some of the more subtle stuff we do live gets kinda lost in the room (which is certainly not our intent)."
I fully believe in diversity between live show and recording, and Nudge seems to have found this perfect balance between the two. Go check them out, and then listen to their most recent full-length, entitled Trick Doubt, and released by Outward Music Company (www.outwardmusic.com). They also have a very busy future, with releases including an instrumental 12-inch on Community Library, a vinyl EP on Audra Glint, and a forthcoming new full-length on Tigerbeat.