by Ezra Ace Caraeff

Pernice Brothers

Tues July 8

Crystal Ballroom

My love for Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers is the kind of love that will last the ages. We're like Romeo & Juliet, except we're both straight guys and we've never actually met--but other than that, we're star-crossed in Shakespearean proportions.

While everyone has favorite songs that embody a certain time/place/experience in our lives, I feel stronger than that about the Pernice Brothers. For me, their music blurs the line between fiction and reality; Joe Pernice wrote and orchestrated the songs, but I claim possession of them. They are in fact, my songs and I know I'm not alone. The Pernice Brothers don't have fans, per se; their following is cult-like in its obsession and overwhelming attention to detail. Their shows, while not the most well attended concerts, are filled with enough Jonestown-esque super-fans that, if Joe gave us the word, we'd not only drink the Kool-Aid--we'd mix up a batch. At least Grateful Dead fans could blame the drugs. What's my excuse, again?

Oh yeah, it's the music. And maybe the drugs.

On their latest album, Yours, Mine & Ours, Pernice and company only further their campaign to be crowned the kings of the pop music world. Sweeping arrangements fall into place epically behind the breathy whisper of Pernice as he spouts tales of love and loss (well, mostly loss), with enough grad-school grammar to make English Professors blush. Pernice's lyrics--the centerpiece of the band, enough so that they recently were released in published book form--are that of a drunken scholar, full of confusing hatred and enough sincere remorse to gather understanding from even the most callused soul.

With no support group in sight for my dedicated attention to Pernice minutiae, I guess the only thing for me to do is keep waiting patiently for the band to return to Portland. In the meantime, I've decided to go through Pernice's trash with the hopes of finding some fingernail clippings or a stray hair, perhaps. Then, I can finally clone his DNA.