By Nae Hakala
Portland creatives and activists amassed at Marmoset Music Friday night for the highly anticipated XRAY.fm Awards Show. The packed venue buzzed with supporters and honorees sporting anything from bow ties to leather jackets (some choosing both). But in true Xray.fm fashion, excellent music was a highlight of the evening.
After a quick ID check and friendly pat on the back, attendees were greeted with a fantastic spread of oyster pails stuffed with noodles and chopsticks as well as Voodoo donuts and cheese trays for days. Local beer and wine selections were guzzled amid the happy chatter in anticipation of the legendary opener, Steve Malkmus.
Malkmus, former Pavement frontman and current namesake for Steve Malkmus and the Jicks, gave a surprisingly bashful solo electric performance that charmed the audience to its core. He thoughtfully opened the set with an Eagles tribute, “Takin’ it Easy” and proceeded to down right slay the Jicks jam “Independence Street.” The intimate experience was unreal, like our friend stopped by the living room to jam…but like… it’s Steve Malkmus.
Luckily, no one had to be ‘the band that followed Malkmus’. After his set, XRAY celebrated the winners of the ‘Radio is Yours’ contest and recognized some other people/places/things that are doing good in our “Changing City”.
The after-party event featured a killer performance by Candace (formally known as IS/IS) who just seem to keep getting better with every live show. After a couple of Mazzy-esque (yet comfortably boppy) tunes, the self-described ‘Ghost Rock’ trio gracefully nodded to acknowledge a super-drunk-super-fan. They took the opportunity to flip the lineup on stage while the drummer held steady. These multi-talented musicians really kicked ass in the latter format.
As the apex of the affair, dressed in a divine nod to Bowie, Sarah Versprille of Pure Bathing Culture said goodbye to an enthusiastic crowd. The band was just about to head off for a UK/US tour to share their distinctly Northwest vibe with the masses. Her ethereal vocals accompanied the intricate guitar loops of Daniel Hindman and the intense musicianship of the bassist and drummer. Harkening a chill wave vibe, this was the perfect way to end the night.