Wednesday, June 28, 2006

beta kills pigs, cops, vegan loaves

The legendary hardcore band, Millions of Dead Cops! No, really! At a vegan potluck!

There have been two occasions where I almost moved to Portland, Oregon; I may move here yet. It helps that every time I visit the Pacific Northwest, the weather is beatific, almost staggering in its clarity, the sky an impossible blue. This go-round, it really is staggering, as global warming makes the place resemble Texas. Today, it nears 100. Tomorrow it will touch 102. The highway sizzles, windows rolled down to let the hot asphalt winds whip across us as we ride. It evokes the classic Texas roadtrips that we used to take.

Upon arrival in Portland, we decide to visit some old Texas friends. Unable to realize their dreams of manning a deli in New York City, they now run a vegan bodega in SE Portland. Food Fight, scarcely two years on, has grown into a nexus for varying scenes, causes, and it looks like they have created a strong base for themselves, which thrills me to no end. A grocery store that stages reading and rallies while also stocking every sort of mystery non-meat you can imagine.

A recent cause involves raising funds to pay for the ever-mounting legal fees for the Shac 7, who stand to face an endless federal trial as 'terrorists.' I won't go into too much detail here, especially when you can read more about their plight here, but it realizes the horror visions of Kafka (must admit that reading W.G. Sebald's Vertigo has been putting me into a K-hole recently). For those that think that terrorists only exist beyond the borders and wear turbans, the Christian Fascists would like you to reconsider and remain silent, which only helps them crucify harmless citizens who merely posit ideas on the web. Soooo...back to the music, then.

On this day, there's a huge freak scene happening at Food Fight. We make our way through a bizarre throng of anarchists and ladies with faded facial tatts, and only inside do I realize that we are in the midst of a hot and sweaty vegan potluck. Anarchists are in muumuus and there's even a reunion show of hallowed hardcore punk band, Millions of Dead Cops!

Being a music writer, I've grown jaded with exclusive shows, but this is something else entirely. One Dave is a recovering speedfreak, while the other Dave is a recovering carb addict, baking his own brand, Dave's Killer Bread.

They may also be Bread fans, as this is an acoustic reunion show. I spy a pair of bongos, but don't see them get babbalooed. Instead, they offer whispery, quickly strummed versions of their back catalog and maybe the worst version of "Happy Birthday" ever attempted. Unplugged highlights include "Corporate Death Burger" and "Kill All the Cops." The latter is so catchy that the kids sing it in the car over and over again. It sounds better than both Mr. T Experience and Raffi, while also carrying an important message for all kids to learn.