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Jan 052006

Much has been going on Hellpet-wise. The Countess spent a month in India, acquiring along the way a harmonium, which will shortly become a prominent component of our sound. We played a great show at the Acme in early December with Curious Hands and The Odditors. My solo show at Mississippi Pizza with Ana Cooke and Jesus Burger got snowed out. Along with The Draft and Binary Dolls, we celebrated the release of our CD at the Doug Fir, delivering what some people described to me as our best, most high-energy performance ever. We helped ring in the new year with Minmae and Ape Shape at a packed and raucous basement show, complete with three kegs of beer and explosives — a combination I wholeheartedly endorse.

The Hellpets bust out with a cover-heavy subterranean party set.

The Countess Von Hellpet associating with famous rockers in North Portland.

Me associating with soon-to-be famous rockers in North Portland.

Then, yesterday we were savaged in a Willamette Week concert review by Mark Baumgarten, a man who I’ve played many softball games with, who has used me multiple times as an ear for his personal woes, and who, last time I saw him, took a flying, drunken hug at me at Pt. Juncture’s Wonder Ballroom show. All that aside, you’d think he would at least make the editorial choice to *not* write about a small-time local band that he thinks sucks.

His main points seemed to be: 1) We didn’t maintain a big enough crowd at 11pm on the Wednesday night after Christmas. 2) The audience we had was not enthusiastic enough. 3) I play too many eighth and sixteenth notes for his taste. 4) The Countess can’t sing. He put it considerably more harshly.

“Oh, there’s the phone again. Probably another person who pities me,” remarked the Countess during rehearsal that night.

“At least it’s a good picture.”
“No, it’s not!”

We recalled our friend Kimberly, the San Diego-based lesbian spoken-word performer. She received a vicious newspaper review a few months ago asserting that her act was cliched, dated, boring and a number of other choice assessments. On the upside, they also reported that she was “pretty”. For weeks afterward, people would come up to her saying they saw her in the paper. No one seemed to remember the content of the article. Thank goodness for the embarrassingly short American memory!

Many people offered unsolicited opinions about our performance at the Doug Fir. Quite a few of them were from strangers. They all differed dramatically from Mark’s opinion. Then again, Mark gets paid for his opinion.

I guess he showed us, or something. I did accidentally hit his housemate in the side with a softball last year, so maybe it was that.

 January 5, 2006  Posted by Ross at 8:35 pm Posts  Add comments

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