Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dustin Wong at Mississippi Studios

I found out about this show in the middle of a 12-hour shift at work, and decided I was going to try really really hard not to be too tired, after riding my bike home, to go to the show. Just when I convinced myself that I had enough energy left in me to go ahead and head up to Mississippi Studios, I stepped outside and it had started snowing. Luckily, I am from Iowa, and what Portlanders call "snow", Iowans call "a nice winter day", so that didn't serve as a further deterrent between me and this show.

I did show up late, however, thinking that I would probably only miss White Fang (who are great), and that that was an okay sacrifice for a bit of relaxation before the show, after working all day. As it turns out, White Fang either cancelled or was never on the bill in the first place, so I ended up missing Woodsmen instead, which kind of sucks, but was, in itself, a different sacrifice I paid to avoid... well... paying to get into the show, since Mississippi Studios is either nice enough to let you in the show for free after you've missed 2/3 of it already, or employs impatient door guys who didn't want to wait around the door until the bitter end.

I arrived just as Dustin Wong began his first song, seated by himself in the middle of a large arc of multicolored guitar pedals, and that alone was enough to tell me that I was going to enjoy this.

I had never listened to Dustin Wong's music past Ponytail, and a live recording I listened to after reading a review of a show he played in the middle of a record store somewhere on the East Coast which was accompanied with a photo from the show of him standing in the middle of his circle of pedals closing his eyes and smiling toward the ceiling in a small clearing surrounded by people, and I remember wondering if the review was a thousand words, because the picture represented it perfectly. I now can't seem to find the picture, and I just spent 20 minutes looking for it.


The show I saw was a bit less, umm, sunshiny (?) than that picture made me think it would be, but it was oddly fitting for the whole snowy drive over and the general lack of energy that snow seemed to put in the audience for a show like this... at Mississippi Studios... on a Wednesday night.

But that didn't keep him from locking every single guitar loop in to near perfection, and it certainly didn't make the show any less transcendent than I expected it to be, and after purchasing his album, Infinite Love, and reading the liner notes, that transcendent feeling seemed more justified.

On the sleeve he writes:

On my 27th birthday my partner Angel and I ate a good amount of mushrooms. At the peak of the night I was on my bed as if I was giving birth pushing my stomach towards the ceiling, and then, I felt the love. As I started to get my senses back I kept on whispering the words infinite love.


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