Portraits for Judith

What’s On Tap

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

A while back I came across a Portraits For Judith album with some interesting tracks on it. When I sat down to review the CD it was difficult to put into words what the music was sounding like. One attempt was to just write what my thoughts were on what I was hearing; the following are those thoughts.

There are all kinds of bands like there are all kinds of people. Walking down the street you pass by so many different personalities and preferences that it becomes infinite at some point. Music tastes are one facet of that reality that looks each of us in the face every time we open a CD case or hit the power button on the radio. That doesn’t even take into account our various moods or who holds the remote control at the moment. So when does one feel like listening to hard, in your face metal? The kind that brings up religious references and sounds as venomous as Megadeaths album covers.

The lists of influences for Portraits were mostly bands that I had never heard of but knew must be lurking out there in the dark night somewhere. What caught me was that The Doors were listed, and The Beatles too. So I tried to listen for that first. The lyrical presentation had a similar feel of Jim Morrison and there were a few dark deep tones that rang in Ray Manzarek maybe. The Beatles would have a heart attack though if they listened to this music. Picture Paul McCartney being bashed over the head with an electric guitar with fuzztone blaring in full force.

What Portraits for Judith do really well in the few of the recorded tracks I heard was present lyrics that you can hear. Then they jettison the words and turn on the fuzz when needed. Metal bands so often could care less about lyrics.. Who are we kidding, most bands today period could care less about vocals. There is an art to presenting lyrics and Portraits For Judith do that extremely well. The only thing that the recordings were missing was something substantial from what the band was saying. It was creepy and hard to follow with the eerie lyrics. The metal was awesome but it felt contrived. Like they were trying to scare you. It seems like today you have go further than to say, “Shout at the devil.” It has almost become passé. Like Peace Man! Or even the word Cool. I saw in some fifties movie where they said cool, grandma’s say fashizzle my nizzle.. Rad, fad, it has all been done. So check them out this Thursday night at Rascal’s Saloon and see what your think. It has been some time since they released these so go check out what new devilish tracks they have to lay on you.

Friday nights are always the night to go out and celebrate the end of another work week. Last weekend at Fitgers Brewhouse The Jason Minke Quartet was playing on Friday evening. His group had some great jazz numbers and added an effervescent charm to the micro-brews. The best deal at Fitger’s is to get a sampler of all the beers to know which one is for you (What else would a critic do?). My only problem is that I always forget what I ordered the last time and the list becomes doggerel of choices. The first one I ordered had the aftertaste of a gym shoe, but the Witch tree was much better on round two. Sitting upstairs is great when the band is playing, you can talk and not scream to be heard. The worst part of going to bands at times is when you are sitting there for minutes at a time not being able to hear people standing next to you. I call it “Band-Deaf”, when you just nod your head to the person next to you only catching ¼ of what they are saying. When we left there later to go to the Tap Room we were disappointed by the doorman who told us that throughout the entire night only 30 people had come to the bar. So we decided to venture East to The Reef Bar and a cloud of cigarette smoke, cheap drinks , and rowdy crowds. When we arrived at the Reef there was a band in the back playing with a large sign above them reading, “Both Barrels”. As we approached the rear all I could hear was a cover tune from the 1980s and I turned away. The band sounded tight, but loud covers were not what we were looking for at 1:00 in the morning. The Reef is becoming a very choice establishment for the weekend. A year ago the Tap Room would be full, but change is in the air. This weekend they have The Very People on Friday (12/15) and Saturday (12/16) nights FREE COVER! If you would like to listen to The Jason Minke Jazz Quartet you are in luck, they play at Carmody’s on Saturday evening.