Viva Voce and the Who’s That Smell Game

A friend recently turned me onto Portland band, Viva Voce. Recently as in last week. So I looked them up and found out they were playing a show in Chicago while I’m here for the marathon. And the show is Friday night, not the Saturday before the race, so I could go. The day of the show I was still undecided about going. It wasn’t that I’d be going alone since I go to a lot of shows by myself and discover a lot of good music that way. It was more like they’re a Portland band so I can see them often. So as usual, an hour before the show started I decided to go. I’m glad I did.

The show was at a place called the Empty Bottle. Really, just a hole in the wall. I almost passed it by without noticing. Getting there was an adventure. First, the train was delayed. Apparently, someone on an earlier train decided to get off the train… and not at an official stop, if you know what I mean. Then when I got on the bus transfer, I noticed an odd smell. I assumed it was late-night-public-transportation smell. Then I noticed that every single person who got on at subsequent stops would sit down in the seat in front of me. Then they would immediately get up and move to the back of the bus. Then people started opening windows. In 40 degree cold. Finally, the bus driver yells back “What’s going on back there? Why are y’all got your faces covered?” I look back and yep, everyone has a scarf, pulled up shirt collar, or hand covering their nose. One of the riders back there yell back “someone’s hygeine ain’t right”. I laugh. Yeah, it’s who I thought it was. The bum two seats ahead of me. As soon as he gets off the bus all of a sudden smells like roses. Of course, who are the only people to remain sitting in that seat ahead of me? The lefty-bleeding-heart-it’s-not-his-fault-he-smells-it’s-the-system’s-fault-liberal white couple. To everyone else, the dude is just rank.

Anyway, I catch the 2nd opening band, Silversun Pickups, in the middle of their set. They rocked. I thought they were local since they had a huge turnout. But I find out later they’re from LA. Then Viva Voce come on. They’re doing their sound check. Then all of a sudden they go into what seemed like 12 minutes of kick ass noise. Holy crap, these guys rock! Man, I’m glad I went. I really needed a kick of energy before the marathon.

BTW, what the hell is Old Style? Signs were all over the place on Western Ave.


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