Before taking the stage, Blitzen Trapper enjoyed a few cigarettes and chatted with eager fans on SOhO’s rooftop patio. It was a Wednesday night, the club was relaxed, and without any opener for the Portland natives, a quiet and pleasant comfort pervaded the venue. As Marty Marquis, keyboardist and all around music man, took one last toke from his tobacco pipe, Blitzen Trapper casually strolled on stage.
“This is a pretty good crowd for a Wednesday!” yelled lead singer Eric Earley to a tightly packed audience.
Marquis hurried inside and hopped on stage right, and the band went straight into their new album All Across This Land, starting the show off with the artfully composed song, “Rock n’ Roll (Was Made for You).” It makes perfect sense to open with this song, and in a recent interview with the Independent, Earley told us that this song was his “favorite to play live right now.”
The song is about morality and the sinister desires that makes rock’n’roll both so awesome and so destructive, with lines like “It’s for shooting down planes / Yeah, for blacking out,” and “The things you love can do the most harm.” It’s a song about how sometimes we just need to let loose and get wild to gain perspective in life. “Rock’n’roll won’t ease your mind, but you’ll find it will ease your soul,” sang Earley, his voice ringing through the amplifiers with vinyl-grade tone, and wrapping the audience in its warmth. After a ripping guitar solo, the band finished off the first song and the crowd glowed with excitement.
Every person that brought a date to the show probably scored major points with their S/O, because these songs oozed dangerous romance and drama. Halfway through the show, Earley introduced another self-proclaimed current favorite, “Cadillac Road.” “Cadillac Road” has all of components that make up a great Blitzen Trapper song: tales of the wandering, mythic American west, the great wide open under sky so blue, and all that jazz. With its starts and stops, the song has a dramatic energy, and it gripped we listeners in its shadowy suspense.
After several more high-flying electric guitar solos, the American rock’n’roll soundwaves had done their job of caressing the lover and the fighter in the audience’s hearts. One scotch, one bourbon, and one whiskey, and then we all had to go home.