I know, I know the title is a terrible attempt at humor but what I was going for was something along the lines of Portland Mercury's "Mees so Happy" headline in last weeks issue. They were a staff pick for this weekend, and I think with good reason. Jared writes hooks...and good ones at that. None of this cookie cutter, formulated, we can sell this to tweens, kind of pop. This is the kind of music that gets stuck in your head and not in the way that makes you ashamed that you know every lyric until your falling over yourself drunk at a Karaoke bar. Rather its the kind that you remember while going through your day, the little tune that you hum to yourself while completing your mundane tasks at work and keeps a smile on your face while quenching any thoughts about "Burning this Mother to the Ground!" Jared writes in a manner that makes the ordinary seem extraordinary which in turn makes us "regular folk" bask in the glow of shooting skeet with a bottle of wild turkey, or throwing back a couple after work, or sharing a bottle of Sangria with friends. Basically doing a lot of drinking. The Grown Children are not shabby in the least bit. The ever changing group of misfits and rabble-rousers are a cast of players well suited for their various roles. Most notable is longest running Grown Child Megan Spears. Her sultry voice and notable eye for style brings a much needed sound and sex appeal that would otherwise be dominated by the "Dude" factor that runs throughout the rest of the band. She definitely knows how to capture the crowd with her captivating stage presence that makes you feel like she is singing to you and only you. This also transfer to off stage where she makes friends with everyone that comes out to the show. The loss of Jordan Dykstra on Viola and temporarily Sean McCormick on bass have been hard to get over but I've been taking it one step at a time and with Jake Hershman (front man for "The Newspapers" ) and this guy who they tell me is named Sam have definitely stepped up to the plate and have more then filled the shoes left for them. Jakes has a great energy on stage and definitely adds some rock to Jared's roll. The CD release show was the first I have seen of Sam but I heard a lot abut him. He definitely lives up to the hype... I suppose there is room for one more Sam in the Empire, but don't get too comfortable buddy I got my eye on you. What can I say about Kevin that hasn't been said about him. As a drummer he is rad ... as a person he's awesome. nuff said. Now that I've gushed over them the performance Saturday night was a great one and it was a lot of fun to photograph it. I only wish my damn flash didn't keep jamming. As always you can check out all the picks on our Flickr account. Check them out and pick up Jared Mess and the Grown Children's latest at our website or at our store in Nw Portland. P.s. The Dirty Mittens played that night and I'm officially a fan!
Tender Loving Empire is a media and arts collective / record label / comics imprint / consignment store / gallery / custom screenprinter / concert production house / general purveyor of things artistic based in beautiful Portland, OR.