Understanding your place in the universe can be a daunting task, so occasionally you just have to let your mind slip away for a bit before you can grasp the world around you. Whether it be while reading a book, working out or just standing at a concert, sometimes the best escape comes as you let go of your surroundings and dive deep into thought. Live music is one of the best aides for this—find your spot on the floor, pop in your earplugs, and let the artists on stage direct your thoughts through their world of space, time and poetry.
On Friday, March 25, Mississippi Studios did a fantastic job of booking a few bands that have solid reputations for guiding audiences through moments of cogitation. Opening the evening was Portland’s own Eternal Tapestry. Known for their cosmic expanse of sound, Eternal Tapestry unleashed what seemed to be an infinite uncoiling of ambiance to an eager audience of drifters. It became easy to envision yourself barreling down a desert highway with the cruise control on while staring at the expansive blue sky overhead, the orange hues of weathered geological formations seemingly unchanging as you race towards the horizon. Much like a Terrence Malick film, the band’s effects and tones never lacked a fierce evocation of feeling, and it was a great opening set to loosen brainwaves.
Mild High Club, a glam-rock outfit out of Los Angeles, helmed the reins of listeners’ minds in a bit of a different fashion following the opening act. Lacking the more potent psychedelia presented by Eternal Tapestry, lead guitarist Alex Brettin instead chose gentle guitar licks, dazed vocals, and unhurried tempos to float revelers adrift. Nods to Mac DeMarco were ever-present and, at times, invoked daydreams of wading in the shallow waters of a pool at a posh beachside resort. Flashes of sunshine streaming into your unconsciousness are always a welcome escape, but it was nice to know that the only thing needed to bring you back to reality was a quick splash to the face, which came from the night’s headliners.
The night’s most poetic marriage of visuals and metaphysical musings came from the East Coast’s psychomimetic indie rockers, Quilt. Fronted by the absolutely dazzling Anna Fox Rochinski on guitar, Quilt bound themselves within the immensities of space, time and spirituality by harmoniously dancing through their catalog of folk-inspired melodies, which came off as vibrant, relevant and beautifully maddening. Aided by a backdrop of obscure stock footage from god-knows-where, the boundless ballet of images of clay animation and—no joke—carpet-cleaning methods kept your mind from drifting too far into the macrocosm of space while the voices of Rochinski, guitarist Shane Butler and drummer John Andrews lifted you into a comfortable abyss.
Playing with pure grace and gratitude, each member of Quilt appeared to be truly enjoying their time on the Mississippi Studios stage and delighted fans with numerous tracks off their critically acclaimed 2014 album, Held In Splendor, and their recently released Plaza. As the end of the evening began to take shape and Quilt returned to the stage for their encore, one couldn’t help but snap back to the reality that even though we may be misunderstood in the fullness of time, we are each unique in our own ways. And all it takes for us to be a bit more appreciative of our quirks is a little escapism from not only our outside environment, but also from ourselves. At times we all get a little too filled with the great urgency to grow up and discover ourselves, but it’s nice to know there is music out there willing to direct our thoughts and imagination and guide us away when needed.