Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cozyin' Up to Cairo

I have never attempted to squeeze fifty people in my living room at one time. I'm sure they would fit, although that alone doesn't make it a good idea. It might feel something like the show at Cairo last night. Being as Cairo is an art gallery by day, and its main room is smaller than my living room, this was no mean feat.

In light of the circumstances, everyone was generously accommodating, politely squeezing in between strangers on the large Persian rug. I was one of the lucky few who, after developing a numb posterior during the first set, was able to stand against the wall for the second and swap places with my friend Liz for an actual bench seat for the third. Below me a sea of heads stared raptly ahead as musicians from the bands Generifus, PWRFL Power, and Tiny Vipers played solo sets, close enough kick the front row in the nose without even leaving their chair.

The idea was a homey one: wouldn't you like to hear musicians in your living room? And with no bar, there was no drunken heckling to cause any distractions. I couldn't help thinking, however, that we all would have been a little bit more comfortable had we been in my living room, rather than theirs.

But the space did lend a kind of intimacy that is very different from the typical club, and the widely varying performances made for an enjoyable night out, particularly the simple, yet oddly affecting, lyrics of Kazutaka Nomura of PWRFL Power. Liz remarked how such shows were once common in Portland, and perhaps still are. Push some clothes racks aside in your shop, and you can move an all-ages show in just about anywhere. It's not a bad idea for those who really want to listen to the music. And last night's audience seemed happy to do just that.

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