Saturday, June 02, 2007

it was a hoot

Last night was the 2nd Annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night. Lots of bands and performers (mostly women) came together and played Dolly songs to raise money for Siren Nation, some kind of women's music thing. I obviously didn't bother to educate myself very much. They got my fifteen bucks, whoever they are, and they should be happy.

It was fun, but nowhere near as fun as the one last year. The energy last year was much better. The venue was smaller, the emcees were raunchier, the crowd was crowdeder... and more lesborific... and it was just more exciting. This year it was good, but that special DIY, who-knows-what's-going-to-happen spark was missing. This one was much more slickly produced and the venue was a McMenamin's joint, so... you know... it was guaranteed to be benign and pleasant.

Some of the acts were pretty great. And of course the songs are AWESOME. I nearly wet myself when this cute woman with gorgeous, chestnut curls started singing Jolene. Because, you know, Jolene is awesome. Then there was this woman in Dolly Drag (apparently from The Gossip, but I'm not up on my Portland bands...) who was HILARIOUS and did an incredible, spot-on rendition of I Will Always Love You. She even edged her pudgy, miniskirted self off the stage and out to work the crowd. That was definitely the highlight.

And despite the slick production, there was a lot of amateur musicianship on display -- to very good effect. A cute, waify woman with a warbly, Cat Power voice kept flubbing the words to Coat of Many Colors (despite reading them off a sheet), yet she was so sweet and her voice was so nice, the more she flubbed, the more the crowd cheered. And we were rewarded when she did an incredible version of Little Sparrow, a song with which she was obvioulsy more familiar.

Another trio who were clearly not full time musicians did a couple of Dolly hits in a fumbly, out of tune, out of synch riot grrrl style, complete with a distorted bass and no guitar and a drummer who, by her own admission, had only been behind a drum kit ten times in her life. Yet, they were awesome in their fumbling and everybody loved them. I especially loved the drummer, with her serious face and furrowed brow, who kept time well and even managed a few flourishes, but who was obviously thinking hard about every single move. Her concentration was so apparent and so endearing, it was one of my favorite parts of the show.

I hope this really becomes an annual event, but I hope they don't try too hard to slick it up. The love of Dolly and her songs it what gives this event it's real life and the way people fuck up and keep going and are *supported* by the crowd is, for me, the best part of the whole thing. That and all the lesbians... b/c those are good too...


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