Live Reviews: Ronnie Haines at The Know

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Material: Much of Haines’ set comes from his recent EP. Songs like the title track, “In Just a Little While, We’re Going to Be Alright,” waft in currents of dream-pop (think Unknown Mortal Orchestra) while others such as “Stacy Cuts Loose” drop into the heavier chop of psych rock (think Ty Segall). Most feature verbed-out vocals and melodic sensibility that make up for largely unintelligible lyrics. Halfway through, Haines tells the crowd he wants to play some unreleased “heavy numbers” and proceeds to slam the set right on its face. The pure ruckus of “In The Gardens Of Hell” and “Four Hearts” directly oppose the chilled psychedelia of the set’s first half.

Musicianship: Haines is capable of cooing in falsetto before ripping into shrieks of Jay Reatard proportions, which, in the context of this venue’s mix, tended to blend into white noise. This could have been problematic without Prochaska’s drumming to hold everything together, whether in relaxed, lilting beats on the ride or in the occasional heavy breakdown. Bedell’s minimalist bass lines, plucked on what appears to be a punchy Mustang, do exactly what they need to do. Haines uses Malekko pedals and puts two delay pedals on his vocals, causing them to shift in and out of phase and caters nicely to his dreamier tunes.

Performance: The trio took to the stage without ceremony, clad in thrifted finery—Haines backwards-hatted wearing a tank imprinted with the Grinch. They strayed from gimmickry and kept the set unapologetically brief. A swift and satisfying performance negotiated accessibility and confrontation, inviting the listeners in and then challenging them. One can bop along with bassist Bedell—who was partial to a one-footed stomp-jig—before having to dodge Haines as he repeatedly rushed offstage into the crowd.

Summary: There is plenty of potential here, and the band clearly has a foot in Portland’s lo-fi scene. Though Haines and company worked hard to get any rise out of this languid bar crowd, they would surely tear up a house show.

They pare their concert to its vitals: a barrage of songs interspersed with clipped, witty dialogue—the last song ends in a sudden slam after which Bedell jests, “That's where the pyrotechnics are supposed to go off.” It is better to play a short set and leave the audience wanting more. I would love to hear more from Ronnie Haines.

Players: Ronnie Haines, vocals, guitar; Daniel Bedell, bass; Evan Prochaska, drums.

Venue: The Know
City: Portland, OR
Web: facebook.com/RonnieHainesMusic

–Ted Jamison