We arrived just a bit early, the distant sounds of the LRSD drum corps bleeding from atop the Hawthorne bridge as we dodged through the alleys and side-streets of the eastside industrial district. Sliding past the machine shops and loading bays, surplus furniture warehouses and design firms, the pounding beat was hot on our tails, urging us on to the blue-flooded underbelly of Portland’s oldest bridge. Welcome to The Works @ AudioCinema.
While it probably doesn’t top last year’s Boora-designed scaffolding-and-orange-construction-fencing complex, this year’s Works provides an oh-so-Portland experience: park your bike, grab a local microbrew, find your friends, and then hang out under a bridge to watch some performance art. In this case, it was the measured kinesthetics of Portland’s Slomo as they emerged from the AudioCinema warehouse.
Inside, the air was hot and thick, hazy with the after effects of an overzealous smoke machine operator. It was Brede Rørstad’s turn to take the TBA stage, conducting his Music Population Orchestra through three pieces: “Five Remixes of a Forgotten Theme,” “Here We Are in the Stone Age,” and “Confidently Unsure.” Brede has been bringing chamber music to the streets of Portland over the last year, leading the MPO in various incarnations. He pulled out all the stops for Thursday night’s performance, crowding a Polyphonic Spree-like gaggle of musicians onto the tiny stage. For me, the highlight of the night was undoubtedly the third part of “Confidently Unsure,” featuring Alphonse Swinehart’s human beatboxing and Camelia Nine’s mighty soprano alongside the full orchestra.
If you didn’t make it for the opening night of TBA, the MPO will be playing at Lewis & Clark’s Evans Auditorium on September 14th. You’ve got no excuse to miss it.
Ryan Lucas