First, let me say, the Doug Fir Lounge is a beautiful venue. Touted as a “hipster bar,” this modern, very Oregon venue is stunning. The woodwork, the up to date sound, and the friendly bar make the experience a very relaxing and elegant one, even void of live music.
Timely, and energetically, The Georgia Flood took the stage with their special style of southern blues and rock and roll. The members of The Georgia Flood look like they could live right here in Portland, and frankly, I was surprised to learn they were from the South. They were lively, polished, and appeared to truly enjoyed what they do.
Next up was Dorothy. Unfamiliar with Dorothy, in the days prior to the show, I ventured to Youtube and Google to find anything and everything that I could read about them. My takeaways from my research were that: 1) Rolling Stone dubbed Dorothy as #14 on their 50 Best New Artists of 2014, and 2) from my YouTube excursion, the lead singer Dorothy Martin was quite beautiful and had an amazingly strong voice.
You may think one in her position could cross the line of tasteful, but she never did; actually, it was quite the opposite. Even overt sexual movements like suggestively stroking the mic stand came across more as an independent woman, comfortable in her sexuality and capability in that regard, having fun with the crowd. From my perspective, I’d say most men wanted to date her and most women wanted to be her (I know I did). I actually saw this first hand. There were two hipster girls standing at the left of the stage, directly in front of me, and they actually mimicked her. During the opening band, they had their own way of swaying to the music. It was slightly awkward and reserved. Once Martin released herself at about song two, these two girls turned into a want-to-be mirror of her…but they failed, instead looking like virgin strippers without a pole. But, that only lends to the credibility of what I say about Martin. What she does, she does well! So well, others can’t compete. She isn’t crass, she’s actually quite the opposite; overt, properly done, oozing with sexuality, with a voice that gives her every token of credibility available…and then some. Truth be told, she could look like a hairy troll and you’d still love her, as her voice is that amazing.
I’ll quickly describe what I mean. She has jet-black hair and bright red lips. She looks like a prettier version of a cross between Angelina Jolie and a playboy model. Add to that a black demi cut bra and panties underneath what appeared to be a silk wrap dress with a floral print. As she moved, her dress would part just enough to see her long legs and a peek at her pantie; the neckline of her dress would droop just enough to expose just a tiny bit her upper undergarment. The perfectly positioned electric fan helped to expose what she wanted to expose, but again, it was ok. Midway through the set she removed her faux fur coat, a trademark for Dorothy.
Dorothy, as a band, was exceptional. Each band member stood out on their own too. The drummer, Dylan Howard, is a hard-hitting, deliberate drummer. Bass player Gregg Cash looked and moved as if he were in a death metal or groove band, and it worked really well against the sultry Martin at the helm. Rounding out the band was DJ Black on guitar, who gave a solid performance. I described the band to a friend as a classic, normal, run-of-the-mill rock and roll band with an exceptional singer – a voice as pretty as Karen Carpenter, with the grittiness of Janis Joplin on an exceptional day, combined with incredible force and power.
I would say the median age of the fans in attendance was 25, however, I had the privilege of sitting next to a 50-something long haul truck driver, who brought his wife out to see Dorothy. He stumbled upon the sounds of Dorothy on a satellite radio station during one of his long road trips, and promptly bought the cd. The majority of the crowd knew the songs, word for word.
Dorothy is a band for Dorothy, in my humble opinion, and I believe it surely was set up this way. While, by all accounts, the backing band is excellent, and the chemistry between all of the members is evident, members could probably come and go, and it would not take away from the talent that is Dorothy Martin in Dorothy.