Golden Delicious / Pete Krebs / Bingo – NXNW (Portland, OR)
Maybe the biggest news to come out of this year’s North By Northwest conference was the end of local acid-bluegrass supergroup Golden Delicious, which is gradually winding down its career over the last few months of 1998 with little fanfare. While that’s unfortunate, the good part is that we get two nice consolation prizes: Bingo and Pete Krebs, a pair of spinoff groups that are more than promising.
Golden Delicious played two shows on Saturday, first an early-evening set in a downtown park and later a 1 a.m. show at the Satyricon nightclub. The park show was a charming performance, presenting Golden D in all its enormously likable glory to a diverse crowd split between hippies and hipsters.
The band was not unlike a more rustic Camper Van Beethoven — or maybe the Feelies, if the Feelies played rocked-up bluegrass with fiddle and washboard, mixing up the occasional Holy Modal Rounders cover with loopy originals like “Cletus, For The Very Last Time, Get The Hell Out Of Your Sister’s Dress, For The Very Last Time”.
Not long after Golden Delicious’ outdoors show, co-leader Pete Krebs unveiled the new backing band for his solo project with a set at Satyricon. Apparently, Golden D will go down as a detour for Krebs. He first gained notice as a member of the indie-rock band Hazel and now appears headed back to similarly rock-oriented territory. Krebs’ new band finds him playing sharp pop-rock that bears comparison to Paul Westerberg, backed up by an all-star band including Maroons drummer John Moen and Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd.
More in keeping with Golden Delicious’ eclecticism is Bingo, which recently released its debut album on Portland indie label Undercover and made its public debut with a Friday performance at the Mission Theatre that was simply stunning. Among the three Golden D alumni in Bingo is bandleader Kevin “Bingo” Richey, who has taken his former band’s approach and added a healthy dose of Zen mysticism and exotic world-beat accents. Remarkable Golden Delicious fiddler Marilee Hord also plays in Bingo, and if anything, this band is an even better showcase for her.
Bingo’s basic sound recalls the backwoods Appalachian death ballads of Freakwater, rocked up with generous amounts of improvisation. Few of the current generation of jam bands have any point to what they do beyond wankery, but when Bingo got going, there always seemed to be a destination.
Song after song exploded into hypnotic interludes in which guitar, percussion and fiddle seemed to cast spells on everyone in the room. From the very first song, “Tornadoes” — which was hung on the beguilingly ambiguous line, “Won’t you please come in and make my world/Just a little bit smaller” — Bingo was simply jaw-dropping.