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Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.





Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 jumps even deeper into the plasma pool

 Last year, the first round of Jeff's Plasma Blast rolled out to overwhelming success. Its venue, the American Legion up on Alberta, filled to capacity as tickets sold like the hottest of cakes. The mini fest was started by the surfy psych band Skelevision, formally known as Thong. Since the second installment happens this Friday, we exchanged some words with Skelevision drummer Philip Zevenbergen on names, lineups and Plasma Blast details, like how it'll also be the band's release show for their new full length Inside The Horror and tour kickoff...

 

The Deli Portland: How did the band end up settling on Skelevision for the name change, from the former name Thong?

Philip Zevenbergen: It kind of just became this name that got thrown around in our desperate attempt to ditch Thong. Some weird names were considered. Chemical X (like the powerpuff girls), Warped Tape, and The Shrimpers were all top contenders for a while, but ultimately Skelevision just rolled off the tongue better and was more fitting to our sound.

The name Skelevision specifically came about out of my boredom of working at Wunderland Nickle Arcade. I would often combine random prefixes with objects I'd see around the room, "skele" and an arcade game with "vision" in the title stuck out one day and I wrote it down.

Speaking of names, how did the name for Jeff's Plasma Blast itself come about?

I am a huge fan of David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). Throughout the film Jeff Goldblum, who plays the lead role of a scientist who becomes a gross monster fly, refers to jumping into the "plasma pool". I found that to be real silly and Jeff's celebration of the plasma pool just seemed like a good name for a music fest for some reason. Originally, it was Jeff's New Years Plasma Blast when we did it in December of 2016. We just dropped the "New Years" and picked up the "2.0" and there ya have it.

What was your process for selecting the lineup for Plasma Blast 2.0?

Well, it started with just asking some bands I am close with about hopping on so I could have a good baseline of acts before reaching out to headliners. Once I had my baseline, I reached out to some more of the scene leaders about getting on, people who have been around longer in the Portland scene and have some street cred from touring or having a notable label. Once that was taken care of, I shifted into getting the headliners which was easily the hardest, most time consuming, and stressful part of the whole show. A lot of agents will lead you on and throw you back and forth on how the likely the headliner you want will take the money you've offered. However Mean Jeans and Walter TV have both been pleasures to work with and so have their agents. We are stoked to have them playing the festival and even more stoked that we get to hit Eugene the next day with Walter TV again.

Is there any particular artist(s) whose sets you're really looking forward to?

I'm most excited to see The Fabulous Downey Brothers. We played with them at the BIG BLDG BASH this year and we were totally blown away. They are going to have a crowd of totally fresh faces and I know they'll tear the house down.

I'm also stoked to see Mannequin, who are opening the festival as this will be their first show. They look like some girls who are gonna kick some serious ass.

Why did you decide to have the event be all-ages and one day long, versus spanning over two days?

When you span it over two days, you have to get the twice the artists. I see it this way only because I am a believer in the short, around 20 minute long set. Show us what you got and get off. To have the amount of artists we are having in Jeff's 2.0 would require 40 minute sets from each band over the two days. I think less people would pay attention to entire sets and the show would move a lot slower. I love this set up because it's going to pack a punch. The music will just keep going and changing rapidly, which is great for a young, unfocused mind like mine. Plus, having it be all ages was a no brainer. You don't have to be 21 to love good music, that's just silly.

You've mentioned to me how Skelevision is now a three piece. How did losing Carlo affect the writing process?

After our first tour the band came to the agreement that we wanted to move forward as a three piece without Carlo. While having to seperate ourselves from him was not something we were super happy to have to do, it really tightened us a band. Our writing sessions feel tighter and more focused on making the core structures of our songs more interesting and I think people have been really appreciating it. People are always telling us how much better of a band we are since we waddled into the Analog over a year ago for our first show. We all wish Carlo could have stuck around, but ultimately our separation with him has been better for both him and us.

What inspired some of the songs/the concept of the new album?

The lyric "Inside The Horror" specifically comes from the second track on the album, "The Sheets." The whole idea of being surrounded by horror but that we're maybe safe if we hide under our bed sheets is the visual we are playing with on our album cover. The whole album holds our psychedelic lo-fi beginnings but also mixes in our newer more punk and horror influence. I think the blend of it all came out really nicely. 

What city are you most looking forward to playing on tour and why?

Tijuana! Derek H. of On Drugs told me that it would be the most stressful and thrilling city to play, but also the most memorable and exciting too. That has me really pumped. Also, just getting to go play in Mexico is such a treat!

Doors for Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 are at 2:30, with music starting sharply at 3pm. Tickets are still available and reentry to the fest is allowed all day, so be sure to come early!





Pixel Grip @ Empty Bottle (Tomorrow!)

The duo of Jon Freund & Rita Lukea (aka Pixel Grip) recently released a video for their single “Golden Moses”. The duo has a dark take on Synthpop that lends itself to a chillingly entertaining video.

You can catch Pixel Grip opening for Divino Nino and Montreal's Homeshake on August 17th at The Empty Bottle.





Inner Wave releases groovy single "Eclipse" + play the Observatory 8.25

There is a vintage sound that comes across in LA indie quintet Inner Wave’s latest single “Eclipse” (streaming below). Maybe it’s the way Pablo Sotelo's voice shifts into falsetto during the repeated line “Try, it’s right there for your eyes,” or the way the synth beats start to drive the song into groovy, psychedelic territory. Either way, listening to the song is like losing track of time—it’s mellow but not boring, catchy but not conventional. Hear Inner Wave play tracks like this live a the Constellation Room at the Observatory on August 25th. - Lilly Milman





Ganser @ Empty Bottle

Ganser is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to their 2016 EP, This Feels Like Living.

You can catch Ganser at Empty Bottle on Sept. 5th with The Hecks and NOTS.

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