Report: Versus Live in Portland


The New York
band descends upon the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland
on Feb. 25. Opening: Corin Tucker Band.

By Tim Hinely


Hungry Ghost,
Sara (Unwound) Lund’s
new band opened this evening but I didn’t arrive in time to see them perform. I
did get to the venue in time to catch the second half of the Corin Tucker
Band’s set.  Her debut record, which had
some interesting moments, didn’t do much for me, but live the songs really came
to life. I didn’t catch any song names but the last 3 or 4 songs rippled with
the kind of electricity that the record didn’t. The few folks I spoke with who
caught the whole set said I saw the best part.


It had been at
least a decade (maybe more) since I’d seen NYC’s Versus, a longtime favorite
upon hearing this first single (1992’s “Insomnia”). The band had had some
different folks in the lineup over the years (including Patrick Ramos and a 3rd Baluyut brother, James). For this tour the band was back down to the original
trio of Richard Baluyut on vocals/guitar, bassist Fontaine Toups and drummer Ed
Baluyut while adding Margaret White on keyboards and violin. They played a nice
mix of songs, both old and new. (For the new ones, however, when Richard said “new”
I did not know whether he meant brand new or simply from the latest record, On the Ones and Threes.)


Still, it was
hard to complain with a set that included “Thera” (from their Teen Beat debut, The Stars Are Insane), “Circle,” “Into
Blue,” “River,” “Double Suicide,” “Forest Fire” and plenty more. For encores
they played “Bright Lights” (their amazing 2nd single) and “Blade of
Grass” (for which ex-Team Dresch-er Jody Bleyle came on stage and did the
oooh-ooohs).  None of us wanted it to
end, but sadly, it had to. A band can’t play forever.




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