The Prids took the stage at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR, on Saturday, January 29th, and made it their own, setting up all the equipment, pedals, set lists and beers. Christian Hurd (Lookbook, Howlin’ Maggie, Templeton) joined the band this night and was warming up his guitar with the beginning of “Moving In Stereo” by The Cars. If you don’t know The Prids music you may have come up with some ideas after seeing front person Mistina La Fave (on bass guitar and vocals) with a Morrissey sticker on her bass and a Morrissey tattoo on her arm, his inked arms outstretched to the heavens. The common comparisons to The Prids sound are with The Cure and shoegazer legends, My Bloody Valentine. Clearly inspired by ‘80s post punk, their songwriting and musical skills have gotten them props from musicians like Henry Rollins and Doug Martsch. Along with fellow vocalist, David Frederickson (also on guitar), their distinctive sound is completed by Maile Arruda on keyboards and the solid drumming of Lee Zeman.
This show continues to support their third full length and most recent release, Chronosynclastic (QRO review), which comes two years after a devastating highway accident that injured them all and destroyed a fair amount of their equipment. After an outpouring of support they were able to rebuild and repair themselves. It was evident at the show that the trauma of these events appears, in every way, to be behind them. It is interesting to note that in the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel, Sirens of Titan, a ‘chronosynclastic infundibulum’ is defined as “those places where all the different kinds of truths fit together.” Is there a connection or is it merely a coincidence? This remains unknown.
The Prids sounded off with “Waste Our Time” (Chronosynclastic), Frederickson and La Fave harmonizing and soaring over a happy crowd, their former marriage secondary to the band’s performance. Had it not been mentioned in everything ever written about them, it would be undetectable, although their history has woven its poetry into all their lyrics. On stage, Frederickson and La Fave are two halves of a whole. It is as if they are mirrors of each other’s masculine and feminine sides, Frederickson setting the environment for La Fave’s driving bass guitar. Frederickson’s head bops while La Fave stares at the people in the crowd and her whole body shakes as they rock out Shadow and Shadow (Until the World is Beautiful, 2006). And the crowd moves with them.
The first half of the show was primarily Chronosynclastic focused, with “Fragile” and a beautiful, emotional “I’ll Wait” punctuated by Zeman’s rolling drums and the ethereal sounds of Arruda’s keyboard. The song “In the Fall” was lovely even without Doug Martsch’s presence on stage. Once they started “Break”, though, the dance party was on. The distorted guitars and bass soared like a My Bloody Valentine track. Dancing men pushed their way to the front to bang their shaggy locks at the head of the stage. This marked the beginning of the second part of the show, which was more focused on their earlier full-length releases, Love Zero (2003) and Until The World is Beautiful (2006). Zeman pulled off his Black Flag t-shirt to bust out “The Problem” (Until the World is Beautiful). And again, drunken men did their dance in front of La Fave.
The Prids played one more Chronosynclastic song, “Desolate” and moved back to Love Zero, inciting the audience to blast off into another dance frenzy with “Contact” as they neared the end of the show. Zeman’s drumming on this song rumbled out like a Joy Division beat of old while La Fave pounded out her bass riffs as if playing lead; a mesmerizing thing to witness. It was a unanimous crowd pleaser and it was as if everyone had been waiting for it. This was followed by the very pretty “Love Zero”, the title track from the album.
The Prids have called Portland, Oregon home for many years now and they are treated as loved locals even though the band was formed in 1995, in Missouri (by Frederickson and La Fave). Portland is full of transplants (it has become its own melting pot) and The Prids have only added to the sounds and colors of this fine city of bridges. The Prids, despite marriage and divorce, car crashes and setbacks persevere and share their songs about their journeys and all the emotions that go with them. They mirror the independent, creative and tenacious spirit of many of those who have wandered westward. Before the last song of the set, “Back Up Slow” (Until the World is Beautiful), La Fave apologized to the crowd. Apparently, the Doug Fir wouldn’t let them have a bottle to pass out shots with, “as usual.” Before the encore song, “Taste”, La Fave was overheard telling Hund, “Let’s play this loud as fuck.” And so they did. With great sincerity and respect for those listening, The Prids played the night’s set with their hearts out on their sleeves and treated all their admirers as friends. The rumors are true; they put on an awesome live show.