I have a confession to make. Actually, I have two confessions. Both of these confessions are difficult for me to admit, but I feel it’s time to clear the air.
1) I’d never been to the Star Theater before. I guess I generally don’t spend time in that part of town due to traffic and parking. I’m happy to confess, having finally gone behind the doors of this venue, that it’s amazing! The look, the vibe, and the sound… incredible! I’ll never again turn my nose up at a show at this club. The entire staff, including the bartenders and security, were all super friendly and on the job!
2) I’d never seen Tango Alpha Tango before! I know, right? How is it possible that I’ve been in the dark about this band for so long?
Okay, in my defense, I’ve been a fan for about 4 years. This band sent me their music for airplay and I was instantly hooked. Getting out to see them in concert, however, has always been a problem. Usually it was due to the fact that I had too many other options for live music in Portland on the same night they were playing. Other times I was out of town when they had a gig. Finally, there have been two opportunities that I had to see the band, I showed up, and the venue was sold out!
Thanks to a friend with an extra ticket, I was able to make it to this show, and I’m happy to say that this band lives up to the hype. I got myself a nice spot right in front of the stage and prepared myself. I really hoped that they’d be as good as my friend had built them up to be. The crowd was a mixed bag of young hipsters, middle aged rockers and some folks who looked like they could have grandkids. Many have probably been following this band for years. As a first timer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The lights dimmed, and the band made their entrance.
From the first few bars I was already bouncing in my shoes. The rhythm section comprised of Joey Harmon on drums and Mirabai Carter-Trueb on bass set an infectious groove, and guitarist Nathan Trueb effortlessly flowed above it. There was an immediate energy that filled the room. The first song ended, and I turned to my friend and uttered one word. “Wow”. He responded “Dude, they’re just getting started”.
I recognized the song “Kill & Haight” during this set, but the rest of these songs were new to me. It didn’t matter. Each song had a unique flavor, and Nathan’s unmistakable voice never let’s you forget who you’re listening to. The band performed some “B Side” songs that were new to their set, some favorites that the audience clearly had heard before, and some incredible jam sessions that took over the room like a cyclone of sound.
Visually, this band delivers like few can. Joey Harmon is a solid force behind the drum kit. Mirabai is almost stoic in her delivery. This leaves plenty of room for Nathan to roam, jump and roll all over the stage…and into the crowd.
And the guitar solos? Holy Moly! Nathan is explosive! I took a few pictures of the band during the show, but I really didn’t want to experience this show through a camera lens, so for the most part I was just bouncing and rocking in front of the stage the entire evening.
Since seeing this show, I’ve heard from many local musicians in the community that this band is a band they’ve followed for years, and Nathan has been a huge influence on many up and coming guitar players in Portland. One friend commented “Wow, they’re still around”? The answer is YES… and in a BIG way. This band brings their A Game and delivers a live performance that will leave you gasping for more. I, for one, will never miss another one of their shows. I’m hooked on Tango Alpha Tango!
Scott “Uncle Scotty” Hammond has been a radio show host for over 20 years. He brought his internet radio station, Radio Hot Tub, to Portland and has been a strong supporter of the local music scene. He currently does live shows featuring local rock bands alternating Friday mornings on Freeform Portland.