The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

History bites

Bramhall shuttered; Jerks need a new home
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 24, 2009

closed main

Just a few months after the close of its upstairs neighbor, the Roma Cafe, the Bramhall Pub, long an institution in the West End, shut its doors two weeks ago. And while there's talk it may reopen after renovations, one thing is for sure: The 11-plus-year run of Jerks of Grass shows on Thursday nights, the longest-standing weekly gig in Portland, has come to an end.

Banjo player Carter Logan is sanguine about the run's end: "It was 11-and-a-half good years," he says, "but it wasn't like I wanted to be there another 11-and-a-half years."

But damn if it didn't feel like it could go on forever. Though the Jerks of have gone through a line-up change or two, their formula for success on Thursday nights never wavered: show up a little after nine, set up in no apparent hurry, wander through the crowd to grab a couple drinks (Ronnie Gallant always likes his whiskey), then power through three sets of alternatingly breakneck down-home bluegrass and some of the most technically proficient and progressive stuff you're ever likely to hear in a basement bar.

It was good enough that Doc Watson sidekick Jack Lawrence once sat in.

"He was in town for something an he just showed up," Carter said, and the Jerks never met a guest musician they didn't like. Fiddlin' Tim Farrell used to do the best "Orange Blossom Special" with them I've ever seen (Farrell's a whiz with the animal impressions).

"I loved how casual it was," Carter said. "It was, 'Hey man, what's up? Hold on, I gotta play a song.'" Fans loved that, too, chatting up the band between songs and calling out favorites. Plus, it was a great night for meeting like-minded soul-mates. Guitarist Jason Phelps met his wife Erica there, and stories abound of couples who hooked up at the Bramhall on a Thursday night, never to break up.

If Logan laments anything, it's that "they should have had one last party — we could have really put on a great night, and a ton of people would have come out for one last throwdown."

The Jerks say they've got plenty of gigs for the summer, but in the fall they'll be looking for another weekly gig at another venue. And maybe they'll stick there for a decade or so.

Related: Jason Phelps and his 2663.5-mile plan, I remember when..., Ripple effect, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Pete Wentz, Carter Logan, Jerks of Grass,  More more >
| More


ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   AMOS LIBBY'S FIVE WEEKS IN THE HEART OF THE CONFLICT  |  July 23, 2014
    "(Israeli) immigration asked me at the airport why I didn’t leave when I could have and I said it was because I felt safe. They told me I was nuts.”
  •   WHAT YOU SAY, RYAN?  |  July 16, 2014
    Ryan’s calling card is his sincerity. While the production and presentation are of a genre, you won’t find him talking about puffing the chron or dissing women or dropping a million f-bombs or using a bunch of contemporary rap jargon. He’s got a plan and he executes it, with more variety and modes of attack than he’s had on display to this point.
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.
  •   FULL HORNS AHEAD  |  July 03, 2014
    An arrangement of alto and baritone sax, trombone, and trumpet combining to front a band like Mama’s Boomshack grabs your attention so completely. There just aren’t many bands doing that.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group