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Columns > John Zinkand - Improvise

Published: 2008/12/22
by John Zinkand

Portland Local Scene Spotlight: The Quick and Easy Boys

Some cities dont even have a national jamband scene, let alone a local one, which makes it nice to live in a town like Portland, Oregon. We are strategically perched on the west coast in between the major markets of San Francisco and Seattle which makes us a convenient destination (albeit mostly a mid-week destination) for most major national music acts. Our local scene is small but active and percolates with a few different flavors. Bands like Jack Straw and Cross-Eyed Rosie are the more bluegrass oriented ones in the scene. Then there are the resident staples like Scott Law, Tye North, Asher Fulero, and Jerry Joseph who all call Portland home and jam out at many local venues. An emerging scene exists here, as well, with young bands like The Mood Doculators and Mars Retrieval Unit gaining traction recently. My personal favorite of the newer local acts to see here in Portland is called The Quick and Easy Boys.

Walking into the Goodfoot Lounge one mid-week evening a few months ago, I was excited to see a show from Baltimores own The Bridge. Showing up early, I was in time for the opening band, a local act called The Quick and Easy Boys. As the band stepped onto the stage, their appearance immediately struck me as interesting. On lead guitar and vocals is Jimmy Russell, a tall, skinny man with dark hair whose appearance slightly resembles David Byrne. On bass and vocals is Sean Badders, a large hulking individual with a bald head and reddish facial hair who resembles the iconic image of a Pacific Northwest lumberjack (he usually wears flannel shirts, too). Rounding out the trio was the fairly inconspicuous Mike Goetz on drums. All three band members were sporting bushy mustaches and Jimmy and Sean both wore large cowboy hats.

As I was digesting their unusual appearance, they dove headlong into their opening set of music. The sound is somewhat difficult to describe, but the band labels it as a unique brand of Funkytonk called Honkadelic, which sounds about right. As is customary these days in the jamband scene, they take from several varied and different musical influences. Theres rock, country, bluegrass, funkytonk, funk, blues, and psychedelic jam, to name a few. The Quick and Easy Boys also perform extremely well done cover versions of tunes as varied as Frank Zappas "Hot Rats," Jimi Hendrixs "Red House," and Pink Floyds "Fearless."

These guys also know how to have some serious fun on stage and it is highly infectious. Throughout any Q&E Boys show, one can expect jubilant cries of the phrase, Yeah, bud! both from the stage and the crowd. Another regular element of a Q&E Boys show is alcohollots of it. Embracing their bar band persona with gusto, the guys commonly imbibe pitchers of beers and down several rounds of shots during most performances. As you can imagine, things can get charged with energy and even downright rowdy at times. Its also not uncommon for most or all of the members to play a shirtless set, shedding their tops and exposing their physiques. Ive even seen bassist Sean Badders perform in a cow costume complete with authentic plastic udder. And while the humor and festive nature of their shows is a wonderful and enjoyable thing, the band also backs it up with solid musical chops.
Guitarist Jimmy Russell is fierce on the guitar. He deftly switches from funky chord phrasings, to lightning fast bluegrass picking, to straight ahead rocking electric guitar solos. He is great at building tension in his solos and the band very effectively builds energy behind him. Sean Badders often sways back and forth while holding down rock steady, but also lively and inventive, bass lines. Mike Goetz is highly proficient on the drums and has the ability to lay down a solid groove, deliver a flurry of rolls and cymbals splashes, as well as display impressive skills during more extended drum solos.
Since that first night at the Goodfoot Ive seen the band play quite a few times and have become pretty well acquainted with them. For such a young band they already have some interesting stories to tell – drummer Mike injured his arm badly enough that he could not play for several months after the bands van was t-boned in Denver, for example. Being such a fun, approachable, and skilled group of guys, the band already has a small but solid fan base built up here in town that should only increase. The Quick and Easy Boys can be counted on to consistently deliver an evening of enjoyable and danceable music and have one heck of a good time on stage while doing it! Check them out live if youre ever in the Portland area or online at ,a href="http://www.myspace.com/thequickandeasyboys"target=m>www.myspace.com/thequickandeasyboys.

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