I’m gonna talk about Ural Thomas in a second, but first I want to talk about the Banana Stand. For the better of a decade, the folks at Banana Stand Media have been a perennial force in Portland’s music scene – hosting shows in their underground lair, recording music videos (like the one you see here) and releasing live albums from said shows that they make available to the public on a pay-what-you-want model. While it’s doubtful that they’ve lived up to that old George Bluth adage, “There’s always money in the Banana Stand”, they have provided valuable exposure to many of Portland’s rising stars and fan favorites, and while it’s not exactly difficult to do so, scoring an invite to one of their super-secret house shows is still an important right-of-passage for any devotee of the Portland scene.
Banana Stand’s latest endeavor is a collaboration with Portland R&B royalty, “Ural Thomas & The Pain,” who were named Willamette Week’s Best New Band 2014 and recently released their first full-length studio album this summer. Now they’ve teamed up with Banana Stand to release of a five-track live album which drops December 16.
I recently had the chance to listen to an advance copy and while all of Ural Thomas’s music is great, there’s an added warmth and grit to this record that I really enjoy. It’s always been my belief that the best way to enjoy soul or R&B is to hear it live in a dark club with your date by your side and few cocktails in your system. Obviously, you can’t get that experience from a digital download, but this is about as close as it gets.
And if you do want that experience in real life, you should head over to The Spare Room on December 16th for the band’s record release party. $10 gets you in the door; the date and the cocktails are up to you.
Banana Stand Media (bananastandmedia.com)
The Spare Room (spareroomrestaurantandlounge.com)
4830 Northeast 42nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon