Portland’s Finest: Blitzen Trapper to rock Gabe’s this Friday

Blitzen Trapper
Blitzen Trapper play Iowa City often — photo by Robbie Augspurger

Blitzen Trapper

Gabe’s — Friday, May 30 at 10 p.m. ($12-14)

Blitzen Trapper is the kind of band that brings people together: Hipsters and bros, townies and students all comfortably fit in at a Blitzen Trapper show. It’s a hodgepodge crowd that matches the band’s hodgepodge sound.

The Portland-based quintet have been playing since 2000, self-releasing three records before getting picked up by Sub Pop Records. Their earliest (and arguably best) records were motley assortments of crazed Americana, with gorgeous vocal harmonies and gentle bluegrass moments contrasted by loose and dirty punk guitar freakouts, sometimes within the same song. Blitzen Trapper has taken the oft-abused Americana genre and injected a melting pot vibe where new and strange sounds are not only accepted together, but expected.

VII, Blitzen Trapper’s latest record and first release on Vagrant Records, sees the band pushing their melting pot Americana to include some funk and R&B elements, taking cues from somewhat disparate influences such as Stevie Wonder and Prince.

Above all else, Blitzen Trapper knows how to please an audience. Their live show offers a wonderful mix of their hits (I’ve literally never seen them not play “Furr,” their 2008 break-out single, at a show) and new material. Check them out this Friday at Gabe’s.

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