June 4, Portland, OR -- Stage 4


From: "Randall Hixson" <rhixson@sunline.net>

Subject: Portland Scarnella show

Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 04:01:18 -0400

It's 12:30, but my body's telling me that it's 3:30 in the morning and I
should be sleeping, so here's a short recap of tonight's Scarnella gig:

I arrived at the Stage 4 at about 8:30, and Rachel & Eric were there to
greet me. After a few minutes of chit-chat Carla roped me into lugging what
appeared to be a trunk filled with 4.5 tons of lead up the stairs. Eric and
Rachel soon followed, and taper-extraordinaire Eric got Nels' approval to
tape the show. It proved impossible to patch into the board, but he was
prepared with mics, so I'm sure tapes will soon be floating around.

The Rondelles opened the show; their rosey-cheeked drummer appeared to be
about 14. Their set was well-received, but it was obvious that many people
were there to see Scarnella take its first steps.

Carla and Nels stepped onstage and took a few minutes to tune up and poke
some floppies in the sampler. The first song began with a strange sample
and some Nels noise, and Carla had to ask the crowd for a pack of matches
to stick between the keys on her keyboard, but none were forthcoming.
Someone offered a disposable lighter, but a proper matchbook appeared from
the back of the crowd which I'd (poorly) estimate at 100-125.

I can't really explain what the songs were like; Eric suggested that the
show was like the "Outside of Town" duets from the Butch tour. I guess
that's a good description; basically there was Carla on bass, Nels and toys
(whisk, raygun, springs and what appeared to be a collapsible cup?) on
guitar, some samples and Carla's patented vocals. I had a hard time
discerning the lyrics to the third song (something about a cat in the
title, I think) but it had the feel of a real winner. The fourth and final
song was titled "A Millenium Fever Ballad" (I think) and I think it's
destined to to be the successor to Prince's "1999" as an end-of-the-century

I was reading the setlist upside down, but I think the other 2 songs were
called "The Most Useless Thing" and something about "Underdog." Sorry I'm
so vague, but I kind of trance out at shows and everything becomes a blur.
I'll try to get the actual song titles at another show, and hopefully we
can all share in a tape tree of the historic first show, warts and all.
Carla joked that most of the songs had only been played while lying down
and admitted to having a hard time remembering her parts, but I really
enjoyed watching the songs emerge from their cocoons. It'll be interesting
to hear how they sound on a finished album...

It was great meeting everyone, including Nathan (I just remembered his
name, but I'm still forgetting someone.) Next stop Portland.


Here are some shots from tonight's gig in Portland. I took about 15, but
these are a good sampler. My laptop only displays 256, so these probably
look crappy. I'll try to post all of the photos in a better condition when
I'm back home.


P.S. Yes, Amy, the elephant was there. He was a silent partner, but he and
the tiger seemed to enjoy the show.

From: "Nathan Carson" <bishopofbattle@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Scarnella live
Date: Fri, 05 Jun 1998 11:47:14 PDT

Well I for one give Scarnella's Portland performance a hearty
thumbs up. After a shaky start, they drew a transfixed crowd
into sublime visions from Carla's heart wrapped in a maelstrom
of chords provided by Nels. This is going to be good.

Carla also confided in me that she desperately misses the Fibbers
and can't wait to get back to work, although she did not specify
when that would be. But hey, I think taking the time to create
the Scarnella album and promote it a bit will be quite fulfilling
in the meantime.

Portland does love the Fibbers.

Subject: Scarnella/Rondelles/Versus -- June 4, 1998, Stage 4 Portland
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 16:58:00 -0700
From:  rahrahreplica <diopter@teleport.com>

Scarnella was last night.  They were good.  Very experimental....of course Carla's voice was just beautiful. I love what Nels can do with the guitar.  They're just playing with (not just playing, but playing with) their instruments. Nels was using lots of implements, as usual. Carla had a number of diskettes laying on her keyboard. I'm not sure where she was putting them, but there were many noises coming from her keyboard that sounded like muffled voices.  I'm assuming she had some sort of sampler or something.  Let's put it this way -- Scarnella was interesting.

I really liked the first band -- the Rondelles. They're on the same label as Flin Flon and some Versus. They're songs are three chords - just simple, but fun. Like BK's first two albums, but not as hard core, more poppy. I bought a single of theirs. I'll let you know how it is. 

Versus was the headliner at the Scarnella/Rondelles show. You know, I had built up such an image of their live shows in my mind, that I was a bit disappointed. After Jimmy told me how much he liked them live, I read in CMJ that they are one of the greatest bands live, next to Neutral Milk Hotel and Yo La Tengo. I've seen both live. I'm not a big YLT fan, but I love NMH.  Soooo, when Versus actually took the stage, it was a bit of a let down.  I totally preferred the songs on which the female sang.


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