On Sunday night David Vandervelde, a songwriter from Nashville, fronting the band known by his surname only, pulled into Portland’s Doug Fir lounge for his second visit to the venue. Upon the 2007 release of his critically acclaimed Moonstation House Band LP Vandervelde tore through a set at the woodsy Rose City venue, but the four years between visits and various musical permutations since, apparently left a gaping hole in his Portland audience as less than a hundred souls were in attendance. In 2008 Vandervelde release his second album, Waiting for the Sunrise, which departed from the unique rock n’ stomp sound of his debut into more generic California breezy pop style. Having released various singles since that have begun to merge the two styles, Vandervelde has also displayed an aptitude for longer, abstract psychedelic excursions in the studio and onstage
Playing a short set in front of the sparse audience did not appear to negatively impact his passion, punch or power. Rummaging through both new and old songs Vandervelde and his band reverted back to the chunky hybrid of T Rex and A.M. – era Wilco to produce a potent rock n’ roll. Often delivering lyrics with similar cadences across songs, Vandervelde showcased both a biting and intelligent sense of humor with memorable melodies. A few hearty and devoted fans stood in front of the stage screaming terms of endearment throughout the set, egging Vandervelde to slay some demons with nimble runs on his hollow-body Gibson and impassioned vocals. It was good to see a tried and true rock n’ roll band come to town, do their thing without a lot of hype, and ride on down the road.