Pow Magazine


Story, photos and video by Kurt Johnson

On Friday night, September 10th, 2021 at Portland, Oregon’s historic McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom, Mr. Elevator opened for the The Osees and rocked, grooved and swayed the full ballroom with their unusual blend of psyche rock, keyboard and synth blends with no guitars.


Appearing at an all-ages show, some attendees were as young as 10 years old getting started with rock shows at an early age. The dance floor was divided into two sections, one with a bar and area for adults consuming alcoholic beverages and the other for all-age visitors. All attendees were required to be fully vacc’d up (unless under vaccination age) or have proof of Covid-negative test and all participants were required to wear masks (unless actively drinking a beverage). There were no incidents, arguments, tantrums or statement making about the masks. Everyone played by the rules and enjoyed a great show. The Crystal Ballroom is one of Portland’s most historic entertainment venues and first opened its doors in 1914. It was originally called Ringler’s Cotillion Hall and the downstairs restaurant retains that name. It is a three-floor venue with balcony on the third floor.

Mr. Elevator opened the show. Together for almost ten years with various line-ups, Mr. Elevator was originally called “Mr. Elevator the Brain Hotel” and is the creation of founder Thomas Dolan. It has since added drummer Jesse Conlee, bass player Johnny Kosmo and synth player Justin Ruiz. Touring in support of their newest release “Goodbye, Blue Sky” on the Castle Face label, Mr. Elevator often appears with The Osees. They have released three albums to date. Their earlier albums were of a more breezier feel and groove, while “Goodbye, Blue Sky” has moved in a distinctively darker direction. Dolas does all the band’s writing and composing.

The effect of the synth/psyche keyboard combination, along with dark and meditative vocals and harmonies is to create a dreamy, hazy melancholy with the listener’s mind. The mix is that of a sixties pop/psyche the makes the mind drift to darker recesses of thought. Yet, the groove and vibe is unmistakable and draws the crowd in and guides them along with psychedelic brooding throughout. Needless the say, the crowd was mesmerized and was swaying and held spellbound by the sound.

You can see more of MR. ELEVATOR at their website: https://www.facebook.com/thebrainhotel/

The Osees then took the stage and simply overwhelmed the senses with their signature power punk sonic assault. With their dual drummer line-up, the driving, pounding beat tore into the crowd and took them by their throats and shook them into submission. Needless to say at the end of the show all left with glazed eyes and happy smiles on their faces (no matter what their age). The Osee’s are founder John Dwyer on vocals, guitar, flute and keys, Tim “Britney” Hellman on bass, Dan Rincon on drums, Paul “Biohazard” Quattrone on drums and Thomas Dolas on keyboards. The Osees were formed in 1997 in the San Franciso area and are now relocated to Los Angeles. Their name is a word play on the initials “OC”, short for Orange County. They have had many line-up changes over the years and have released twenty-six albums to date with four under The Osees name.


You can see more of The Osees at their website:
http:// www.theeohsees.com.

I am an entertainment, show, band, concert and festival photographer experienced in shooting events of all sizes and genres. I am located in Portland, Oregon and am retired and no longer do any shooting or writing on a commercial basis. I am a contributing writer and photographer for POW Magazine. My past photo-journalism experiences since 2003 have been with a number of local Portland and Seattle entertainment. These include Portland's Positively Entertainment and Dining Magazine, Portland Music Review, the Cascade Blues Association Blues Notes Magazine, Northwest Karaoke and Live Music Review Magazine, and with the independent blues label, Delta Groove Productions in Los Angeles (9 yrs). For the past three years (2016-2019), I was a a writer/photographer to the www.x.dmndr.com ezine in New York. I also send occasional Karaoke feature articles to KaraokeScene magazine in Los Angeles. In addition, I publish my own Karaoke blog, West Coast Karaoke Review on Facebook where I write and photograph feature articles on regional Karaoke bars. I got my start shooting and publishing articles while in the Navy on my final ship the U.S.S Halyburton, FFG-40, where one of my assigned duties was as the ship’s Public Affairs Officer. This included submitting articles to local Charleston, SC newspapers along with the U.S. Naval Base Bowhook newspaper for two years until 1991. My goal with joining POW Magazine is two-fold, one, to shoot in as many new venues that I haven’t visited before and two, to hopefully benefit the bands that I cover and help them by providing strong photographic, journalistic and video coverage of their shows. POW Magazine’s Editor Sheena Salazar has already begun my training and immersion into video-journalism by having me shoot video on my first assignment, the Blank Tapes. Additionally, Dennis has taken the time to train me Editorial duties and in the mysteries of posting videos to Youtube. Now I have morphed into an actual Youtube Content Contributor! I feel fortunate to be provided the opportunity to expand my media horizon and be a member of the POW Magazine Team!! I presently am standing in for Sheena Moore as Temporary Acting Editor while she is on leave.