BikePortland.org

Portlander dreams of free, mobile rock shows by bike

This was the last of five Sunday Parkways events for 2010. The route looped through the Pearl District and downtown via Stark and Couch Streets. This was the first time Sunday Parkways was held on the west side of the river.


Jacobo Salazar on vocals during
East Portland Sunday Parkways
in July 2010.
(Photos © J. Maus)

“A bunch of bike punks want to play outside instead of indoors” — That’s the simple plea from East Portland resident Brian Smith. He’s launched a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $1,200 to help fund his “Tall Tour” live music project.

In a nutshell, the Tall Tour is a bike-based rock show that rolls the streets of Portland on tall bikes pulling amps, mics, cords and instruments in trailers and plays gigs at parties, rides, festivals — or whenever the mood strikes.

Smith, a regular at fun local bike events who’s known for his audio acumen, created the Tall Tour concept with some friends back in 2009. Whether it’s rolling around with a booming sound system, setting up a pirate radio station during rides, or doing a full-blown tour with several bands, Smith wants to combine his acoustical ambitions with his love of bikes, music and free fun.

Brian Smith

Smith and his friend Jacobo Salazar are both musicians and members of local freak bike clubs (Dropout Bike Club and North Freak respectively). They started a band in 2009 specifically to do a rock show by bike that would feature themselves and friends’ bands. Smith’s vision was to tour Sunday Parkways with the bands under the moniker, Mosters of Rock by Bike.

Smith and Salazar launched the concept at Sunday Parkways 2010. “It was part marathon, part show,” Smith recalls, “because getting a bunch of musicians up at 10:00 am to play Sunday Parkways was, let’s just say, a little difficult.”

Ben Sauce Applebaum plays keyboard during a Tall Tour concert at the North Park Blocks during Sunday Parkways in September 2010.

“We broke a lot of gear, learned what works and doesn’t. Most importantly we had fun and planned on doing it better in 2011 — with the goal of making the whole set-up lighter, louder, and more durable.”
— Brian Smith

Lugging around heavy acoustic equipment and instruments across the city wasn’t easy either, but Smith says it was a great learning experience. And an inspiration.

“We broke a lot of gear, learned what works and doesn’t. Most importantly we had fun and planned on doing it better in 2011 — with the goal of making the whole set-up lighter, louder, and more durable.”

That’s where the Kickstarter campaign comes in. Smith wants to raise $1,200 by July 8th (they’re already raised nearly $800) to buy some equipment and go beyond the bungee cords and old, battered PA system they’ve been pulling around on their bikes for years.

“We hope this equipment will be around for a long time and enjoyed by the bike fun community.”

Sound systems powered by duct tape, DIY ingenuity and pennies from the pockets of Smith, Salazar and others have supplied fun music for countless Portland bike rides and events; now it’s time to throw a few bucks their way to help them turn it up a notch.

— Check out the Tall Tour music project on Kickstarter and keep up with the project on the Tall Tour blog.

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