As former Portland residents (one of us is a native) we're always confronted with a mix of excitement and apprehension when we see national coverage of our City of Roses, be it music-related or otherwise, and it was with this heady blend of dread and elation that we approached MTV News' recent Portland "Scene Report." Apparently, MTV's producers are more in the know than the channel's round-the-clock "reality" programming would suggest, and they happen to get a lot of things right (the interviews with Colin Meloy and Stephen Malkmus notwithstanding).

While there is plenty of utopian hyperbole (references to "the rain," Portland as "organic," "the greatest city ever," and a "commune" full of "micro-scenes" abound), MTV ventures further outside the mainstream than one might expect. There are interviews with and footage from an Eat Skull/Meth Teeth house show (that we happened to be at), as well as interviews with numerous others, from indie royalty (YACHT, The Thermals, M. Ward) to the legitimately underground (Starfucker, Southern Belle, Fist Fite).

MTV did manage to ignore whole swathes of Portland music (for starters, Dead Moon/Pierced Arrows and the Lifesavas are conspicuously absent), and certainly plays up the myth of the NW as an idyll nest of creativity, but ultimately they present a pretty realistic portrait of the city's indie-rock community. Listening to Colin Meloy wax poetic about paying his dues for three whole years at a pizza shop was sort of unbearable though.

No comments: