Mike Stortz always dreamt of relocating his band Johnny Raincloud from South Florida to Portland. During a recent visit to Oregon, Stortz caught a show at Portland music venue Crystal Ballroom. What transpired convinced Stortz to take the plunge.
“James Mercer of The Shins walked past me,” Stortz recalls. “Chris Funk of The Decemberists was at the bar around the corner. I was freaking out. I took it as a sign.”
After a few months in the Northwest, Stortz says Johnny Raincloud has made some in-roads into Portland’s tight-knit, hard-to-break-into music scene. His band debuts in Eugene behind its first LP, No More Horses In This One Horse Town. The album is full of Spaghetti Western-influenced punk and guitar-based indie rock — like a cowboy version of Social Distortion or Drive By Truckers with less country.
But Johnny Raincloud is already working on a follow-up and Stortz says he’s excited to bring the new material to the stage. “It’s pouring out a lot faster than the first one,” Stortz says. The new stuff is a shift in tone for Johnny Raincloud, toward what Stortz calls “dystopian” and “post-apocalyptic” themes, inspired in part by the recent election.
Appearing in Eugene with Johnny Raincloud is fellow Portland band Patti Mayo. Patti Mayo plays elements of indie rock and dance-oriented synth-pop alongside Tiki music. Also on the bill is fantastic Austin-based twee-pop group Tele Novella, making a return trip to Eugene. Lets hope they make a habit out of it.
Johnny Raincloud, Patti Mayo and Tele Novella play 10 pm Friday, Dec. 2, at Luckey’s; $5. 21-plus. — William Kennedy