Cheatahs Roam Portland

Written by on February 27, 2014

Last Saturday night, Bunk Bar hosted a gig that doesn’t happen too often. A foreign band started a North American tour in Portland and specifically at Bunk Bar. That band was Cheatahs, who hail from London, England. After releasing their self-titled album February 11th and beginning a small headlining tour of North America by arriving only one day before their first show, Cheatahs were ready to rock.

Opening for them was Pony Village, a quaint poppy band from Portland. The charming melodies of this indie pop quintet were so sappy, they sparkled. Backed by well-timed percussion, the sounds and emotions of Pony Village resemble early Death Cab For Cutie and Mates of State. After the crowd let Pony Village vent, more heads came towards the stage to watch Cheatah’s first performance in Portland.

After the first song into the set, Nathan Hewitt (vocals, guitar) told the sound tech to turn everything up and to make it a lot louder. If you didn’t know, Cheatah’s are a noisey, ambient, and drone alt-rock band. Many critics describe the music of Cheatahs to parallel the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. Thus, when Cheatahs asked the sound tech to make them louder, it guaranteed that the audience was going to hear more and be able to identify how everything was orchestrated.
A key component to that orchestration was the shoegaze, specifically the few pedals that made Cheatah’s lead guitarist, James Wignall, sound like he was playing a crystallized synth instead of a guitar. Lo-fi fuzz was absent and Cheatahs seemed to have a controlled clean sound, although vocals were distorted and difficult to hear over the layering of guitars. Overall, Cheatahs wonderfully amplified the tracks featured on their recently released self-titled album and got a lot of heads nodding, mine included.

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