Dork rock. It's a real thing. Almost mathematical in structure, assailing and nearly overwhelming, Major Powers and the Lo-Fi Symphony attempts to cram every scale, falsetto, marathon guitar solo, synth riff, build, drop and pacing change into each of its sadistic songs. If it weren't so well choreographed, it could easily turn into a rock 'n' roll garbage can. But with Nicholas Jarvis Powers on piano, and brothers Kevin and Dylan Gautschi on guitar and drums, the catchall somehow becomes a beautiful, musical nerd odyssey.
The band prefers the term Adventure Rock™, and yes, it does insist on the trademark. Its description of the genre tries awfully hard to convey some wide-ranging referential storyline—Powers calls it, "Mary Poppins writing songs for Weezer during a cliff diving competition between Freddie Mercury and Tom Waits, while Danny Elfman makes out with Indiana Jones during a game of Dungeons & Dragons"—but what does that really mean?
"Anyone going out of their way to create shit and show it to people is pretty adventurous in their own right," said Powers. "So at the end of the day, everything is Adventure Rock™."
Whatever Adventure Rock™ is, a musical boner for Queen is a prerequisite.
"We get a lot of flattering comparisons. But we're just as (if not more) influenced by musicals, classical music, movie soundtracks, Disney, rap, Django Reinhardt and '90s metal. You name it."
A mix of serious musicianship and dorky hilarity, the band strikes a delicate balance.
"We laugh so that we do not cry. I think there's an inherent genetic strain of hilariousness trapped inside of tragedy," said Powers. "If there weren't, we'd all jump off bridges tomorrow."
If that's not rock 'n' roll, I don't know what is.
Major Powers and the Lo-Fi Symphony
Wed., May 21
McMenamins, 700 NW Bond St.