Portland foursome Tango Alpha Tango's strengths lay in the details of its ripping blues rock. Unfettered guitar solos burst out of the script of songs like The Incredible Hulk punching through a solid brick wall. Nathan Trueb's dirty vocals land somewhere between Lou Reed and Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show, both measured and theatrical. The Source caught up with Trueb on what the band has been up to since its last visit to Bend (a trip during this year's SummerFest of which its website recalls, "On the very last downbeat a torrential downpour started, which was mixed with quarter-sized balls of hail, scattering the crowd in all directions. We like to imagine that the thunderous rock n' roll sparked the storm."), its new 30-plus minute live video for which the band rente its hometown Crystal Ballroom and performed an entire set sans audience, and what's next for the Portland alt-rockers.
Source Weekly: When was the last time you were in Bend? What have you been up to since then?
NT: I believe it was in July at the Bend Summerfest. That seems like ages ago now, and we've done a lot since then. But directly after that—as in, the next day—we headed out on tour opening for Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes on the west-coast leg of his tour.
SW: Why did TAT decide to make a live album? Where were the tracks recorded? When can we get our grubby hands on it?
NT: After the Rich Robinson tour we kept at it on the road and managed to finish a live album that we had been planning. The idea was to get a snapshot of our live show out to the world; a current set, with the current band members because our lineup has changed since the release of our studio album, Black Cloud. It's one thing for people to hear our studio album, but we wanted to give people an album experience of the live show and a film of what you hear to give it an entirely new visual context. We rented out the Crystal Ballroom in Portland and recorded the set live on that great, big stage without an audience.
SW: Talk to me about how you got set up playing with Jackie Green? How about playing for KEXP in December? How do big shows like that affect you guys? NT: I know Jackie plays at the Fillmore, in San Francisco, annually every Thanksgiving weekend, and needed an opener. We got the call and promptly said yes. As far as KEXP goes, we have been playing in Seattle for years and years, about once a month, and got noticed by KEXP, the radio station. They asked us to come in and do one of their live in-studio sessions, which a lot of people ended up seeing and sharing. Which is funny, because that was the whole reason we made the live film and recording—to get in front of a bigger audience on the internet "stage." So, now our live album and video is like the sequel to the KEXP session: there is more depth and you get a bigger scope of what our live show is like. With bigger shows you get a bigger audience, and when we get that audience we try to be as ready as possible.
SW: Other updates from the band? What's next?
NT: As we release the new live album we are already working on new material for the next full-length record. We plan to release it on vinyl and really get it out there. All of us are really proud of what we're cooking up. I also am planning on recording an album of my solo and acoustic material in 2015. So, it looks like it's just going to get busier.
Tango Alpha Tango & Patrimony
9 pm. Sat., Dec. 6
Volcanic Theater Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.