With the Trick and the band nowhere in sight at one hour to show time, B-complex was facing their first official disaster (besides the oh-so-ScanDesign interior).
Instead, to the relief of all, at half past 10 Tricky emerged the new man we have all heard so much about lately. Though critiqued by some in the rock press as pandering on his new album to alternative radio, his Friday night set in Portland stormed as dark and brooding as fans probably remembered from his last few offerings. However, this time he had four sincere thank-yous to throw at his audience after his opening number “You Don’t Wanna.” Still, Tricky, notoriously annoyed by fan adoration, again thanked the audience after a rousing, almost anthemic “Evolution Revolution Love” that brought out the tripped-hop dancer in even the most conservative of attendees.
Tricky and his band members were juxtapositionally mellow for the sustained intensity that was maintained into the second hour of the set. Several songs became full-out jam sessions, with “Bad Boys” reaching 14 minutes long; for trip-hop, that is a monumental achievement, and under any lesser club musicians it would have collapsed in on itself, but Tricky maintained it with his ferocious rasp.
Perhaps the most surprising and satisfying moment of the set was the reworked Portishead definitive “Sour Times.” With vocals absent, except for a few lines of emotional moaning, and with a new smattering of beats through the middle, this song served well to remind the fans of the very beginning of Bristol-inspired beats, and in the furious world of rock, pop and roll, how far Tricky has come.