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Holy Rollers: Portland’s Tango Alpha Tango is on the cusp of creating a rock revival 

click to enlarge 16.40-sound-tango-alpha-tango.jpg
If you’ve ever watched a high energy Southern Baptist preacher or even remember the Arsenio Hall character Reverend Brown from Coming to America, you’ve got an idea what to expect when Tango Alpha Tango lead singer Nathan Trueb takes to the rock-n-roll pulpit at Bend’s Fall Festival Oct. 6.

Trueb will make you believe in something, namely the power of rock. He uses his marauding, almost Bob Dylan-like voice and restless stage presence to infuse TAT shows with a certain larger than life fearlessness. Backed by a group of unassuming rockers that include his wife Mirabai on bass guitar and his brother Aaron on keyboards, Trueb is clearly the lead performer here. It’s a skill that, early on, caught even him off guard.


“It’s something I didn’t know I had in me until I got on stage with a guitar,” said Trueb in a recent phone interview with the Source. “I don’t practice moves or anything. I don’t feel like I’m putting on an act, it’s just something that happens.”

As a result, TAT concerts are becoming legend around the Portland area.

The band has two sing-along-worthy albums under their belt so far. And while those albums are fantastic blends of folk, psych and country rock, they fall well short of capturing the true nature of a TAT live show. These shows are likely their most valuable commodity and one they put to good use earlier this year at the popular SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

“SXSW is a lot crazier than I dreamed,” said Trueb. “You really have to hustle just to get noticed. One day when we didn’t have a show, we saw some people busking and we decided to take it to another level. I took my guitar into the middle of Sixth Street and we started playing. It got pretty nuts and there were hundreds of people around instantly. It was a crazy crowd. Quite the spectacle."

Currently TAT is working on a duet of albums, one that will feature the whole band and one that will be a solo venture for Trueb. According to him, there is a harmonious relationship between recording and rocking out at concerts.

“It’s about the songs and trying to get an honest body of work out there,” said Trueb. “(But) right now we’re leaning on the side of playing the live shows to earn the money to make the music.”

So far, Trueb and company are successfully winning souls for their cause.

Photo taken by Nathan Trueb.

Tango Alpha Tango

Saturday, Oct. 6, 3:30 p.m.

Bend Fall Festival

104.1 The Peak Mainstage

Free

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