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Sallie Ford rocks downtown

By Jamie Ervin

Bold babe Sallie Ford had a little bit of something for everyone on Friday, Sep. 5.

Hailing from nearby Portland, the indie frontwoman recently ditched her former band “The Sound Outside” for an electric all-lady trifecta.

Last weekend, Salem music fans got to enjoy a taste of her upcoming album, “Slap Back,” produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists. Her new album is due out on Oct. 14., and aims to twist a perceived sexist rhetoric in rock-and-roll into jams for feminist ears in the style of Joan Jett, Blondie and Pat Benatar.

Willamette’s own Slater Smith of The Weather Machine opened for Sallie, along with Level B regulars The Indigo Boyz.

Anyone familiar with local shows in Salem will have heard of Level B Theater Pub, located on High Street. Nestled along the Mill Stream, this venue, owned by the ambitious Loretta Miles, offers much more than its dimly lit entryway suggests, which conveniently guides you past the bar, stock full of craft IPA beer, into its quaint showroom.

Despite Level B’s admirable push to market itself this fall, Miles told the crowd of less than 25 heads to “get off their ass and go to a show”—a reminder that in order to have a real music “scene” here in town, we need boots on the ground.

Sallie Ford’s bassist, guitarist and all-around badass Anita Lee Elliott immediately made herself at home, beckoning the timid Salem audience from the red velvet theater chairs of Level B up to the stage. There’s no telling what Sallie thought of our humble Salem venue and the all-ages crowd, but the energy surely made up for the weak turnout.

I’m very grateful that the enthusiastic team at Level B facilitated such an intimate and empowering experience with this sassy quartet. The well-known rockabilly feel of the Sound Outside lingered in their performance, but Sallie’s cheeky lyrics and revamped all-lady lineup truly gave listeners goosebumps.


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