The Ascetic Junkies: Fun At Mississippi Studios

Portland’s Mississippi Studios was packed last night for the Nicole Atkins/Cotton Jones show. People who showed up early enough to see The Ascetic Junkies open were the lucky ones, though. In spite of their austere-sounding name, The Ascetic Junkies play with pure hedonistic abandon.


They’re a pop band. Or are they a bluegrass band? They have a banjo, a glockenspiel, a washboard and a host of other interesting instruments on hand for their performances. Matt Harmon and Kali Giaritta front the band as the loveliest of male/female duos. The Ascetic Junkies are truly a foot stompin’, hand clappin’ great time.

The set was short, but each song shone in its own way. “Jenny Don’t Do That” had the audience providing percussion with at least 100 snapping fingers. When they played a slower song, Kali encouraged everyone to slow dance with their sweethearts.

The first song I ever heard by The Ascetic Junkies was “Get What You Want, Get What You Need.” I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful blending of Matt and Kali’s voices. The bare banjo accompaniment bursts into a full blown, rockin’ song that is so fun to dance to. Check out the live performance of “Get What You Want, Get What You Need” below.

The Ascetic Junkies also debuted a new song, “World’s End,” off of their upcoming album, which has no scheduled release date. All I can say is I want more! For now, I’ll just have to be content with their current album This Cage Has No Bottom.  If you want some free music, go here. The Ascetic Junkies are offering their EP, Don’t Wait For The Rescue Squad for free!

I will say that the very best part of the show was the very last song, which ended in a drum circle of sorts. All of the Ascetic Junkies picked up drumsticks and ended the show with a bang! Here’s my attempt at capturing it. It was so great!


I also got a chance to sit down with a few members of The Ascetic Junkies. Keep an eye out for my interview with them, coming soon!