Port O'Brien

Port O'Brien


Hyped by Pitchfork, countless blogs and local publications, opened for Man Man, Akron/Family, and Vetiver, Port O'Brien are a DIY success story already! College radio is taking the bite - they reached #3 on the KALX Berkeley Top 35.


Port O'Brien began performing regularly since early in the year of 2005. What started as a solo project of Van Pierszalowski's has become a full on rock and roll band featuring Cambria Goodwin (banjo, vocals, baked goods), Caleb Nichols (guitar, vocals, tambourine, melodica), and Josh Barnhart (drums, vocals, egg shaker). They have played with likes of VETIVER, MAN MAN, AKRON/FAMILY, LITTLE WINGS, THANKSGIVING, VIKING MOSES, and many many others. The live shows are always different, but the key emphasis is a little old thing called FUN. Port O'Brien has two official releases, "When the Rain Comes" (the debut CD-LP, now in its 2nd pressing) and "Nowhere to Run" (CD-EP). Both releases have reached the Top 35 on KALX Berkeley, with "Nowhere to Run" reaching #3 for the week of Oct. 2, 2006, which is pretty darn good for being completely DIY, and shows the level of the following the group has attained.

Van was raised in Cambria, California - a beautiful town on the southern most tip of Big Sur that specializes in hippies, Hearst Castle tourists, and retired people that enjoy lawn bowling. It is a typical small town - it's impossible to go downtown without saying hi to everyone who is walking down the street. It is a stones throw to an amazing elephant seal beach and a really really really rich dead person's huge fucking house that is so big that it is deemed a "castle." It is also the home of Nitt Witt Ridge, a much cooler and DIY castle. Van used to think Camrbia was boring, but now he thinks it is one of the most amazing places in the world. He wants to die there. After high school, Van started going to college at Berkeley, studying Socio-cultural Anthropology. He was excited, but then realized he didn't really care much about theoretical arguments concerning the abstract nature of human existence. He would rather watch Star Wars. He now lives in Oakland, or as his housemate Colin has deemed it "The Motherfucking O-Zone." The city was very hard getting used to, but it has started to grow on him. The love of his life Cambria Goodwin (yes, named after the town) lives there with him after a few long and hard years of good ol' long distance dealings. Cambria is an amazing girl who plays a big part in Port O'Brien. She has lived in so many different cities that I couldn't even start to list them. But luckily, she ended up living in the town of her namesake. Van's father is a commercial fisherman on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The photos on this site are of his dad, John, and friends on Kodiak at Port O'Brien (obviously, in the 1970s). John hitch-hiked up to Alaska in 1969 from suburbia LA and has gone up every summer since. Van's mom Barb started going up the same year to work in the canneries. They met that summer at the cannery at Port O'Brien (which is now abandoned). Van works on the boat every summer from late May to late August. The work is insane (20 hr. work days, no shower, no toilet, no anything but WORK), but the rewards are great (beauty, inspiration, and money). Kodiak and the time spent on the boat is really the most inspirational time for Van.


"When the Rain Comes" (CD-LP)
"Nowhere to Run" (CD-EP)

Both were released by DIY record labels, which are really more like groups of friends who pool resources and sell things off the same website. "When the Rain Comes" is now in its second pressing.

Set List

Oh, its a constantly changing toss-up.