Before we get into the shit, a couple of announcements. I am making t shirts. They will be very cool and they will just say HOT TRASH on them. Do you want one? If there is interest, I will make enough so that everyone can have one! Why am I doing this? Because I need money to run this site, you dolt. Basically for every t shirt that I can sell, I earn enough money to keep this web site going one more month and you get to wear a sweet ass shirt that tells the world you give a shit about Portland music. Don’t you want that? OF COURSE YOU DO.
Alright look so anyway when I’m done with the design I’ll just put a link up here to do a little presale and all I’ll need is like 8 of you who want a damn shirt to get on board. There must be fucking 8 of you out there who want to help a motherfucker out. Not to guilt trip you except I’m totally going to guilt trip you, but I pay for your fucking shows all the time. Weekly. WEEKLY, I PAY! So don’t be such a dink. Get a shirt, for shit’s sake. Be cool.
Second announcement is that I just want to tell all of you that you should have gone to A Cold, Cold Night at SPACE last weekend. Not to get all cheesy and sentimental on you, but we’ve been through a lot together so I feel like I can be real with y’all - this show really reaffirmed everything I feel in my heart about the caliber of music being made right here in Portland. Along with the “Come Together” series at PHOME, this event demonstrated to me what we can achieve artistically when we collaborate and actually do come together. Part of the reason Portand’s music scene is so amazing is because y’all are so tight with each other, and that doesn’t happen everywhere. There is magic being made right here and now with what is happening in this scene, you have to know that. From Eyenine coming down to the floor at “Come Together” and calling us to gather close to him and sing along while he rapped to Shupe’s remix of “We Belong” by Pat Benatar, to Psychic Pictionary playing her beautiful vibraphone and singing about incredibly intimate, personal, gut-wrenching stuff to a hushed room, we are storytellers, Portland, and we have so much to say. It is absolutely giving me chills right now, as I write about it. I’m just falling more and more in love with what’s going on here every day. So do as my friends have done for me in the last week, and have each others’ backs, support the scene in every way you know how, contribute to it, be confident that your voice is valid and important and feel that energy grow and grow.
Do some cool local shit this weekend, guys. It’s important and it will make you feel good.
Friday, February 6
It’s First Friday, but it’s also February so it’s not the wild bacchanalian revelry we’re used to on First Friday. There’s some stuff tho.
Ok so Geno’s, let’s talk about Geno’s. My team of informants and field researchers has been rapidly growing and for that I am so grateful. One of those informants, Kaitlyn, esteemed bartender at Geno’s, told me that though it is not advertised, there is something very special happening at Geno’s on Friday night. Kaitlyn calls it a “suuuuuuper 80’s scumpunx reunion.” Let’s find out more about that. Please note that below, I am generally either paraphrasing or quoting Kaitlyn. It should be said up front that there are few who know more about the last 40 years of punk music than Kaitlyn. She’s a living, breathing encyclopedia of Portland music knowledge and has taught me a lot about the scene and its history and roots up here. Alright, so for Friday night:
It’s a suuuuuuper 80’s scumpunx reunion. It’s Jordan Katz’s 60th birthday - younger Portlanders will know him as the bald guy with blue hair and studded leather jacket at Videoport, but dude was the frontman for a number of pretty important bands. He fronted The Transplants in the late 70’s and The Gorehounds in the 80’s. He’s done grindhouse films and sleazy 70’s “I did it for the money” porn. When he first moved to Portland he was getting pulled off the street and arrested just for looking punk (because: the 80’s in New England). Basically, when people say someone is “punk as fuck,” Jordan is their punk as fuck KING. No lie.
So Friday night is a revival of the original Boston and Portland punk and thrash bands. Psycho and the FUs are coming up from Boston and Big Meathammer will play which is the Portland scumpunx band that Jordan has fronted since 1988. Paulie Simiski’s new thrash band Cryptid Slaughter will also play for good measure, because: Paulie.
This night is going to be like stepping into a punk rock time machine. Anyone who has ever been curious about what New England punk looked like when it was born can get a chance to see it one last time because, miraculously, somehow most of these guys are still alive.
That sounds amazing and I will definitely be going to this. I hope we can pull out a healthy crowd to hear some fucked up music, act all bananas, say thanks and give some damn respect to our elders.
If that’s not your thing - live a little, would ya - then Five of the Eyes is releasing their new EP Hierophantasm at Portland House of Music. Also on the bill are KG Freeze and Mill Fire. We know that FREEZE are basically a multi-genre pop band (have you seen their Hip Hop Hits video? It’s great, you big poopy butts, go watch it) and of course FOTE is inventive prog rock. I fucking love Five of the Eyes. Pretty much any woman I know who has seen Five of the Eyes is in love with them. They are, how shall I say this? They are very, very good looking people who know how to perform. Mill Fire are from Biddeford and are going to be the heaviest of the bunch. I don’t know much about them, but I like the weirdo in the hoodie on the left of their press photo and I enjoy that one of their upcoming gigs is at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston. I mean… how even is that a thing? Go get em, boys. I’m going to this too, so I’ll see you there. Play me something good, don’t fuck up.
Leveret, The Forz, Tiger Bomb at Empire in the evening after Empire’s 5-8 First Friday series which features a different selection of local musicians each time. You’ll have to go in to find out who’s up there. The evening show is, however, electropop. The Forz is from Boston but Leveret and Tiger Bomb are from Portland and this should be a fun show, I like Leveret they have a certain I don’t know what, to quote The French.
Blue has Darlin’ Corey, Okbari and The Evan King Group, Mosart212 is at Thirsty Pig, Dogfish has - GUESS - Travis James Humphrey and then something called Cuppagroove. This is the first time I’ve heard of Cuppagroove, but it sounds very smooth and relaxed, music you’d listen to while relaxing on Sunday out on your patio like “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt.
SPACE has an interesting music meets art show for First Friday art walk too. Check it out.
Saturday February 7
OK for Saturday, my best bet would be Snaex with Micah Blue Smaldone and Asa Irons at SPACE. This is Snaex’s album release show and I’ve had the opportunity to listen to their album, and it is very, very good. I really love it and have listened to it more than once. They’re a folk duo, but it’s not the Simon and Garfunkel-y or Brown Bird-y thing you’re thinking of. It’s bleaker and heavier than that, and much more New England. Micah and Asa play folk too, but this is SPACE Gallery, so you’re not going to get what you expect.
Blue has their Jazz at the Blue Saturday night, Salvage has Big Ass Rooster with Holly Nunan, A Space for Grace has HAMBONE and Singlepole Mountain Band, and Dogfish has Matt Meyer and the Gumption Junction.
You know I hate the name of this band because it’s a bunch of white dudes playing music rooted in the deep religious experience and poverty struggle of black people and the NAME OF THEIR FUCKING BAND IS A RACIAL SLUR and so I refuse to write their name out, but Empire has a Bob Marley Tribute for his birthday featuring an offensively named all white dude reggae band. I’m just sick to fucking death of casual racism like this. I’m sure this will be packed though because everything sucks all the time and everywhere.
But, to cheer your spirits, you could go learn how to call Contra Dances on Saturday night too. Cool.
Sunday February 8
Wrap up your weekend with the Portland Racial Justice Congress' Love for Flint Motown Benefit party at Studio 55. You all know that what happened in Flint is just a continuation of this country's war against black people and poor people and so they are raising money for Flint's Child Health and Development Fund so that these kids who are most susceptible to fallout from the water poisoning can get health care.