MUSIC NEWS & OPINION
HISS and VINEGAR
REGIME CHANGE HITS SATYRICON / BLACKBIRD PLAYS TRADING SPACES
A new booking duo is set to shake the shack at Portland's most stalwart punk dive. Josh Blanchard and Blackbird booking whiz Chantelle Hylton take the reins at Satyricon next month. According to Hylton, the pair plan to remix the Old Town club's fare with newer, artier post-punk and indie rock bands while maintaining its age-old taste for '77-damaged old-school punk. Hylton says Blanchard, who once lent a hand at long-defunct Southeast all-ages hole 17 Nautical Miles, will assume the lion's share of the SatCo duties, while she ministers to Blackbird's flock.
Speaking of Blackbird, the Northeast Sandy Boulevard club is wrestling with its internal awkwardness. Larger restrooms have been installed, aimed at breaking bathroom queues that often imitate Brezhnevian breadlines. By year's end, further renovations should lead to expanded room for standing in place and nodding your head, plus improved bar access.
OLCC: ON THE PROWL IN NORTHEAST
In early December, Oregon Liquor Control Commission operatives accused Disjecta and International Club Mummy, clubs just blocks apart off Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, of alleged alcohol misdeeds. Disjecta, an arts and music performance space at 116 NE Russell St., took a double-shot of trouble when regulators knocked the venue for slinging sauce sans license on both Dec. 4 and 8. Those involved face misdemeanor charges. I.C. Mummy, which books touring Russian rock acts, Euro-disco nights and more, also felt the heat on Dec. 8. According to the OLCC, an investigation is pending and citations are on the books after "numerous containers of distilled spirits, wine and beer were seized." The legally imperiled crypt resides at 332 NE San Rafael St.
OAKEY ROCKS IT, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT
Paul Oakenfold delivered a solid dose of his usual DJ routine on the 15th, transforming the Crystal Ballroom into an arm-waving trancescape. The big news on this tour is an attempt by "The Godfather of House" to put it down live. After the first hour, Groove Armada's Tim Hutton materialized with a guitar, Tricky's John Tonks swiveled some drumsticks and Oakey plinked a couple of keyboard notes. Although Hutton manned the mic for a few numbers during this "live set," most songs relied on the prerecorded voices of album guests, and silly as it sounds, videos of Shifty Shellshock and Perry Farrell mouthing along to the lyrics. The dancing cooled off during the poppier, radio-friendly (and sometimes downright vapid) tunes, but OakenFolk continued to cheer and revere, even through the explosive, metal-infused finish. --Laura Mangels
PDX Quakes as New Year's Just Plain Erupts!
Tonight we're gonna party like it's...oh, screw it. Here are some New Year's events.
BY ZACH DUNDAS
Whether you're guzzling Dom P. or squeezing your last drop of prison homebrew out of a sock, chances are you're hungry for New Year's action. But you need a plan, lest you end up idling in the Jack in the Box drive-up line at 11:59, wondering where it all went wrong.
What you don't need, at least according to Portland bars, are surprises. Just about every club performs last rites on '02 with the sonic equivalent of comfort food. Any schemes for multimedia genre-bending artblasts are apparently on hold until next fiscal quarter, and you won't find many convention-defying musical options for 31 December.
Nonetheless, it's impossible not to psyche up for New Year's ("the most important party night of the year" according to a friend of mine, who actually does rank "party nights" in order of importance.) Here is a taste of what's going down around the metropolis.
Portland Irish bars have a disconcerting habit of favoring non-Irish music. Funk Shui drops goofball classic-funk chops at Biddy McGraw's, with promo photos promising at least one Boone & Crockett Afro. The Green Room offers Grooveyard's patio-party funk. 'Cross town at Alberta Street Public House, Foghorn Stringband rings in the New Year, circa 1933, with fiddle-driven Southern old-time stomp. Hopefully this means FDR will resuscitate and kick some ass in D.C. this year.
If your tastes run more new-school than New Deal, PDX hip-hop prince Starchile and the Karma DJs stage one of their hormone-'licious booty-busts at Berbati's. If you know your karma's bad, you might prefer the aggro-metal punishment of Dfive9, 'round the block at Ash Street. Also working the angsty heavy-rock angle, the enormously popular Floater spins emo-proggish sorcery at the Crystal Ballroom.
New Year's has emerged as a high holiday among jam-band fans; Portland twirlers screwed in the online derby for Phish NYC tix face multiple local options. Zen Tricksters, who mix Grateful Dead, uh, "nuggz" with originals, will doubtless pack the Fez with neo-Aquarians. Kooken & Hoomen represents the latter-day fusion of live jam and floor-rocking electronica at Goodfoot, while Freak Mountain Ramblers hold forth in classic-hippie style at Bitter End.
The opposite aesthetic prevails at Blackbird, where indie-rock experimentalists Point Line Plane, The Planet The and Nice Nice proclaim that It's An Arcane New Year, Charlie Brown. If this cerebral, sharp-angled trio does not add up to your idea of nuevo a–o felicidad, perhaps the sun-splashed African-highlife music of Chata Addy at Billy Reed's is more your speed.
If soul-kissed jazz class seems an appropriate herald for A.D. MMIII, you can hardly do better than the Mel Brown Quintet. If you call yourself a music fan and haven't yet seen Brown play drums, you are an out-and-out fraud in my book, so get thee to Jimmy Mak's for penance. Also on the jazz tip, Stuart Wylen Trio plays rocket-age groove-jazz in the Rat Packy environs of Wilf's at Union Station, while seldom-seen local darls Pink Martini pleasure the multitudes at the Tiffany Center.
On the dance "tip," as the kids say, the punk and New Wave flava of DJs Retrograde and Retrovirus beckons at Nocturnal, along with a host of live rockers. Dahlia, Odyssey and Lifesavas lay down progressive ambients and hip-hop at Ohm. The aesthetically ambidextrous (all five of you) could try commuting between Dahlia's ethereal electronics and the artfully debauched (and ever so fabulously attired) garage-glam of The Makers at Satyricon. You know, as a gesture toward open-mindedness in the New Year.
Of course, this hectic and imperfect rundown doesn't do full justice to the revelry that will greet the arbitrary change of calendar year. For more info (and for times and prices on many of the above), consult our music listings. Be safe out there, people.