BC's American Saloon Outlaws, Legends and Lovers, aug. 17"I like rocking with the boot-scooting boogie." That's Tabbitha-but call her Tabotage. Loose black tank top, hair whimsically shorn, she's the very emblem of Riot Grrrl Casuals or, more to the point, inner Southeast. We are technically in Southeast Portland, after all, but the atmosphere at BC's American Saloon-peanut shells on the floor, Marty Robbins blaring from the speakers, cowboy hats bobbing 'midst the headbands-tends to make you forget.
While local and touring acts perform live Thursday through Saturday here, Wednesdays belong to DJs Slim & Buckshot, Adam Wolf and Isaiah Summers, two downtown vinyl spinners with a taste for outlaw country, rockabilly and the best of old Nashville. Last week, Eddie Cochran's "20 Flight Rock" flowed into Waylon Jennings' "Ramblin' Man," then to Reverend Horton Heat's "King" to Loretta Lynn's "Harper Valley PTA," while episodes of The Cisco Kid were projected and a wildly eclectic throng packed the dancefloor.
This bar at the corner of Southeast 24th Avenue and Powell Boulevard has trodden a rocky path the past few years. After a successful run as a classic-rock disco for most of the '70s and '80s, the bar was sold and languished the past decade as Bodacious Classics Restaurant and Intergalactic Refueling Station-home to Klingon Karaoke and very possibly the most embarrassing club in the Pacific Northwest. Last January, it was re-purchased by the original owners (the family behind Holman's) and given a substantial makeover as BC's American Saloon.
While the space upstairs is set to be a small music hall, something of a miniaturized Grand Ole Opry, the basement bar has been lovingly designed as a honky-tonk, walking that line between authenticity and comfort. As the club's MySpace account boasts, it's the sort of place where Toby Keith may feel at home but his music would never be played.
"Everybody from punks to emo kids comes in for the country, and there's no issues. Everybody gets along." That's Johnny-an aging rocker sitting at the bar with DING and DONG tattooed across his knuckles. "People who never dance see the girls and listen to the music and find themselves out on the floor. It's...refreshing."
BC's American Saloon, 2433 SE Powell Blvd., 232-0852.