[GORE METAL] What would you say if Swedes kept telling you that Portland is the punk and metal capital of the world? You'd be doubtful, right? I mean, if you believe the hype, Portland might be the indie capital, but metal? Then again, Swedes do know their metal.
"I never thought of [Portland] that way," admits Goregon Massacre fest organizer Jason V. (originally for Voorhees, like the villain from
Halloween Friday the 13th). But when the 26-year-old—who first emerged as the leader of the well-liked (and now missed) Portland grindcore band Fall of the Bastards—visited Stockholm last year, the Swedes' admiration for Portland bands sold him on our role in the global shredding scene. When I spoke to him by phone from San Francisco (where he's rehearsing with thrash band Dekapitator), V. said a strange thing for someone from the home of the PDX Pop Now! fest, MusicfestNW and tons more music gatherings: "Portland needs a festival."
What he really meant was, "Portland needs an undead, drenched-in-fake-blood thrash orgy." Now, the Goregon Massacre Festival is in its second year, bringing 14 meat-grinding out-of-towners to the Hawthorne Theatre. This year's lineup includes the return of last year's highlight, Ghoul, whose member bios adorably list how many eyes each member has (six total among the four-piece); Bend, Ore.'s "drink, thrash, kill"-chanting, green ooze-covered party zombies Reeker; and kickass Japanese old-school grinders Butcher ABC.
It seems rather odd, though, that only four bands with local members dot the lineup of a fest inspired by the PDX metal scene. "I figure all the local bands play enough shows all year round," V. explains. "I just wanted to give the out-of-town bands some exposure." It makes sense: If Portland is a capital, why not hold a summit of sorts? And with the inclusion of extra-epic, classic metal-influenced Engorged, the nearly punk Warcorpse, the tight and discordant Superbad and Jason's own Dekapitator, a good cross section of locals is represented.
And if the fact that Portland can support a two-day gore-grind fest doesn't sell you on this town's flourishing music scene, it's hard to say what will. Oh, maybe the fact that the whole thing is "DIY all the way down to the ticketing," according to co-organizer Josey Kinnaman. Though Kinnaman works for promotions giant Mike Thrasher Presents, Thrasher is only helping to spread the word. In fact, the cleverly titled fest is not for profit and completely Kinnaman, V., and co-booker Megan Johnson's deal. And a labor of love it is: "We'll hopefully break even," says V.