Today marks the beginning of the Know's stacked Memorial Week series, which will find Portland's punk hub hosting seven essential shows in as many days. Drafting a comprehensive rundown would have been a fool's errand, but trust that you could throw a dart at the Know's concert calendar this week and hit something you need to see. For the more discriminating among you, I've attempted a sketch of the best and/or most notable acts set to hold Alberta Street hostage for a spell. (All of these shows go down at the Know at 8pm. Cover. 21+.)
Thursday, May 24: Tragedy, Stoneburner, Spectral Tombs
I reviewed Tragedy's towering new LP for this week's paper, and you can read my glowing praise here. Short version: Darker Days Ahead is Tragedy's best album yet, a dynamic and harrowing collection of top-notch contemporary crust. It's really exciting to see a band stick around long enough to summon something so grand and expansive. This show is going to be packed; if you don't get there early, you're not getting in.
Friday, May 25: The Estranged, Vanna Inget, Sundaze, Futility, DJ Unruly
There are bigger and more epoch-defining bands playing the Know this week, but it is Vanna Inget I'm most excited about seeing. This Swedish quartet's straightforward melodic punk rock veers into saccharine pop-punk when it's not flirting with classic UK sounds, and it's all so incredibly polished and perfectly integrated that it makes me a little bit mad. I'm thinking this is what would happen to Arctic Flowers after a dose of happy pills. Consider this my Pick of the Week.
Saturday, May 26: Effluxus, Bloodkrow Butcher, Silencer, DJ Skell
Bloodkrow Butcher and Effluxus both traffic in by-the-book D-beat that doesn't add much to the inexplicably teeming realm of the punk world still smitten with Discharge, but both bands are very good at what they do, even if I'm not too keen on the splinter of punk they can't seem to pluck from their heads.
Sunday, May 27: Youthbitch, Cafeteria Dance Fever, The Shivas
The Know's Memorial Week marathon catches its breath at the midpoint by taking a break from the crusty stuff and handing the stage over to some rather less pissed and considerably more hummable local garage rock. The stench of rotting Amebix patches will linger into Sunday evening, but by the time Youthbitch tears through a few of its swaggering pop-punk songs, plans for smashing the state will give way to thoughts of broken hearts.
Monday, May 28: Weekend Nachos, Transient, Raw Nerves, Sidetracked
Do Portland crowds ever "go off"? Because I don't see a lot of "going off" at shows. Which is weird, really, but refreshing too, because there's little worse than a bunch of dudes "going off" when I'm trying to enjoy myself. The thrown elbows and sloppy karate kicks that define a session of "going off" have no place in the semi-adult world I try to live in, but I will make a rare allowance for this show, because Weekend Nachos is from Illinois, where I'm pretty sure there is a law against NOT "going off" when there is powerviolence in the vicinity, and Weekend Nachos is pretty damn good at the fast and tight and mean kind of hardcore that defined my teens, and yeah, I might "go off" with y'all if you're game.
Tuesday, May 29: Antisect, Deathcharge, Vicious Pleasures
Crass and Subhumans were pretty much it for me in terms of classic anarcho punk when I was a lad spun on spiky things, so I didn't delve into Antisect's gnarled noise until fairly recently, when a late night that ended with a Crass tattoo on my ankle led me to do some panicked research of the "money where your mouth is" variety. Which means I haven't been anticipating this Antisect reunion for more than a few months, while some have waited a lifetime to see this legend in the flesh. Whatever your level of investment in this slice of punk history, the mere fact of Antisect's presence in such a humble venue should be enough to get your body into what will surely be a very long queue on Alberta.
Wednesday, May 30: Unnatural Helpers, Divers, Sick Secrets, Tensions, DJ Ken Dirtnap
I've probably written more about Divers than any other Portland punk band in the past couple months. Its "Glass Chimes" single has been a constant companion this year, a much-needed reminder that punk rock is still capable of stirring up complex feelings in this husk of a man. It makes me want to cry; it makes me want to start a band; it makes me want to make out in the rain with someone pretty and kind; it makes me want to live the right way, whatever and wherever that right way might be.