The purpose of New Year's Eve isn't really to see great bands. The purpose of New Year's Eve is to get completely trashed and hang out with your friends and make promises you're never going to keep. But Portland keeps throwing great shows our way, so we went to a few and kept diaries of our (admittedly fuzzy) nights on the town. We didn't get to every club in town (Doug Fir, Mississippi Studios and the Mission Theater, for example, were pretty big misses), and a couple of us just never made it out (New Year's is like that). But here are the diaries/NYE show live reviews from those who did. ROBERT HAM, CASEY JARMAN, NATHAN CARSON, MARTIN CIZMAR, REED JACKSON. 

8:30 pm @ Downtown Park Blocks

9:10 pm @ Star Theater
Lord Dying bassist Don Capuano promised me some new material tonight and here it is, smacking me in the face with brutal authority (there's a band out there called Brutal Authority, isn't there?). It has that epic, complex quality that reminds me of And Justice For All... if James Hetfield decided to growl his lyrics like a ibex in heat. RH

9:24 pm @ Home
Sitting alone at home. My friends either don't feel like going out or don't have money or don't like music well enough to spend the evening with a funk band and an energetic hip-hop duo. My girlfriend gets off work at 10 pm and doesn't feel like going downtown. And maybe seeing two bands I've seen a combined 20 times or so isn't the most adventurous way to spend my evening, but I'm going to go anyway and see what happens. It should be a hell of a show, even if there's no one there to share it with but the folks in the bands. CJ

9:45 pm @ Horsebrass
En route to Plan B, we drop in to the pub for a pint of Pliny the Elder. I text the show promoter and find that Atrocity Exhibition hits the stage at 10:15 sharp. I've never had to drink a $7 beer so fast. NC

9:55 pm @ Star Theater
It's enough of a challenge to my newly sober self to be at a metal show and not be crushing tall cans of cheap ale, but the bartenders here don't make the decision seem any smarter after charging me $2 for what amounts to a cup full of ice and a splash of cola. RH

10:02 pm @ Baghdad Theater
I suspect my NYE tradition of worrying about falling bullets fired up in celebration will end in Portland. #Phoenix #Kabul MC

10:04 pm @ Star Theater
Josh Hughes, the principal singer and guitarist for Rabbits, just seems angry. He snarls at the sound guy about doing a mic check ("I thought this was a punk rock show...") and keeps adjusting and readjusting his mic stand with increasing amounts of frustration. By the time he hits the first note on his guitar, all the pent up pissiness comes flying out. He plays with a punk-like vengeance and strangles some otherworldly howls out of his guitar a la Thurston Moore in pure noise mode. RH


10:19 pm @ Plan B
We hustle in during Atrocity Exhibition's second song. This is a very tall band! Their music is straight up Cure worship, and the women in the crowd are eating it up. NC

10:20 pm @ Rotture
With an hour before the concert's headliner, Dam-Funk, comes on, Rotture is close to empty. What's more, the DJ on stage right now is playing a lot of ambient material—not a great look for a dance-thirsty crowd. RJ

10:25 pm @ Ted's/Berbati's
Libretto is up onstage. I haven't seen him play in quite sometime, but the regular Lifesavas collaborator and skilled MC is one of my favorites to catch on stage. The room is still sort of filing in, but he's absolutely on-point, and he debuts some new party-centric tracks that pretty much kill me. DJ Spark is behind the turntables at the back of the room, playing Libretto's cuts. He asks if I want some champagne. Heck yeah, I do. I get a text: The girlfriend is going to come out after all! CJ

10:35 pm @ Ted's/Berbati's
I see the Chicharones' Josh Martinez and he lets me know that tonight's live band includes Toni Hill, whom you may remember from Portland hip-hop duo Siren's Echo. Tony Ozier (of the Doo Doo Funk All-Stars) is also playing with the Chichis. "We just need one more Tony," Martinez insists. He's quite adamant about it. I suggest Tony/Tope from Living Proof. CJ

10:46 pm @ Star Theater
Hughes has tossed his guitar to the stage in a huff and kicks it towards his amps. He's on his knees bellowing into the microphone while his bandmates smash the remnants of their punk/metal foundation. All of us in the audience are catching hot shards of sonic shrapnel in our guts and it feels amazing. By the time, the dust settles and Rabbits finish their set, the band's game faces go limp and scowls return. "Merry Christmas," Hughes grunts into the microphone and he skulks offstage. RH

11 pm @ Rotture
Natasha Kmeto of the Dropping Gems crew has completely changed the vibe of Rotture. I'm not sure what equipment she is using—it looks like some sort of sampler drum machine—but she is producing some wonderfully bouncy rhythms. She is also laying vocals on top of her beats, which works because she has a strong voice. The dance party has commenced. RJ

11:02 pm @ Ted's/Berbati's
After a brief set from Fogatron (remember Fogatron? Alive and well!), the Doo Doo Funk All-Stars are finally getting ready to ring in the New Year. And holy cow are they dressed for it.


11:04 pm @ Star Theater
It's charming as hell to see all the boys in Red Fang shake each other's hands before tearing into a set. What's less charming is how damn quiet the band's first few songs sound. The quartet sound as tight as can be, no doubt bolstered by a full year of concert dates around the U.S., but someone at the theater is holding back the volume. RH

11:08 pm @ Plan B
I watch a drunk punk gentleman struggling to help his bleach-blond girlfriend into her hand-painted Ms Pac Man <3's Pac Man jacket. He puts the wrong sleeve on her first, and it takes them several minutes to figure out what's gone wrong. NC


11:18 pm @ Baghdad Theater
Someone brought a bootlegging rig to Langhorne Slim at the Baghdad?! Who's taping a NYE show? MC

11:25 pm @ Plan B
Stone Burner is crushing the audience. Nice to see this band in a main support slot on a busy night. The room isn't balls-to-the-wall full as I'd expected (lotsa competition tonight—especially Red Fang), but the crowd is feeling festive and everybody clearly started drinking early. NC

11:30 pm @ Ted's/Berbati's
Just realized there were boxes of free doughnuts by the merch table. My girlfriend (who hates New Year's Eve and never leaves the house for it, but has made an exception after a few whiny texts, suddenly feels good about coming to meet me. We Split a No Name and wash it down with champagne and beer. CJ

THIS WAS ALSO HAPPENING (at Mission Theater)

11:33 pm @ Baghdad Theater
Here's hoping 2012 is the year on the standup bass... AJJ, DMP & Langhorne's dude here at Baghdad Theater. MC

11:44 pm @ Star Theater
Aaron Beam talks about his New Year's resolution, "To not wear a heather grey t-shirt ever again," which devolves into a promise to be more shirtless in '12. Two rabid fans in the audience take the lead and rip their t-shirts off, which results in a fit of homoerotic grabassing between the two. RH

11:55 pm @ Star Theater
It's fitting that as we get closer to midnight and the start of our Ragnarok 2012 end times, Red Fang jumps into their most apocalyptic tune "Prehistoric Dog." The kids in the crowd mosh like they're extras in the second Matrix movie. Someone lets off a confetti cannon. Glorious. RH

11:59 pm @ Ted's/Berbati's
The Doo Doo Funk All-Stars do a count down and then go into a doo doo-only version of "Auld Lang Syne." A new genre (doo-doo-wop) has been born. CJ

12:00 am @ Rotture
Dam-Funk, with keytar in hand, is on stage and has taken everyone back to 1980's Los Angeles. I'm not the greatest dancer, but I've always found that '80s funk, with its thick bass lines and crashing snares, is a genre that almost everyone can get down to—all you need to do is scrunch up your face and do the two step. Of course, there are some people in the crowd who are showing me up, including a middle-aged man wearing rhinestones whose limbs look like they're made of Jell-O. RJ

12:01 am @ Plan B
Everyone has already kissed and cheered when the promoter hops on stage for an awkward countdown. Then we do it all over again. Woo hoo 2012 last year on earth! NC

12:02 am @ Star Theater
Because my wife hates metal shows and hates going out on New Year's Eve, my first New Year's kiss is with Don Capuano. He expresses his love for me and then promptly spills beer on my right shoe. Seeing that moment as the perfect capper to a fine evening, I beat a hasty retreat for home. RH

THIS WAS HAPPENING (Tragedy at Plan B - long video)

12:11 am @ SE Main St around the corner from Plan B
Somehow I've been invited by half a dozen beautiful women to smoke weed in the street with them. When we return to the venue, I hold the door as they file back in. As I enter, the door guys asks, "Are there any more of them?" NC

12:20 am @ Plan B
Tragedy has finally dialed in its sound. When the first song kicks in, it's drenched in power and conviction. This is one of Portland's most legendary bands—and still a group that most locals haven't even heard of. Quite the pity, because anyone who loves the Wipers or Dead Moon or Poison Idea ought to be standing up front at every Tragedy show. For all its raw energy, Tragedy never forsakes the hooks. NC

THIS WAS HAPPENING (Chicharones at Ted's/Berbati's)

 1:16 am @ SE 12th & Hawthorne food cart pod
I finish my night with a Jicama Fajita and an apple wiffie pie. Hot food. Hot date. Cold night. I had one beer all evening. No hangover for me. I win! NC

1:30 am @ Ted's/Berbati's
Some people don't understand my Chicharones obsession—I was supposed to have a whole crew of friends out with me tongiht, but maybe the whole funk band/hip-hop group 1-2 punch didn't appeal to them. But this group is so so so so so live tonight that I don't care. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. Dudes get down. CJ

1:40 am @ Lower East Burnside Street
On the walk home we see all the flora and fauna that this drunken holiday has on offer. Women doubled-over while their boyfriends stand by, overly friendly and giddy revellers, people yelling out of car windows and many, many folks who are wolfing down snacks on the street. At 12th and Burnside a drunk woman is yelling at her boyfriend. Two passerby give her a low-key "oh, shut up." Her boyfriend, excited to have a distraction from his lovers' quarrel, puffs up his chest and starts walking after the guys. "You fucking got something to say? Huh? You fucking wanna say something?" You can make your New Year's resolutions, but you still have to share a world with that guy. CJ

2 am @ Number 14 Tri-Met bus
The Tri-Met bus on Hawthorne is a total shit show. It's packed to the brim with scantily clad girls and drunken partygoers who look like they might not make it to the next stop. One guy tries to get a bus-wide rendition of Solomon Linda's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" going, but receives a large number of boos after his "Wimoweh" chant goes on for far too long. RJ