Starting tomorrow, sticky-floored Northeast Portland dive the Know—a favorite haunt of local punks, metalheads and Jonathan Richman—celebrates its decade anniversary with 10 days of shows, featuring some of the venue's favorite regular performers. But we wanted to know: What's the best show at the Know? According to Derek Willman, bassist of the Estranged and one of the club's longtime bartender, it was the time that classic English crust punks Amebix agreed to play a secret show in the bar's tiny performance space. You can find his story of how that show came together below, followed by information on the shows taking place over the next week and a half.
Amebix at the Know on May 25, 2009:
"It was a day after they played at the Hawthorne Theater. They had a day off and a several of us wanted to invite [frontman] Rob "The Baron" Miller on a Memorial Day motorcycle ride through the mountains along the Clackamas River. We had an amazing ride and all met back up at a friend's house. There was talk jokingly about doing a secret gig and the Know didn't have a show that evening. After a couple hours of going back and forth about doing it, they finally decided to do it. It was completely short notice to the point that no one really knew 'til about an hour or so before. There were message boards talking about it and I didn't know how that was even possible. I just remember them walking down the street with their guitars and just plugging into amps they borrowed from my band at the time. The Know just was flooded with punks in a matter of minutes. They played all the classics and to this day, I have never seen so many smiles on Peoples faces at a show there. You could tell they knew they were seeing something special. So raw, so intense. Yo me it was probably like watching them in the early days. It is easily the best show I have ever seen at the Know." — Derek Willman, the Estranged.
THE KNOW'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS:
Jan. 9: Bastard Feast, Usnea, Wretched of the Earth
[BLAST OFF] The Alberta punk den kicks off its 10-day cerebration of the club's first decade with an ear-bleeding lineup of local metal destroyers. How appropriate. 8 pm. $6. 21kknd.
Jan. 10: Smoke Rings, Is/Is, Ah God
[GLOOM SYNTH] Smoke Rings could only have come from the Northwest. The Portland-based quartet plays gloomy, driving post-punk, a grey-sky spin on the synths-and-jerky guitars formula. With eerie, Zola Jesus-esque vocals, Smoke Rings can't seem to decide whether they want to loudly mourn their losses or shake it all off on the dance floor. But the indecision suits the band well, as the group showcases a wide sonic eclecticism and an ability evoke a multitude of emotions with a single synth. Fellow psych-freaks Is/Is and Ah God open the show. ASHLEY JOCZ. 8 pm. $5. 21kknd.
Jan. 11: Sun Angle, Marriage kknd Cancer, Hurry Up
[POWER TRIO] It's been a rough road for prog-punk trio Sun Angle since releasing the awesomely frenetic Diamond Junk in 2013. Singer-guitarist Charlie Salas-Humara was nearly sidelined permanently by an ear virus, and drummer Papi Fimbres is about to take a yearlong German sabbatical. The band's days appear numbered, but it isn't going quietly. According to Fimbres, Sun Angle will record at least one more album before he heads overseas in September. Still, best to experience them in the live setting—which is, really, the best way to experience them—while you still can. MATTHEW SINGER. 8 pm. $6. 21kknd.
Jan. 12: Red Fang, Gaytheist, Drunk Dad
[DIRGY MATERIAL] Staggering between hard-rock pop enough to land on alt-radio stations and sludgy metal is a difficult border to traverse. Portland's Red Fang, though, has doing it since the mid-aughts. âReverse Thunder,â the second track from its self-titled album, is slung together with the same genetic material darting through âVoices of the Dead," off its most recent effort, 2013's Whales and Leeches. The bandâs not unfamiliar with longer, more dirge-like material, always toeing the line of what transcends the genre. The quartet, along with a pair of Portlandâs well-regarded metal acts, is performing as part of the Knowâs 10th anniversary celebration, and you haven't seen them in a place this small in years. DAVE CANTOR. 7 pm. $8. 21kknd.
Jan. 13: 1939 Ensemble, Dragging an Ox Through Water
[KEEP PORTLAND VENUES WEIRD] 2014 wasn't the best year for Portland venues. With so many venerable places (Slabtown, East End, and Langano Lounge, just to name a few) closing, it's time we celebrate the New Year by frequenting one of the best—and only—skuzzy rock clubs left in town. Tonight's show is part of a weeklong party in honor of the Know's 10th anniversary, and while most of the schedule (Red Fang! Sun Angle! The Estranged!) leans on sludgy or psychedelic rock, this great one-two punch showcases two of Portland's best experimental acts. Instrumental trio 1939 Ensemble play a vibe-heavy fusion of jazz and Krautrock, while Brian Mumford's Dragging an Ox Through Water is coming off the wonderful Panic Sentry, a release that sees him eschewing some noise waves for songwriting clarity. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. 8 pm. $5. 21kknd.
Jan. 14: The Estranged, Divers, Lunch
[UP THE PUNX] As the dust settles on Barmageddeon 2014, it's time to pick ourselves up, tell the people close to us that we love them, and keep on living. There's no better way to do all three than The Know's 10-year anniversary celebration, which runs through Jan. 18. Tonight's bill is a stacked line-up of Portland punk's heavy-hitters. Headliners the Estranged formed out of the ashes of crust outfit Remains of the Day in 2007, turning out post-punk tunes reminiscent of Stumptown legends the Wipers. On its third LP, released last year, the band employs a more composed approach. and even a little slide guitar. In the supporting slots are Lunch, who will be releasing an album this year, and the ever-anthemic Divers. Just try not to think about what might happen when the Know's lease runs out in two years. JAMES HELMSWORTH. 8 pm. $5. 21kknd.
Jan. 15: Danava, Fell Woods, Holy Grove
[ROCK DEMONS] And on the seventh day of the Know's 10 anniversary celebration, no one rested at all, for a rock'n'roll demon known as Davana unleashed its volcanic rock upon the huddled masses crowded into the tiny showroom full of steam, sweat and beer. A volume unfurled with the fury of the sea, waves of sound pouring onto the street, where as many more supplicants struck fires and breathed smoke and prayed that Almighty God would send the fire marshal on a dull errand somewhere in Milwaukie so that Holy Grove could groove, Fell Woods could lumber and Danava could quake the Earth. NATHAN CARSON. 8 pm. $7. 21kknd.
Jan. 16: Worship, Sol, The Siege Fire
[WILD IN THE STREETS] California thrashers Worship join Portland post-metal explorers Sol and speedy local noise-mongers the Siege Fire for a night of progressive heaviosity. 8 pm. $6. 21kknd.
Jan. 17: Paul Collins Beat, Mean Jeans, The Rich Hands, Psychomagic
[POP-PUNK] If you need proof of Paul Collins' legacy, look no further than the other bands on the bill: Mean Jeans and the Rich Hands owe a lot to Collins and his late-'70s power-pop contemporaries. Even Psychomagic's lighthearted psychedelic punk is indebted more to Collins than more aggro strands of punk—because pop-punk, at its genesis, was all about never taking itself too seriously. SHANNON GORMLEY. 8 pm. $8. 21kknd. There is also a 3 pm matinee featuring Jenny Don't & the Spurs and DJ Calli, with a record swap.
Jan. 18: Mic Crenshaw, Maze Koroma, Grape God
[HIP-HOP] One of Portland hip-hop's grizzled vets meets two of its trippiest newcomers. Mic Crenshaw's been spitting agitprop lyrics with a punk-rock edge since the '90s, and just last year took over as a manager at KBOO—a totally natural fit. Maze Koroma and Grape God are less politically minded, preferring to dabble in psychedelic surrealism, but all three are bonded by a deep sense of radical creativity, making this an ideal bill to bring the Know's 10th anniversary week to a close. 8 pm. $5. 21kknd.
MORE ON THE KNOW IN WILLAMETTE WEEK:
— "The Rise of the Know" (Jan. 4, 2012)