Tuesday, October 2, 2012


For those of you outside the loop, DJ ROXY EPOXY comes in to Slabtown every first Thursday to host her Ego Hours with synthwave, minimalwave, darkwave, punkwave, powerpopwave, and darkwave. This month, we've got three bitchen bands playing a free show in the Game Room (see here for more info about our DIY/SEWDIFY shows in the Game Room) while Roxy dragsndrops music off her laptop into the PA out front.

What you get for the low, low price of zero bones...

THOSE BOTTOM FEEDERS. They describe themselves as electro-punk, but I'd put the emphasis on the "punk" part of that. Originally from Austin, TX, frontlady/guitarist Tonya reformulated the band after relocating here to PDX but has kept the same sound. Raw and alcohol-drenched. This video doesn't capture the energy that they have on most of their songs, but it's one of my favorites. Dig it...

INVIVO. Here's what they say about themselves: "Invivo reconstructs the disconnected and fragmented soundwaves that pierce, penetrate, and filter through our otherwise confused and perplexed state of being. Sounds of beauty and dissonance, passion and angst, chaos and tranquility." Translation: They play punk with an awareness of the range of energy it can bring.

EYEPENNIES is the AKA of LUCKY VS THE BOMB/STATION ZERO's Rich Milock when performing his solo stuff. I haven't been able to find anything I can link you to so you can hear what he's doing, but he cites Elliot Smith as an influence and I'm guessing he's taken his name from the PJ Harvey/Sparklehorse song. Thinking this likely places him in a genre I've alternately heard referred to as "anti-folk" or "death-folk," and that's a good thing.

And, of course, Ms Epoxy in the front room...

DJ starts at 9, bands start at 930.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to My DIY Roots: The Game Room Opens for Shows

Since long before I bought Slabtown last February, I wanted to run a DIY music space, a place where I could put on shows for my friend's bands, for touring bands who don't "draw" enough to play bigger venues, for those weirdo bands who will always have a small but devout following, and for fledgling bands who've never played in front of people they don't already know on a first-name basis. So, I've decided to set up what amounts to a second venue within Slabtown by converting our back game room into a part-time show space. We held our first show in the Game Room last Friday, with Rat City Ruckus out of Seattle and Raw Dog and the Close Calls. Thirty or so people and it was a fucking blast.

Some details... We're working with a smaller PA set up--a 600 watt power mixer, speakers, and vocal mics--in a room with a capacity of closer to 50 than 150. This means two things: First off, I can "take a chance" on any band because I'm not paying a sound guy or closing off the entire bar for a show with a cover. Secondly, bands who may only bring in 25 people are now playing to a relatively full room instead of to a room sprinkled with bodies, which always makes for a more funner show. Since we're using the main room for larger shows and most Friday or Saturday night shows, we'll be doing the Game Room shows mainly on Sundays and weeknights, with an occasional matinee show on the weekends.

So, I'm telling you now: I want yr band to come play the Game Room at Slabtown. Well, certain conditions do apply... The Game Room is perfect for yr band, if:

1) You're okay with a minimal PA set up. Lo-fi, punk, garage, indie, semi-acoustic, fucking kazoos--all bitchen in the Game Room. But, if you have SEVEN FUCKING MARSHALL STACKS and need to TURN THEM UP ALL THE FUCKING WAY, the Game Room won't work. The PA just won't cut it. Well, then again, maybe it will work, as long as you don't give a shit if people hear the vocals or not.

2) You want to interact with the audience. The shows there will get very personal, and someone from the crowd will touch you. If you don't like that or if it'll fuck you up while you're playing or you want to be on a stage and have people watch yr performance instead of engage with it, the Game Room won't work.

3) You don't have a huge draw. It is a small space, after all. If 80 people are going to come see you play, we may as well do that in the main room, right?

4) Music is yr passion, not yr profession. Lux Interior once said that any rocknroller worth his or her salt wants to play in front of as many people as possible, but let's not push it. The Game Room is not yr stepping stone to stardom, it's yr stepping stone to playing a bitchen fucking show with other bitchen bands. This is especially true if yr band is in no way, shape, or form commercially viable.

One last thing: If you're a homophobe, a bigot, a misogynist, or just a douchebag in general, don't bother getting in touch. I don't work 60+ hours a week so you can push hate and idiocy. You have plenty of other places to go. Move along.

I think that pretty much covers it. Just drop me a note at slabtownpdx@gmail.com, and let's set something up. I have a venue. You have a band. Let's fucking go, huh?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Election Time: "Sandwiches and Ammunition" video from BOBBY JOE EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS

I absolutely love BOBBY JOE EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS. I absolutely love Tales of Blarg. I absolutely love claymation. I absolutely hate election season. BJE's "Sandwiches and Ammunition" (by Janelle Hessig of TofB) is like a perfect storm that I can only hope to ride until November 7.

Dig the lyrics. Indulge yr fantasies...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I tried writing a press release for this show a while back and found myself at a loss for words in trying to describe NUDE BEACH in a way that really captures what they're like and about as a band. It wasn't until I was driving around late night listening to English pre-punk that the comparisons finally started coming to mind.

NUDE BEACH are first and foremost a band out of the DIY punk scene, although I'd never describe their music as punk. Too many bands from our little scene these days seem to listen to little else, to be influenced by little else, and to sound like little else than other bands of their ilk. Alternately, too many bands these days are so busy emulating bands from the good old days that they've lost all relevance outside of their own myopic sub-sub-genre of independent music.

But, NUDE BEACH is their own animal. They're often compared to both TOM PETTY and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, but I'm equally reminded of ELVIS COSTELLO's earliest singles, possibly even EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS, played with the energy of THE JAM. And, as their video for "Walkin' Down My Street," the first single from their latest full-length, demonstrates, NUDE BEACH seems to just want to hang out and play music at a packed house show. (Unfortunately for those of us who love their music and want to claim it as our own without sharing it with the rest of the world, the days when NUDE BEACH will be able to play small clubs like Slabtown for five bucks might be drawing to an end. After completing this solo tour, they're slated to open for Roky Erickson on a tour of the East Coast and Mid-West, and the word will be out.)

And speaking of bands-on-the-verge, our own DIVERS will be there as well Friday night. Like NUDE BEACH, they are another band with strong DIY roots but influences that roam far and wide. For most of their existence as a band, DIVERS seemed to play infrequently if not rarely around town. Lately, though, they've started playing out and about more often, and they've started picking up more and more gigs that will introduce their sound to people who never got the invite to the house show they played last month. And, as much as I'd like to keep them as my own private secret, it's bitchen to see them starting to get the recognition they deserve because they truly are one of the best bands in Portland.

The other two bands on the bill, DEFECT DEFECT and BI-MARKS, feature two of the best frontmen in Portland (Seriously, the only one better who immediately comes to mind is August Alston from WALLS.). DEFECT's Colin Sanders brings his playfulness directly into the crowd, often pointing the mic at random audience members in an attempt to get them to sing lyrics they may or may not know while mussing their hair or otherwise just invading their personal bubbles. Evan Johnson of BI-MARKS, on the other hand, seems to be channeling Henry Rollins as he throws himself to the floor in the midst of the crowd, and whenever they play, my first thought is to clear the empty glasses from every table within fifteen feet of the stage. As a firm believer that live music is meant to be experienced and not just passively received (You can always watch TV at home if you want to be bored.), I cannot get enough of either of them.

Friday, September 14. Doors at 9. $5.

Some links:
NUDE BEACH's "Walkin' Down My Street" video.
Two songs from NUDE BEACH's innovatively-titled "II" full-length.
DIVERS on Facebook.
DEFECT DEFECT's self-titled full-length on bandcamp.
BI-MARKS on MySpace.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's here...The Falafel House at Slabtown

Yeah, it's been a long while since I've had time to sit down and write about what's going on around here, mainly because there's been so much going on. The biggest of the big things going on is the opening of what is essentially a whole new restaurant on-site here at Slabtown. Known simply as "The Falafel House at Slabtown," it's the new endeavor of former Grilled By Death owner and local punk drummer Mike Warm. I say, "new restaurant" because it is an entirely separate business that just happens to share the same space as us. And, goddamn, now that it's here, I just about piss myself with joy every time I walk into the building and see Mikey cooking things up in the kitchen.

Because it's a match made in heaven. Mikey wanted to open a restaurant, and I just want to run a bar without having to deal with all those pesky little OLCC regulations around providing "substantial food items" and such. I'm an alcoholic not a dietician. And, I hate cooking. Shit, I don't even like eating and wish I could get all my nutrition from a single daily IV or such. Yes, I would truly prefer a daily needle in the arm and fifteen minutes hooked to a tube to having to assemble a sandwich. Eating is almost as much of a waste of time as sleeping. Seriously.

Mikey, on the other hand, is so obsessed with food that he's making everything from scratch. Well, almost everything. Pitas, fresh-baked from scratch. Lentil soup, hummus, and falafels, also from scratch. French fries, hand cut, blanched, and then fried. He makes the fucking seitan for the vegan gyros from fucking scratch! He pickles his own fucking radishes! Tahini... Ha! At least THAT he buys pre-made. And, he's keeping the tater tots, which come to us frozen. (But, I do think Mikey dies a little inside every time he has to touch them...)

For now, from 2pm when we open until 5pm when Falafel House staff arrives in full, they have the following menu available:

Fattoush Salad (crunchy pita chips tossed with a mix of greens and veggies)
Fattoush Sandwich (the same served in a pita)
House Salad (mixed greens and veggies)
Lentil Soup (served with a lemon wedge and pita chips)
Hummus and Pita (lemony chickpea spread with pita wedges)
Hand-Cut Fries or Tots (both available with fresh garlic)

From 5pm until at least 11pm (later on show nights), you can get any of the above, or the following:
Falafel Sandwich (chickpea fritters dressed up with slaw, pickles, pickled turnips, and tahini in a pita)
Vegan Gyro (grilled seitan strips with slaw, pickles, pickled turnips, and vegan tzatziki in a pita)
Vegan Gyro Fries (loaded with grilled seitan strips and smothered in vegan tzatziki)

Salads range from $4 to $6, and the sandwiches a la carte are only $5 or $7. Seriously, some of the best falafel and vegan gyros you can get in Portland, with almost everything made from scratch, for about the same price you'd pay for a sandwich at Subway. Ridiculous.

And, it's all vegan.

Our shared hope is that he'll soon be offering the full menu all open hours, and we're in the midst of getting approval for outdoor seating, as well. So, keep and ear to the ground, and we'll let you know as more changes come.

The Falafel House at Slabtown on Facebook here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've been looking forward to this show from literally the moment Drew and Hope from EVER SO ANDROID first contacted me a couple months ago. I started checking out videos of them (links below), and I'm just flat out mesmerized by what they do. Hope's voice effin' slays me, and Drew's work on the guitar is way beyond bitchen. Looping, droning, captivating.

Opening the show will be DER SPAZM out of Sacramento, CA. Playing somewhat experimental, post-punk music that's been compared to everything from the PIXIES and SONIC YOUTH to JELLO BIAFRA and ELVIS, DER SPAZM are what I want out of a band that reminds us that the word "indie" is not always synonymous with "hipster," that it comes from the we-do-it-our-way mentality that makes bands hip in the first place. I have yet to see even video of DER SPAZM live, but the word from Sactown is that they're damned good.

Next up is Seattle's NEW LUNGS, a band I booked when they cold-called me the other day after their show at Laughing Horse Books fell through. The fact that they had a show lined up at an anarchist book store/all ages show space was enough for me to confirm without ever having heard them, but I was stoked to hear how well they fit the bill when I started researching them online. At times crashing and explosive but tempered with enough melody to keep me interested, they remind me of our own DIVERS at times, and that's not a comparison I'd throw around lightly.

Headlining the bill will be the previously mentioned EVER SO ANDROID, also from Seattle. Ima let their music speak for itself...

Closing the night will be DJ/VJ duo SUPER CARDIGAN BROTHERS. They were here at Slabtown last week for a weeknight show and brought in about 30 people or so to trip out on the videos and the records they were spinning. Artists like SCB are the reason I own house turntables; sometimes having a pair of really talented DJ/VJs is exactly what you need to follow a band like EVER SO ANDROID.

Doors at 9, but show up early for "Sound Check Specials" on drinks up until the time DER SPAZM takes the stage. We'll also have a signature drink special on the "Ever So Android." What goes into that, you'll just have to wait and see, though...

$5, 21+

EVER SO ANDROID on Reverbnation here.
...and on youtube here and here.
NEW LUNGS bandcamp here.
DER SPAZM's FB page here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Falafel House at Slabtown, coming in June...

We haven't set a specific date for the changeover (a lot depends upon how long OLCC approval takes), but sometime in the month of June, we'll be opening an entire new restaurant with an entire new menu here at Slabtown. Mike Warm, also known as Mikey Minds the drummer for DEFECT DEFECT, THE MINDS, THE OBSERVERS, and a host of other bands, will be opening "The Falafel House at Slabtown" with an emphasis on Mediterranean foods. A lot of you won't just recognize Mikey from his place on stage but will also recognize him as the face behind the counter at "Grilled By Death," a small sandwich grill he operated at the all-ages club Blackwater Records when they were located on 19th and Morrison.

The full menu is still being developed, but Mikey's specialty will be falafel sandwiches and similar fare--simple, high-quality food with a heavy emphasis on vegan and vegetarian options. Almost all of his foods--from the gyros to the hummus to the soups and salads--will be made from scratch, and while he will be keeping some bar standards such as fries and tots, even the fries will be of a different caliber; Mikey will be making Belgian-sylte fries which are essentially twice-fried--blanched first and then deep-fried.

Aside from the menu, opening The Falafel House at Slabtown will also mean a host of other changes. Right now, you can order sandwiches, etc. on show nights, but we don't have the staffing to be able to run a full grill all night. With Mikey coming in, we'll be able to start serving full meals almost until close. Although we can't set a timeline yet, also be on the lookout for expanded hours over the next couple months as Mikey looks to feed the lunch crowd. And, keep yr eyes open for announcements about curbside service for cabbies and the rest of you who are looking to pick something up on yr way home from work.

Starting in the next week or two, we'll be testing out the menu with customers at the bar, so stop by and you might be able to score some free samples in exchange for yr opinion...