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...


Wow, it's been a long time since I've sat down to write about what's going on here. Been more than a little busy, but I'm feeling inspired...

The next big show that everyone's talking about here at Slabtown is THRONES/LEBENDEN TOTEN/ROSENKOPF/BELLICOSE MINDS on the 11th, but in all honesty, I'm equally excited about tomorrow night's show with ELECTRO-KRAKEN (my third chance to bring them in here since re-opening 3 months ago), DIRTY HAND FAMILY BAND, ROSELIT BONE, and the MINUTEMEN documentary "We Jam Econo."

We're gonna start off the night by putting "We Jam Econo" on in the back room about 7 or so. It's a weeknight show, and we'll be taking cash at the door at 8 and starting bands around 9. So, if you wanna just show up for the movie (and the "Sound Check Specials" on drinks until the opening band starts), it's free; stick around for the show and we'll hit you up for the $4.

First up will be locals ROSELIT BONE, a band I've been itching to see since Sean from E-K booked them for this show last month or so. Their bandcamp tags: country, apocalyptic, folk, deathrock, western. That pretty well sums it up. Dark, moody vocals over sparse music with a country Western vibe. Had the movie "Blue Velvet" been about a two-piece C-W band instead of a lounge singer, ROSELIT BONE would be that band.

THE DIRTY HAND FAMILY BAND are a seven- or eight-piece band vaguely out of San Francisco, although they seem to spend much of their time traveling from place to place. With vocals coming from two ladies up front as well as their guitarists and harmonica player, they take traditional American gospel, honky tonk, roots, and country and muddy it up with swamp water and moonshine. Similar to CAVE SINGERS in some ways and SOUL SAVERS in others, they're more than either or both.

Closing the night, at least the part on stage, will be ELECTRO-KRAKEN, a band that continues to be one of my favorite locals. If you haven't heard them, they are basically improv jazz, but they stretch that genre beyond recognition by running they sax through layers of effects and bringing the serious thunder with heavy, heavy bass and drums to back it up. In fact, they are more of a punk band that plays heavy improv jazz than vice-versa.

As I sit here and write about these three bands, the thing I love about them all is that they each take traditional American genres of music, expand on them, and drag them through the dark places of our minds. Their approaches remind me of the way that great post-punk bands like BUZZCOCKS and JOY DIVISION took the pop love song and twisted it sideways; their willingness to experiment with genre reminds me of THE MINUTEMEN and the way they made rock music their own (hence, the tie-in to the movie).

The liquor reps who do the promo for Kraken rum went grape-nuts when they heard I'd specifically started carrying Kraken rum for this show and gave us a bunch of swag. We'll be running a couple of one-night-only drink specials around that: The Electro-Kraken (Kraken and energy drink) and The Russian Kraken Hunter (Kraken and half-and-half, tastes like a White Russian).

See you at 7 for the movie. Doors at 8, bands at 9. $4, 21+

ROSELIT BONE on bandcamp: here
DIRTY HAND FAMILY BAND at the Stork CLub in Oakland: here
ELECTRO-KRAKEN at The Someday Lounge: here

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What You Missed, 5/1/12: Raising a Glass for the Working Class, HABITS, TSEPESCH, BOORS

Yesterday, while you were busy watching other people protest for their economic rights on CNN, Slabtown was celebrating May Day in its own not-so-quiet way with  a thrash-doom-hardcore show here with net sales going to staff. (I've written about the whole net-to-staff thing before, here, so I'll just give you the spoiler and say that, although it wasn't a banner day financially, staff still walked away with over $500 in bonuses. Thank you to everyone who came in.) If you did make it in, you didn't get to see me scrubbing the floors in a Mr Pennybags costume, but you did get to see me in one of my less-than-stellar moments...

THE BOORS were up first. Absolute thrash, spastic, as anarchic as a band should be on May Day. Their singer was throwing his body around stage, biting through cans, tying the mic cable around his neck. All good fun. But about four songs in, he broke one of our mic stands and immediately followed the move by completing a flip onstage that landed him on top of the mic stand for the kick drum, snapping the top off. I got pissed. All I could think about was that these guys weren't going to pay for that shit, and I was gonna get screwed and have to cough up cash to the guy we rent our sound system from.

Let me point out my own stupidity. God, where do I start...

Number one, money is a stupid reason to get angry. Period.

Number two, anyone who ever saw me perform with LEGACY OF BRUTALITY knows I have lost any right to bitch about someone breaking a mic stand or two. I'm not sure we ever played a show that didn't include tearing clothing, setting things on fire, knocking over equipment, breaking mics, snapping stands, kicking monitors into the crowd, or at the very least making someone bleed. Hypocrisy.

Number two-point-five, I love a band that gets so into their music that they lose their shit. What? Then I'm going to whine at them for "going too far?"

Number three, the most important one. I totally came at THE BOORS as if they were trying to get off without paying for it. From the moment I approached them after their set, they were willing to do what they could to make it right, but in my anger, nothing was good enough.

Anyway, I finally grabbed a friend of mine and asked him to talk to the band about getting the stands fixed. I realized that I was worked up over stupid shit and figured I'd just keep coming across like an asshole if I kept talking. Like I said, they were totally willing to take care of it. Let me make this apology public. Sorry for being an uptight, angry jerk last night. Thank you for putting yr all into yr set, even though you were playing to a crowd of about forty instead of a packed house.

I was still coming down from my tantrum when TSEPESCH took the stage. I'm not sure most people would call their doom sludge relaxing, per se, but it did the trick for me. If you haven't seen TSEPESCH yet, go check them out, if just for their stage show--a giant of a man on bass dressed as Jesus risen from the tomb, the rest of the band dressed in under-stated black, bottles of Sutter's Home red poured into what appeared to be a bull's horn and passed among the band and then the audience. I have know idea what the word tsepesch means, but I have the feeling I took part in some dark ritual with them last night, even though I didn't touch the wine.

As almost always happens for me with headlining bands at Slabtown, I missed the opening segment of THE HABITS' set because I was closing out the door till, but what I was able to catch was pretty effin' bad ass. I'd never seen them before and was expecting something slower and heavier than the driving, crushing hardcore they put out. Their singer, Joe, is another amazing front man, a guy who seems to truly be putting every ounce of energy he has into his performance. Effin' loved them.

Overall, it was a pretty bad ass night. Again, a huge thanks to all of you who showed up at Slabtown to support my staff for May Day, and a huge thanks to the bands for playing and bringing people in the door.

We'll have to do this shit again for Labor Day...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Event Horizon, 5/1: May Day at Slabtown

I'm gonna try to be serious for a minute.

I have some very strong political and ethical beliefs. I run a business. I grew up in the 80s where the concept of combining those two was foreign, a time when having standards and morals and values was seen as a liability. In the years since, I've had a chance to meet a metric shitton of people who run businesses in accordance with their beliefs, who take the idea that you don't have to fuck people over to survive and use it as the foundation for earning a decent living. I'm doing my best to take that to heart at Slabtown with the ways I treat the staff, the bands who play here, the people who keep our doors open by taking a seat at the bar.

One of my core beliefs is one that I picked up from the movie It's a Wonderful Life. There's a scene where the evil Mr Potter is about to take over the Savings and Loan which will allow him to basically own everything in Bedford Falls; if you aren't paying him rent, you'll be paying him a mortgage. Jimmy Stewart loses his shit and goes on this rant where he talks about how the people Potter wants to own do "90% of the working, living, and dying in this town." As a business owner, I think about that line often, especially with how it applies to the staff here.

I may spend a lot of time in my office setting up shows, paying bills, and making decisions that will effect the business as a whole, but the staff are really 90% of what makes or breaks Slabtown. They're the ones who'll make you feel welcome or make you feel like an idiot for not knowing that martinis get served in buckets here. They're the ones that will give you one of the best sammiches you've had in ages (Seriously, try the grilled pastrami and eggplant on rye.) or serve you up something barely edible. They wield insane amounts of power over how the bar smells on any given day. Think on that one.

So, next Tuesday, I'm gonna do what I can to give them a little extra, and net bar sales from open to close will go to the staff. I'm not trying to be dodgy here--note the use of the word "net." That means what they sell (ie., the booze) will still get paid for out of the till, but the day's profits will go to them. We'll do it again for Labor Day.

Jamie set up a show for that night with HABITS, TSEPESCH, and BOORS. Three metal bands for $3. It's a Tuesday, so SIN specials will start at 8, and we'll have our regular Happy Times specials from 2-7. I'd really like this to be big for them, so come on in and have a drink or two. Bring a friend. Tip yr bartender.

And, if you own a business, I hope you'll take my cue (the same I way I took the cue from the Lusty Lady Clubs in SF and Seattle from whom I stole this idea) and do something for yr staff next Tuesday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

World Famous Urinals

Just days after the Willy Week heaped praise on Slabtown for the welcoming aroma of our urinals in its Drink Guide 2012, photographer Kelli Mellilo came in to take pics of our soon-to-be-world-famous mens room urinal trough for an upcoming coffee table book on bars and their piss receptacles. The book, tentatively titled "Portland's Funk and Fabulous Bathrooms," will feature photos and writing about over 50 of PDX's crappers and piss tanks.

You can bet yr ass we'll be holding a book release extravaganza and open viewing of the fabled trough when it hits the shelves, so stay tuned.

Follow Kelly on twitter at @PDXbathrooms
Dig her "Girl on the Go" blog
The WW review of Slabtown in its Drink Guide

Friday, April 13, 2012

What You Missed, 4/12/12: NEKKED BONZ

Guy walks into a bar and starts hassling the new owner about getting a show for his urban crunch (Is that a musical style?) band. New owner has had too much energy drink and a shouting match ensues.

"I'm telling you, man, we gonna pack the place. Make you a lot of money."

"Look, when I have a SHOW, I gotta pay the SOUND guy, DOOR GUY, bring in extra STAFF!!! OVERHEAD!!!"

"Gimme a date. We'll do three sets, even bring in our own PA so you don't need yr sound guy."

Sold. "Allright. YOU WANNA SHOW!?! I'll GIVE you a SHOW!!! BUT this is what you're GONNA DO!!! You're GONNA bring yr OWN PA, AND!!! You're gonna play THREE 45-minute sets, RIGHT!?! And, some GAP BAND!!! YOU'RE GONNA PLAY SOME GAP BAND!!!"

The "bring yr own PA" idea is almost as stupid as some of the writers for the Willy Week's drink guide, so I eventually tell him to nix that idea. But Nekked Bonz does things right, so they still bring in their own lighting and stage set up.

Yep, 11 pm the night before the show, Da'Mone from NEKKED BONZ shows up with a full effin' truck load of equipment. Drum riser, stage riser, lighting trees, stage curtains. Spends over two hours giving the Slabtown stage a full make over. You wouldn't have recognized her. Seriously, it's like that scene from Breakfast Club where Molly Ringwald puts make up and clean clothes on Ally Sheedy and that Jock Emilio Estevez gets an immediate erection. (Of course, every punk boy I ever knew thought she was way hoxxxtter when she was dressed up in sackcloth and ashes and dusting her drawings with dandruff snowstorms. Our Slabtown stage doesn't need less eyeliner or to wear its hair out of its eyes.) When Chris the sound guy saw the whole get up, he was worried Slabtown wouldn't have enough power for all those lights.

This ain't a picture of them at Slabtown, but I swear on the Holy Diver, our stage was more fandangoed than this:

NEKKED BONZ didn't bring out a lot of people last night, but they still brought an awesome show. Da'Mone comes across like LENNY KRAVITZ with a haircut and some WILSON PICKETT thrown in. He's doing spins and dance moves, got his shirt buttoned down to the navel (or, as we at Slabtown like to call it, "the Trail of Tears"). Between songs, he keeps asking us if we like chicken. I effin' love chicken, almost as much as I love tater tots, but when I yell that out, the rest of the audience started laughing. I think I might've missed the joke somewhere...

So, yeah, while you were home watching reruns of "Firefly" you downloaded illegally, NEKKED BONZ was bringing us three sets of urban crunch and covers (including the GAP BAND as instructed). But, hey, you'll get another chance to catch them on Thursday, 5/24.

Event Horizon, 4/15: Joey Ramone Day

While all the normies in the world will be fretting over taxes, we're gonna be remembering Joey Ramone down at Slabtown with pizza, live music from Wormbag, Bloodtypes, and Jabronis, and Rock n Roll High School showing in the back after the show. Dress up as Riff Randell, Tom Roberts, Eaglebauer, or Kate Rambeau and you can win free shit.

Joey Ramone Day is something Erin Whupass got me celebrating every year, and if you aren't coming down for the show, there's a metric shitton of other things you can do:

Hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach.
Hang out on 2nd Avenue.
Lie awake at night.
Think of you and me.
Eat vindaloo.
Remember rocknroll radio.
Have something to do.
Hang out.
Look at her close.
Be against it.
Watch Get Smart on TV.
Don't go.
Don't be learned.
Don't go down in the basement.
Don't be tamed.
Chase the night.
Sniff some glue.
Have a real cool time.
Hang out in LA with nowhere to go.
Howl at the moon.
Cuss & fight.
Steal a car for a joyride.
Want the airwaves.
Be well.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The World Outside, 4/6/12

If you aren't at Slabtown on Friday night to see Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil, Antique Scream, and Holy Children, you better be here:


Slabtown loves all of the members of the NEEDFUL LONGINGS (They were on the bill of our second show since reopening.), and hope this is a successful event for both Sean and the Jeremy Wilson Foundation.

From their press release:

Friday April 6th, Portland, Or - The Jeremy Wilson Foundation (JWF) proudly presents a night of high energy rock’n’roll featuring a cast of Portland native sons including Dharma Bums, The Needful Longings, Ugly Flowers and DJ HWY 7. The concert’s proceeds will help relieve longtime Portland musician Sean Croghan (Crackerbash, Jr. High, The Needful Longings) of expensive medical bills he accumulated from an emergency hospital stay late last year, and The JWF Musician’s Healthcare Fund, which assists musicians in times of medical crisis. 

It promises to be a special night of music uniting old (and new) friends together, not only for a worthy cause, but also as a true testament of what the spirit of the Portland music and arts culture is all about. The relationship that has manifested over the years between the collective members of Dharma Bums and The Needful Longings can easily be described as a close-knit “family.”

Inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame last November, the members of Dharma Bums grew up together in the Willamette Valley playing in bands since their very early teens. They found regional fame around the valley, partially because they could play hundreds of songs at concert level from such young ages. In 1986, when the Dharma Bums moved to Portland from the Silverton area, they played many of their earliest Portland gigs with Sean Croghan’s first band Crackerbash. It was during this exciting time that both bands honed their sonic crafts and garnered stellar reputations as ferocious live and touring acts. For several years together, before most of the members were even of legal age, the Bums and Crackerbash played area clubs such as The Pine Street Theater, The Long Goodbye, Blue Gallery, and the legendary Satyricon. Croghan and Dharma Bums bassist, Jim Talstra, originally conceived of a Wipers Tribute “flip 45” single to be released as a dual effort between both Crackerbash and the Bums. This project quickly blossomed into a compilation vinyl 45 box set tribute to Greg Sage & The Wipers, including tracks from Poison Idea, Hole, and Nirvana. The release of this box set and the expanded CD that followed helped put then powerhouse indie Portland label T/K Records on the map; a label that launched the biggest Portland acts of the 90s. 

In all aspects of life, these guys have been brothers for one another onstage and off as they came of age. From helping each other move apartments to painting and creating art on front porches to playing on each other’s records over the years, these guys became lifelong buddies and collaborators. Heck, Sean Croghan even appeared as “The Face”, on the front cover of the Dharma Bums third album, Welcome, back in 1993. Twenty years later the members of these bands still play with the same vitality and emotion that sparked their mutual admiration back in the day. From the 2010 triumphant reunion shows of the Dharma Bums’ foursome to Sean’s latest and greatest group, The Needful Longings, these dedicated musicians are making the best music of their careers as they continue to collaborate on each other’s projects and adventures. For instance, Dharma Bums’ bassist Jim Talstra plays for The Needful Longings, whose guitar player, Chris Slusarenko, also plays in Boston Spaceships with Bum’s drummer, John Moen (now in the grammy nominated Decemberists) and singer Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices). Guitarist, Eric Lovre of the Bums produced records for both John Moen as well as Talstra’s bands, Perhapst and Minus 5. Lovre, Moen, and Talstra all appear on Dharma Bum’s frontman, Jeremy Wilson’s upcoming solo album, Empty Through Empty Space---and the list goes on. As this close-knit circle has done in the past, they will reunite once again to raise revenue for The Jeremy Wilson Foundation to assist their fellow musicians in times of emergency. 

It is no question that the “family” would come together now when Sean Croghan needs some assistance. A stint in the emergency room last September was no small setback for the hard working Sean when he passed a kidney stone and found himself uninsured due to a recent job change. But Croghan’s situation is, unfortunately, not unique. Like millions of people throughout the United States, even some of the biggest names in music are hit hard by medical emergency, which can quickly turn into financial disaster. Jeremy Wilson’s struggle from his own stressful medical condition prompted him to form The JWF Musician’s Healthcare Fund to benefit the well-being of the entire Northwest music community. The Jeremy Wilson Foundation is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit that recognizes that many musicians do not have individual access to healthcare and functions as a resource center whose revenue funds musicians like Sean Croghan in their time of medical crisis. Those who wish to contribute to JWF Musician’s Healthcare Fund and support the well-being of area musicians are encouraged to donate online at www.thejwf.org. Donors can also contribute directly to Sean Croghan’s Relief Fund at http://thejwf.org/donateDonations are 100% tax deductible. 

The Jeremy Wilson Foundation Presents – Friday April 6th 2012 - Dharma Bums, The Needful Longings, Ugly Flowers, DJ HWY7 @ Dantes - 350 West Burnside St. Portland, OR 97209 (503) 226-6630 $10.00 in advance http://www.cascadetickets.com/$13.00 day of show Doors 8 pm Show 9 pm

There is an absence of relief organizations which assist uninsured and under-insured musicians who, as members of the creative class, are at high risk of serious financial harm in times of medical crisis.

The mission of The Jeremy Wilson Foundation (JWF) is to support uninsured and underinsured musicians and their families in times of medical crisis. Sixteen months since its inception, The JWF has generated $52.000.00, and granted $20,000 in assistance in 2011 alone. The JWF has started JWF Studio and Learning Center’s program, Blue Room Music Lessons, which provides secure jobs for music educators while granting access to affordable, discounted or free music lessons to children of low-income families. In its ninth month of operation, Blue Room’s educators have taught over 90 students. The JWF’s November 2011 fundraising concert, The Next Waltz, rallied over 60 area musicians and 20 volunteers for a sold out recreation of The Band’s The Last Waltz, held at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, Oregon. The JWF’s survey results have provided valuable insight for the Local 99 Musician's Union, the Health Association of Austin Musicians (HAMM), and at hearings regarding the cost of insurance for small business owners in the Oregon State Senate.

Musicians are twice as likely as the general public to be uninsured. They are considered self-employed and do not receive employee benefits from the record companies they serve. The artists individually absorb 100% of the costs (from paying the doorman to releasing the album), while the record companies receive up to 90% of revenues. Although demand for music is increasing, the advent of the 360° record deal has drastically decreased the artist’s profits through the label’s appropriation of each and every revenue stream. Due to a lack of fundamental financial security, stability, and business structure, many artists simply cannot afford basic health insurance.

The JWF, in its second year, is trying to build and expand its non-profit 501 (c)3 organization dedicated to assisting uninsured and under-insured musicians and their families. It is developing multiple streams of revenue to subsidize a musician’s medical crisis fund. JWF is developing programs to provide incentives and financial fitness education specific to this unique industry to help individuals proactively establish and maintain adequate health care coverage. By developing and implementing a new music licensing model the JWF empowers the artist’s own enterprise and contributes to the well-being of other musicians. They are trying to provide an essential safety-net and proactive training to vital members of the creative economy, and by doing so hope to enrich and sustain our community’s cultural identity.

The Foundation’s namesake, musician Jeremy Wilson (The Dharma Bums, Pilot) formed the foundation because of his personal experiences since being diagnosed with a serious congenital heart condition called Wolf-Parkinson-White. He has learned, by what Wilson calls “his education by fire,” all about the need for adequate health care for our community of musicians. And because of the great outpouring of goodwill he experienced from those that have helped him through his own trial these last many years, he wants to pay forward the same goodwill to others.

With the help of an incredible cast of friends, well-wishers, music fans, industry professionals and others, Wilson has formed this Foundation. Let’s raise the quality of life for all by helping those that make the sound tracks of our lives be healthy and happy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Barfly Prom Bus, Bachelorettes

This one's by Dave...

While you were at home wondering if you should actually read the Game of Throne books or just watch the first season again, you missed another epic night at Slabtown. Barfly was coming in around 7 for some woman’s birthday and it was a 90s prom theme. I went to work immediately to create a playlist of 90s hip hop and pop music that reminded me of all the times I got locked inside my locker. We’re talking Sir-Mix-A-Lot, MC Hammer, Boys II Men, Bell Biv DeVoe, Wreckx-N-Effect along with Jesus Jones, Pearl Jam, 4 Non Blondes and that 500 Miles song by the Proclaimers. I can tell – you’re really excited.

Dietz came in to help me out and we made sure we were ready. The bus pulled up and the people came piling in. It looked about 50 people were waiting for drinks. I had the barfly hostess, Natalie, show me who the birthday girl was, and I had that gal stand on the bar as I crowned her Princess of the Prom. Natalie was wearing the best prom dress with sequins and everything, though, so I gave her the King of the Prom crown.

They were a cool crowd and I watched them play some sort of scavenger hunt. One woman did a handstand in front of Dietz and I at the bar in her skirt. Dietz and I were impressed. Then I tried challenging them to breakdance contest, but luckily for me they did it themselves on the stage. I saw the worm, the Robocop and a little popping from these two girls.

As they piled out a group of young ladies came in with nametags on. Dietz and I looked at each other and smirked: Bachelorette party. I told them that Dietz and I would strip for them, but they were a little shy, even after I offer to do it for no tips. They obviously wouldn’t be able to handle such Adonis’ as Dietz and I, so they went nude-bartender-free for the evening.

You guys should check out barflymag.com to see about their buses, because they look like they know how to have fun, and you get to stop by Slabtown.

Game of Thrones: We Lost the War

Well, it looks like we won't be showing Game of Thrones here at Slabtown after all. HBO does not allow businesses access to HBO through Comcast. I could switch to another service or pretend Slabtown is a residence, but I'd still have to pay a $2200 early termination fee to get out of my Comcast contract. fml.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What You Missed, 4/2/12: The ClydeFest

Last night, while you were at home watching "How I Met Your Mother" on TV, the staff of Clyde Common (aka, the Common People) brought the motherfuckin' ruckus to Slabtown. Five bands, each with at least one member who works at Clyde Common, including PALE HORSE, WHALES, ATROCITY EXHIBITION, DEFECT DEFECT, and AUTISTIC YOUTH. Sorry for yr loss...

I'll say from the beginning that my sleep's been off, so I walked into this one so tired I was already clumsy, a little grumpy. And, things didn't start well. The turntables weren't working and the DJ didn't show. There are five bands and they all show up at once. I want to be friendly but it's excruciatingly boring to have to hand out that many drink tickets.

But bands like PALE HORSE always manage to get me out of myself a little bit. This was probably their third or fourth show, and they're still coming into their own as a band. That makes me smile because I remember going to see AUTISTIC YOUTH when they were still that green, and having them on the same bill kinda highlights that potential. Which isn't to say that they aren't already good, because they are. I'm just really looking forward to seeing who they become as a band after they've been playing for a while.

WHALES were up next and played a solid set. Heavy, hard rock, overdriven bass, screaming vocals. Dave really got into these guys because they're such awesome musicians. I got into their cool equipment (some one-of-a-kind bass amp fro Seattle), and their guitarist (who was apparently playing just his third show with them). But I don't really think they got me. After their set, as they were unloading, someone mentioned that the drummer was one of the meatcutters at Clyde Common, and I was like, "Cool. I used to be a meatcutter. Maybe this guy can answer some of the nagging questions about meat that I've had for the last 18 years." So, as he's loading out I ask him, "Hey, what's the difference between a steak and a chop?" But I don't think he realized I was serious because he just kinda looked at me and walked away.

This was also when I decided that if I had a bunch of employees of the CC at Slabtown I could maybe get some pointers from them about how to make my business more successful.

"So, what's Clyde Common's greatest strength?"

"Precision and volume. I've never worked anyplace where a kitchen could be so busy and still do everything perfectly."

"Yeah, but this is fucking Slabtown. We don't do that shit here."

I'm not sure what was taking ATROCITY EXHIBITION so long to get set up (It's a very small keyboard, after all.), but by the time they were ready to play I was getting bored again and was seriously asking myself what's the worst that could happen if I set off a bunch off firecrackers inside. But, thank the effing gods for bands like ATROCITY EXHIBITION. There was a time in PDX when on any given night you could go see incredible indie rock live--HEATMISER, THIRTY-OUGHT SIX, HAZEL, QUASI, SKIPLOADER (Okay, I was kidding about that last one.). That's where we are with the post-punk right now, and I'm loving it. ATROCITY EXHIBITION, ARCTIC FLOWERS, THE ESTRANGED, DEAD CULT, CONFESSIONS, BLANK STATION. God, I can't wait for Ian Curtis Day.

And, I think ATROCITY EXHIBITION's set was the watershed moment of the night. Because, while the post-punx and punx were standing around staring at their feet, the Common People started getting a little loose. They're out on the dance floor in heels and jeans or a tie and a blazer, spilling drinks and pogoing. They're taking photos like they're on vacation in Thailand. By the time DEFECT DEFECT plays, a miniature pit keeps appearing and disappearing, led by a lady in a low-cut silk shirt. When AUTISTIC YOUTH start come on, the Common People go fucking apeshit.

I love the chaos, those unpredictable moments when everything is about to fall apart. The absolute highlight of my night was when all the Common People started slam dancing and throwing each other around the dance floor. I'm behind and at the side of the stage, and as I look out I realize that they are careening back and forth between two tables full of empty glasses. I jump into the crowd and start grabbing armfuls of glasses and handing them to random people. "Get them out of here!!!" I love the sound of breaking glass; I don't love pools of blood on the dance floor.

After the show, I got the chance to meet one of CC's owners (I'll take a stab at it and say it was Matt, but I missed the introduction.). He tells me about Colin's work ethic, and I tell him about the time I attacked Colin during an OBSERVERS show, biting him and trying to tear his clothes off. I don't tell him that I almost made the staff clean the bathrooms twice before the show because our wealthy neighbors were coming over to visit.

Blake from AE is buying rounds for his coworkers, and I set them up with line of Bulleit rye shots when someone yells at me to set them on fire. Those are the magic words to start Slabtown's "Two-Minute Coyote Ugly." I'm immediately up on the bar, dancing across it and spilling more rye into their shot glasses. People start yelling at me to take it off, and there's a very brief moment when I could've walked away from what happened next. But then Jodi waves a dollar at me, puts it in my pocket, and we've gone over the water fall.

I'm shaking rump and peeling my shirt off. "Is this what you want, baby?" (Truth be told, in my mind, I'm hoping it is what they want; I'm the only guy at Slabtown who isn't getting paid right now, and a dollar's a dollar.) I do my best to dance my way down from the bar and towards the dollars, shirt off but still hiding my b-b-b-b-boobies. Melody from CONFESSIONS tells me to "make a cleavage" for her to put her dollar in. I corner some poor schmuck who wants to give me a dollar but can't bring himself to actually put it in my belt. I'm yelling "C'mon, baby, put the dollar in the hole!" at him repeatedly and rubbing my belly while he backs away from me, one hand over his eyes the other waving the dollar.

Afterwards, I ask Mikey from DEFECT if maybe I'd crossed the line into creeper.

"Knowing you, I'd say no. But if someone came up to me and said, 'Wow, that was a little creepy.' I'd have to say, 'Well, yeah, I guess you're right.'" Fair enough.

The signature drink, the Autistic Youth, was a well whiskey-and-ginger with lime. De-li-cious.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I tend to think in metaphors when I'm putting bills together, and the one that kept coming to mind for this show was nighttime coming on, the mood and the music darkening with the hours.

In this metaphoric vision, LEAFEATERare the musical equivalent of one of those warm August evenings we get here. Catchy, lyric-driven pop with dual male/female vox. For those of you who've been around PDX forever, they remind me a lot of RATTLECAKE (who were another of my favorite PDX indie-pop bands). All smiles and talking with the audience between songs. I always get a kick out of seeing them play live because they're so . . . charming.

FELECIA AND THE DINOSAUR is primarily Felecia Campbell, also of GHOST OFFICE. Singer/songwriter folk music with some rockabilly elements here and there. Usually, it's her, her guitar, and drums, but for this show, she'll be sans drums and accompanied by cello for most of the set. Her latest full-length, "Hand Me Down God," is brilliant in a dozen different directions, containing several songs that can make me cry if the timing's right. She's our sunset.

AEON NOW call their performances "Dreampunk Cabaret," and they are our moments between waking and sleep for this night. Armed with accordion, the saw, horns, and at times a washboard, they look like gypsy troubadours that just walked out of Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Vaudevillian, theatrical, somewhat creepy.

If I'm going to take my metaphor to its conclusion, ELECTRO-KRAKEN are what's on the other side of that dreamscape. They absolutely fucked up my world the first time I saw them. Booming, improv jazz centered around a sax run through effects that clings to punk the way that the NATION OF ULYSSES' first album did.

Our signature drink for the night, the "Dreamscape Cabaret," is an absinthe/gin concoction...

AEON NOW video on youtube
AEON NOW's site
ELECTRO-KRAKEN's bandcamp page

Game of Thrones

I fucked up. I didn't get HBO hooked up in time to show the Game of Thrones season opener last night, and some folks came by Slabtown to watch and we didn't have it going. You get a group of friends together to go out, and when you get there, it ain't happening. That's irritating. Whoever you are, I apologize, and I hope it didn't screw up yr night too much. Come in and introduce yrself. Let me grovel in person.

We have shows the next two Sundays, but I still need to find a way to show GofT in the back without people having to pay the cover if they're only coming in to Slabtown to watch TV. In any case, starting next week, we will be showing GofT in the back room every Sunday at 9, no cover.

Sorry again for the fuckup.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


The same weekend that the GoofPunx will be hosting all-ages shows all over PDX (see previous post here), we'll be holding something resembling an unofficial after-party here at Slabtown with Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits, Delaney and Paris, Autry and Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestling II: Electric Bugaloo. Five bucks, cheap.

The first time I saw BJE and the CMN was when we played with them in Sacramento in '96 or '97, and I actually left because they offended me. I remember walking into the theater and they were playing "I Wish I Was Special." When Corbett got to the line about Michael Jordan signing his catheter and selling it for a Jag, I turned around and left. (That is my shame; things used to offend me. Funny things.) In the years since, though, not only have I become much harder to offend, but BJE and the CMN's music has also "progressed." The slapstick is still there, but at times a genuinely socially-conscious message seeps through (see, "Sandwiches and Ammunition" below). While their recordings have always featured something resembling a full band, this is the first time they'll be touring as more than a folk two-piece.

Although I frequently watch Delaney and Paris videos through the interwebs (At night. Alone. In bed.), I've never seen them live. I kinda assume that people are familiar with them, but for this little bloggity-do, I'll pretend you aren't. DP, as they sometimes call themselves, are a pair of wimmins (b-b-b-b-boobies!) who play acoustic songs about some randy topics--masturbation, swallowing cum, their vajayjays. I hope to see a lot of guys hiding inappropriate erections.

Autry is nothing short of pure bitchen, and I'm pretty stoked she'll be playing here twice in the month of April (on this bill and again on 4/26 as part of the "Slabtown Throwdown" with comedian/author Bucky Sinister, a variety of local poets, and Juicy Karkass). She's one of those singer/songwriters that knows how to run a gamut of emotions with her music, from the self-effacing to the sublime. I've only had the chance to see her at house shows, so I'm also pretty stoked that I'll finally be able to see her with a full-blown sound system to back her up.

Before and between bands, we'll also be bringing back Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestling. For those of you who missed the first GRMW on our opening night because you were home watching the latest episode of Ghost Whisperer or Wife Swap, GRMW is giant monsters battling among cardboard cityscapes with comedians Xander Deveau and Trevor Thorpe calling the play-by-play. Destruction, mayhem, and yuks. And, Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestling II: Electric Bugaloo should be bigger, better, stronger, faster, and more funner than the first one. Well, if nothing else, it'll be more organized. Opening bouts happen early in the evening, with the battle royale being held before BJE and the CMN take the stage.

As always, we'll be running "sound check specials" from 8 until the time GRMW. I haven't made up my mind whether our so-called "signature drink" for the night will be the "Children MacNuggit" or the "DP."

Bobby Joe Ebola "Ghost Riders in the Hood" video
Bobby Joe Ebola "Sandwiches and Ammunition" video
Bobby Joe Ebola "Sweet Shit of Christ" video
DP "TMI/I'd Swallow It (for You)" video
Autry "BUG" video

What You Missed, 3/30: Twist and Play Scooterists and DJ Zia McCabe

Gotta say a huge thanks to Skyler and the Twist and Play Scooterists for coming in last night and taking over Slabtown. 100+ guys and gals on scooters, at least one old school Puch moped, a couple guys from as far away as Kentucky, and Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols. The two things I love most about the Scooterists: 1) Finally, someone made full use of the kissing booth, and 2) They brought a gen-u-ine cavalry sword for their induction ceremony (and gave me an excuse to break out my katana).

Yep, while you were at home watching reruns of Twilight, the Scooterists were giving each other hickeys for a dollar and tapping each other on the shoulders with 30" inches of American steel. 

And, Zia brought out some pretty bitchen records last night. At one point, I think I scared her a little as I came charging at her from behind the bar. "ARE YOU PLAYING WANDA JACKSON!?! Oh, my GOD!!! I la-la-la-LOOOOVE Wanda Jackson!!!" (An aside--I wanted to tell you that she was gonna be there playing records, no cover, but the party was for the Scooterists, and all you would have done was take up space on the dance floor and make the lines to the bathroom longer. Sorry. Sometimes what we do is secret; see also, What You Missed, 3/24, which I haven't written about yet. (An aside inside an aside--I did have to tell my roommate Gaston about it, though. He moved here eight or nine years ago specifically because he was in love with Zia, and... Nevermind, you probably wouldn't understand anyway.))

Anywho, look for her band Brush Prairie to play Slabtown sometime soonish...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So, while you were home watching reruns of That 70s Show, we were at Slabtown experiencing bitchen first-hand. And, you really did miss out on this one. It looked like it would be just another low-dough four-band show, but it ended up being one of the most memorable shows we've had.

When I was first putting this show together and contacted Ben from DEAD CULT about playing, he told me that his new band BLANK STATIONS were looking for a place to play their first show, too, and I had to jump on it. First off, I love watching a band's first show. There's something about the weird nervous energy, something about waiting to see just how things will come together or fall apart that really gets me going. We want yr band to play their first show here. But, also, I'm a huge fan of DEAD CULT and what Ben brings to that band, so I really wanted to see what another project of his would be like.

The only disappointment was that BLANK STATIONS didn't seem to have any of that first show anxiety or tension that I love. They played like they'd been playing with each other for years. Otherwise, it was everything I'd hoped for. A little less moody than DEAD CULT, a little more WARSAW and a little less JOY DIVISION as far as musical influences, but still firmly in the vein of early UK post-punk. I've got them booked again for a show with SYSTEMATIK on 4/13, but that's another story...

Before this show, I had only seen DEAD CULT at Laughing Horse, and I was really looking forward to hearing them through a full sound system. Again, not disappointed. The musical dynamics really came through--Tawni's somewhat crooned vocals, the play between the bass and guitar. I just wish I was familiar enough with all their songs so I could sing along with more than their cover of MOB's "Witch Hunt." (Side note--When I was planning this show, I was drawn to the idea of having the members of DEAD CULT set up in different places around the room, surrounding the audience. Chris the Sound Guy nixed the idea, though. Maybe next time...)

SAD HORSE are a two-piece drum-and-guitar outfit that veers between straight-up rocking and almost arhythmic song deconstruction. Those who know me know that this is another sub-genre of our little music scene that I'm really into. With the male-female dual vocals and stripped-down instrumentation, the first comparison that comes to mind for me is the Bay Area's STREET EATERS. Also to love: they still release their stuff on cassette.

So, up until this point in the show, things have seemed relatively normal. There's about 50 people there, but I'm getting restless because nothing's going wrong.

But then SOCIAL GRACES finish setting up and unroll a huge paper screen to block off the audience's (and my) view of the stage. Behind the screen, SOCIAL GRACES have started playing "Schlabtown Baby" to the tune of FLIPPER's "Sex Bomb Baby."

A little back story. Erin from SOCIAL GRACES and I have been friends since the tail end of the 80s. There was a point in the whole Slabtown deal where I might have been taking over the space but would have been unable to purchase or use the name Slabtown, so I had been talking to Erin about other possible names for the club. One night, Beastie from SOCIAL GRACES called me drunk from their practice and said they had a name for me. Schlabtown. (Side note--Our "signature drink" for the night was the Social Grace: vodka, lime juice, and a spritz of Triple Sec. "It's What They Drink at Practice.")

Anyway, people are telling me I'm supposed to crash through the paper screen, but I'm a little too thick to understand that I'm supposed to come running through from the stage side like a football player pre-game. So, instead, I do a head-first flip through the screen from the audience side, not really knowing what I'm diving into. Paper breaks, and they release a couple dozen balloons. As I stand up and turn around to look into the crowd, everyone is wearing Schlabtown t-shirts that the band has had made. While I was busy getting ready to yell at the neighbors about parking, Erin, et al. had passed the shirts out without me even noticing. Lydia starts throwing Schlabtown stickers and Schlabtown buttons into the crowd (pink and with an old picture of me on them that makes me look like Moe from the Three Stooges).

And an awesome set from SOCIAL GRACES. Beastie dedicated each song to Schlabtown, and throughout the show the vibrations from her bass kept popping the balloons floating near the ceiling. I love a basement show, but SOCIAL GRACES are another band that need to be seen in a venue to really catch everything. Lydia's guitar riffs just seem to get lost in a basement. That and the vocals. (By the way, will someone tell these ladies that they need to record something? I'm sick of walking around with "Fight Song" stuck in my head and not being able to get any release by actually listening to it.)

When they're done, 3/4 of DEFECT DEFECT take the stage and have me do "Nervous Breakdown" with them, and the show ends with Felecia giving me a pie in the face.

DEAD CULT on youtube
SAD HORSE's website
Nervous Breakdown and the pie in the face

The aftermath:

Event Horizon: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones returns to HBO this Sunday at 9, and I've been waiting for this since the moment Season 1 ended. We'll be watching it in the back game room at Slabtown, and I'll do some kind of food specials or something so we can all have snacks. Last year, before I owned my own bar, a bunch of us would meet up at my place every week and watch. So, come hang out with us. Only rule: no spoilers for people who haven't read the books yet. And, I call dibs on a couch seat.

We'll continue to show Game of Thrones every Sunday, even on nights when we have bands playing in the front room. I know, that's kind of weird considering I'd always choose real-life over TV, but I'm not here to judge. On those nights when we do have shows, we'll also replay the episode after the bands are done.

The World Outside: GoofPunx Weekend 2012

Is it totally bad business for me to promo events going on outside of Slabtown? I dunno, but if I could have hosted the GoofPunx Weekend at Slabtown and been able to keep it all-ages I would've done it faster than you could pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel. Besides, you all are big girls and boys and can make up yr own minds about what bands you wanna go see.

So, here's there schedule:

@ Laughing Horse
12 NE 10th Ave
7:00 – 7:30 Intergalactic Smugglers
7:30 – 8:00 Absent Minds
8:00 – 8:30 Company
8:30 – 9:00 Hunger Moon
9:00 – 9:30 Potsie
9:30 – 10:00 Big Eyes
10:00 – 11:30 Riot Cop

@ Jurassic Park
5516 N Mississippi Ave
5:00 – 5:30 – The Fuzzlers
5:30 – 6:00 – Teague Cullen
6:00 – 6:30 – Zebu
6:30 – 7:00 – Walter Mitty and his makeshift orchestra

@ Backspace
115 NW 5th Ave
8:30 – 9:00 Tyson Ballew / The Last Pinecone
9:00 – 9:30 Destroy Nate Allen
9:30 – 10:00 Angries
10:00 – 10:30 Divers
10:30 – 11:00 Nun Chuksky
11:00 – 11:30 TacocaT
11:30 – MIDNIGHT Ramshackle Glory

@ Kokomo
4508 NE 16th Ave
Atomic Butter Babes
Boner Frenzy
Sword of a Bad Spella

Punk Rock Spelling Bee
@ Mississippi Pizza
3552 N Mississippi Ave
Dad Party

@ Red and Black
400 SE 12th Ave
5:00 – 5:30 Jason Tilton
5:30 – 6:00 Tim Blood and The Gut-panthers
6:00 – 6:30 Fucking Dyke Bitches
6:30 – 7:00 Lee Corey Oswald

March/ Parade
from Red and Black to Backspace
w/Love Bomb Go-Go

@ Backspace
115 NW 5th Ave
8:30 – 9:00 Grandma Kelsey
9:00 – 9:30 Party Bomb
9:30 – 10:00 Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children Macnuggits
10:00 – 10:30 Tiny Knives
10:30 – 11:00 Kind Of Like Spitting
11:00 – 11:30 The Wild
11:30 – MIDNIGHT The Taxpayers

UHF movie showing
@ The Variant

@ Irving Park
2PM – 5PM

@ Laughing Horse
12 NE 10th Ave
7:00 – 7:30 Living Rheum
7:30 – 8:00 Arms Aloft
8:00 – 8:30 Fools Rush
8:30 – 9:00 Manhattan Murder Mystery
9:00 – 9:30 Shark Pact
9:30– 10:00 Mustaphamond
10:00 – 10:30 Andrew Link and the Maverick Shitboys

Here at Slabtown, we'll be hosting an unofficial after party of sorts on Sunday night with Autry, Delaney and Paris, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits, and Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestling II: Electric Bugaloo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Last night, you stayed home and watched the new episode of Law and Order SVU instead of coming to Slabtown to see the punk rock. Sorry for yr loss...

Nick Bellicose put this show together, but I asked him to add HAPPY NOOSE, who were on their way back to Olympia from the Treefort Music Festival in Boise. So, we get five bands for five bucks on a Monday night, four hardcore bands and the poppish HAPPY NOOSE.

PEROXIDE are a pretty no frills HC band, and there were already a good 50-75 people there when they opened the show. Good hooks and good energy, and I sport wood every time a singer leaves the stage and gets into the crowd. Not typically a big fan of vox effects, but I also really dug the amount of reverb on the vocals. Thunderous.

BI-MARKS were second up and effin' brought it last night. Their singer Evan is one of my favorite PDX front men. I've already mentioned that singers in the crowd do it for me, but Evan has that added crazy-eye thing going, too. He's alternately pushing himself into the crowd and dropping into a fetal position at the foot of the stage, and I have the idea that this isn't a schtick--it's something that happens to him when BI-MARKS plays. I unfortunately had to pretend to be an adult and start watching the crowd because things were starting to get rowdy, and while I was standing there, some guy in a flannel named Jeremy ran head-long into my liver and then rode me piggyback around the pit. I'm not much more effective as security as I am at bartending. If you haven't seen BI-MARKS yet, go do it.

By the time RAT FACE starts their set, there are maybe 125 people there, getting restless because the band is having some technical issues with the guitar amp. Once they get going, the place doesn't exactly erupt, but a lot of pent up energy seems to come out all at once. Wall of sound hardcore, the bass making my fillings vibrate. Effin' love that. They're heading to Eureka next. Get ready Humboldt...

I'll assume that since RIPPER have been around for years you are all familiar with their metallfuckinfire brand of HC. I had to actually work during most of their set, but what I caught didn't disappoint. I love a band that can meld the HC energy and attitude with the metal, and I totally lose for having had to spend my time as a club owner instead of a member of the crowd.

After a night of HC, the crowd didn't really know what to make of HAPPY NOOSE and the pop-punk. Live, they come across as a lot more Ramonesy than their full-length would lead a guy to believe. Again, I had to spend a good part of their set working but loved what I was able to catch. We'll be bringing them back sometime in May when I can put them on a more fitting bill.

I gotta say, though, that there's some serious irony in the cool reception HAPPY NOOSE got from the crowd last night. For those of you who don't know, HAPPY NOOSE's drummer is John Dahlin, the original singer for the seminal Seattle crossover band THE ACCUSED. From 1982 to 1984 or so, John was blazing the trail that bands like RIPPER are still following thirty years later.

Sorry, no pics from last night. But check out the bands that played online, and catch them the next time they play.

BI-MARKS on MySpace
BI-MARKS on KBOO/Life During Wartime
RAT FACE video on youtube
RIPPER on MySpace
RIPPER in the PDX Merc
HAPPY NOOSE on bandcamp

I Don't Like Martini Glasses.

It's the night before we open, and me and Benny and Dietz and Dave are sitting around looking at a wall full of unopened bottles. Mike's flipping me shit about how I still need to go out and buy more bar glasses before we open, and he says something about how we only have two martini glasses and I lose it.

"Know what? I fucking hate a martini glass! They're fucking bullshit! You can't stack 'em and they're fucking weak!" I take one of the two remaining martini glasses and throw it across the room. It misses Dietz's face by a couple inches. "You know what? I'm getting rid of them. Someone asks for a martini? You give it to 'em. You serve it up in a bucket, and you tell 'em, 'Here's your drink. You're gonna get it in a bucket and you're gonna like it. We hate martini glasses here. This is fucking Slabtown. We don't do that shit here.'" And we take the last of the glasses and serve it up to Dietz baseball style so he can hit it with a chair.

It's literally two minutes after opening on our first day when someone orders a lemon drop. Jodi and Damon are working behind the bar, and just look at me. I go off.

"Lemon drop? I fucking love a lemon drop! But you know what? We don't have any martini glasses here. You know why? Because I hate a fucking martini glass! I took 'em and smashed 'em. Threw 'em across the room and almost hit my bartender in the face. This is fucking Slabtown. We don't do that shit here. You'll get your lemon drop in a bucket, and you'll like it."

She's looking at me like I'm one part idiot and one part psycho, but her boyfriend thinks this is this best thing he's ever heard.

"That's awesome. It's a fucking bucketini! I'm yelping that shit right now!" He's got his phone out, but he never yelped it. I checked.

A couple days later, Godfather Mike catches me eyeing the wine glasses the same way I used to look at the martini glasses. He manages to convince me--for the moment--that the wine glasses are useful and necessary, but I don't know. In my heart of hearts, I don't like them.

32 days and counting...

So, we've been open a month, and this place is already starting to take on a life and personality of its own. We've had capacity crowds already for some shows, and every day it seems like someone new is coming in the door and becoming a regular.

Have to express some gratitude to all the bands, DJs, and other performers who've played Slabtown since we opened last month. This is what you missed while you were watching television: Defect Defect, The Chemicals, The Bloodtypes, DJ Marcel, The Giant Ruinous Monster Wrestlers, Autodidactics, Sorta Ultra, Divers, Needful Longings, Electro-Kraken, Steelhymen, DJ Roxy Epoxy, Blank Stations, Dead Cult, Sad Horse, Social Graces, DJ Mattie Valentine, Polaroids, Suicide Notes, Wormbag, Pale Horse, Flight 19, Confessions, Ghost Office, Small Arms, The Tyson Twins Dancers, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, New York Night Train Conductor DJ Jonathan Toubin, Cecelia und die Sauerkrauts, Shut Your Animal Mouth, Witch Mountain, Burning Leather, Danava, Peroxide, Bi-Marks, Rat Face (Pittsburgh), Ripper, and Happy Noose (Oly). Four of those bands played their first shows at Slabtown (Autodidactics, Blank Stations, Wormbag, and Pale Horse), and we want yr band to be next on that list. Call me.

Wanna also stop and say thanks to some people who've helped me hit the ground running/stumbling: previous owners Brinda Coleman and Sam Soule; Godfather Mike and his power washer; my staff (Dietz, Benny, Damon, Medium Dave, Jodi, Big Dave, Chris the Door Guy, Chris the Sound Guy, Kevin the Sound Guy, and our newest bartenders Jeannine, Lucas, and Jamie); the Knuckleheads volunteer bar repair squad; Jay Elwell; Snooki; Mo Davis and his Flying Fifteens; Social Graces (Schlabtown!); Colin Sanders, Jessi Lixx, Schneck Tourniquet, and Nick from Bellicose Minds for helping with booking; Jed Aaker at Barfly and Kenric at dBMonkey; the people who've come out to the shows and made Slabtown a place that people want to come back to.

Not really sure what to make of how successful Slabtown has been in its first 30 days; it feels like it's all happening despite me. Thanks, kids.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hash House Harriers

Last night it was the Hashers, who showed up after they'd gone on a four-mile run in the snow. I knew the Hashers were self-proclaimed "runners with a drinking problem," but I didn't know they were all sexxxy and shit until they got here.

It was a smallish rush, maybe forty people, but it got Jodi moving. She's doing stretches and calisthenics behind the bar. I'm outside smoking, and when I come back in there's a gal in the kissing booth with a couple guys begging on her for some. I start flipping her a little shit about how she has to give me a dime out of every dollar if she's gonna charge for it, and I kind of overhear one of the guys say something about her nipples as I'm walking away. Get to the bar and turn around just in time to see a different gal pulling down her shirt as she walks out from behind the kissing booth. Yeah, not to be upstaged, she'd flashed the guys on her way out of the bathroom, and their reactions are one step shy of rubbing away at their peckers in public.

The rush winds down. Jodi's still going double-time on the dishes and clean up as if there's still three-dozen people there, like maybe she can't really stop once she gets moving. I'm having a sammich and listening in on the last of the Hashers as they wind down. A guy and a gal, arguing--no not really arguing, but having a very detailed and involved discussion--over the size of a mutual friend's tits. They get side-tracked into this whole discussion of how the guy is definitely not queer because the gal has never, ever heard him talk about another guy's ass or cock or anything and another about how the gal is definitely not a lez-bean, even though there are a lot of lez-beans in Portland. They probably wouldn't know a gen-u-ine lez-bean if she were standing four feet away and had been serving them drinks all night, but...never mind. They return to some serious brow-furrowed contemplation of their friend's tit size, and then...BAM! The gal pulls up her shirt. Her tits are ginormous, almost as big as the eyes of the three guys she's with. I'm done.

"Hey!" I yell at her. "Cage those things! This is effing Slabtown! We don't do that shit here!"

Seriously, I could give a rat's ass less if she shows people her tits in my bar, but I effing love saying that.

And, truthfully, I loved having the Hashers in last night. If you're into drinking and running (and if yr alter-ego is a hare named something like Skinny Bitch, Barely ManBelow, or Cockjaw), track these folks down. They were all having an effin' blast last night. People buying pitchers and not knowing how many glasses they want because they're sharing with everyone. No attitudes, no jerks, just some guys and gals going on a little four-mile run in the snow and then hanging out for some hot toddy's and beers.