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.