It’s safe to say that anyone interested in Portland music has by now heard that the notorious punk/all-ages club Satyricon is closing its doors again.
The end of a rock era
It’s safe to say that anyone interested in Portland music has by now heard that the notorious punk/all-ages club Satyricon is closing its doors again. The club, which first opened in 1984, was shut down back in 2003 and later reopened by new management.
This time though, there will be no return—triumphant or dismal—for Satyricon. The space was purchased by The MacDonald Center and will be closing to make way for outreach housing, shutting down the club for good.
Call it what you may—a travesty upon Portland’s rich musical history or a relief that the decrepit performance space will finally be gone—this is still a big change for the local musical community with a lot of ups and downs to it.
On the one hand, it would be easy to immortalize the myth and legend that goes along with the Satyricon of days past. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, when the club first opened, this was the place to be. Talk to any local band from that period and most of them will say that they played their first shows at Satyricon (the old Paris Theater took over that role in the 2000s, only to become an X-rated theater. Now, it’s the Hawthorne Theater that is well on its way to keeping its title as the worst place to play a show in Portland).
Back before hipsters, before the Pearl District, before electro-pop and sleepy folk took over this city, Satyricon was a true rock club. Who can forget the rumor that Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain met there? Or the distinctly rock ‘n’ roll feel that the dingy club had and continues to have? Forget about polished sound and tidy bathrooms—Satyricon was keeping it real with boatloads of graffiti, urine-soaked floors and the occasional bloody tampon strewn into the corner.
The last few years of music at Satyricon may not have been some of the best, but that will never change the importance this club had in a city that takes its music so seriously.
To celebrate (or mourn) the closing, Satyricon is hosting 13 farewell shows. The first one was this past Sunday and the last one will be on Halloween. Ben Munat, who was in charge of booking the club from 1993–99, returned to set up the farewell series and has done a bang-up job of closing the club out in style. Here are four shows in the lineup that shouldn’t be missed:
? Boo Frog, Ghostrance, Slutty Hearts
Imagine the Violent Femmes taken down a notch and mixed with a little Southern rock. That’s Boo Frog. A little psychedelic and very catchy, the female/male duo on vocals and their lack of bass makes gives this band a raw sort of charm that is perfect for a dingy, dirty night spent hiding in the dark corners of downtown Portland.
Wed, Oct. 6
$5, all ages
? The Dandy Warhols (with original drummer Eric Hedford, playing songs from first two albums), Swoon 23, Sugarboom
Sometimes it seems like the Dandy Warhols are everyone’s favorite local band to hate. Maybe it’s because they made it big (well, in Europe). Maybe it’s because of the rumors that Courtney Taylor-Taylor is kind of a huge jerk (apparently he’s mellowed out a lot in the last couple of years, though). Who knows and, frankly, who cares? What you should care about is the fact that the band will be playing a show with original drummer Eric Hedford and the set will be from their first two albums—Dandys Rule, OK? and …The Dandy Warhols Come Down—arguably two of their best. The catch? Their show is 31+. Suck it millennial generation!
Sat. Oct 16
? Quasi, Pond, M99
All you need to know about this night is that Quasi is playing. The same Quasi that opened for Pavement. The same Quasi with legendary badass and former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss. They may have put out their first album back in 1993, but last year’s release of American Gong made it very clear that they’ve still got it and aren’t planning on losing it anytime soon.
Sat, Oct. 23
? Pierced Arrows, Napalm Beach, The Obituaries, Eastside Speed Machine (w/ David Corboy joining in for Jackals songs), Don’t, Iron Lords
Remember Dead Moon? No? That’s too bad, because they were a pretty epic local underground band with a career spanning two decades. Whether they were your style or not, they (like Satyricon) had a very special place in the heart of Portland. Well, two of the members from Dead Moon started a little band called Pierced Arrows that got all kinds of good press last year. They aren’t really a replacement for the raw, edginess that was Dead Moon, but some of that energy and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude is still there.
Sat, Oct. 30