We built this city on Rock’n’Roll

As Portlanders are fond of telling one another, our city has one of the finest, most critically acclaimed, underground music scenes in the country. Whether you just moved here from California or are a junior in your seventh year of college, odds are you could use a break from all that studying. The following is but a brief smattering of the places you can go in this city to hear firsthand what inspires such hyperbolic devotion to local music.

As Portlanders are fond of telling one another, our city has one of the finest, most critically acclaimed, underground music scenes in the country. Whether you just moved here from California or are a junior in your seventh year of college, odds are you could use a break from all that studying. The following is but a brief smattering of the places you can go in this city to hear firsthand what inspires such hyperbolic devotion to local music.

Aladdin Theater3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. With its origins in the vaudeville days of the late 1920s, the Aladdin Theater has a long-standing reputation as Portland’s premiere acoustic venue. Nationally touring folk, bluegrass and world musicians often head to this intimate concert hall, as well as the occasional classic rock cover band. The nearby Hot Cake House is also a great place to eat at one in the morning after a concert.Upcoming shows: Calexico, Sept. 27; Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project, Oct. 2; Yeasayer, Oct. 25

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall1037 S.W. BroadwayHome to the Oregon Symphony and a litany of other performing arts groups, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is where to go if your tastes lean more towards Mozart than Modest Mouse. Rock and pop groups who prefer lush orchestral backing (Sigur Ros) or the elegant architectural design (ZZ Top) sometimes stop by. The hall also hosts speakers on a broad range of topics, from scientific lectures to standup comedy. Upcoming shows: Sigur Ros, Oct. 6; Kings of Leon, Oct. 21; David Sedaris, Oct. 31

The Barn: 13342 N.W. Newberry Rd.Buried in Forest Park, somewhere between the Sauvie Island and St. Johns Bridges, resides The Barn, which is, well, a barn that once in a great while provides fans the opportunity to see great local bands in a pristine wilderness setting complete with llamas. Wander the trails around the property (bring a glow stick/flashlight) and listen to music permeate the stillness. The coming winter means there probably won’t be any shows for a while, but check around the Internet, as something is bound to happen before fall is over.Upcoming shows: Check back when the weather thaws.

Berbati’s Pan213 S.W. Ankeny St.Berbati’s Pan is a cozy downtown venue that features excellent Greek cuisine in addition to rising stars of the independent music circuit. Dance parties, live DJ sets and tapings of the Famous Mysterious Actor Show make their way into the schedule on occasion, and ever rotating local art adorns the walls. Be sure to check out the front bar, which was imported from Europe and is rumored to be over 150 years old.Upcoming shows: Shiny Toy Guns, Sept. 25; Yelle, Oct. 29; Famous Mysterious Actor, Oct. 31

The Coop3535 N. Lombard St. While Portland lays claim to a fairly large number of house venues, none define the best aspects of the house show more than the Coop in North Portland. The Coop boasts a large backyard with a fire pit, coffee and tea for sale, and a small but functional dance floor/living room. The owners also maintain a loosely enforced two-dollar entry fee to cover costs, but air hockey is always free.Upcoming shows: The Chemicals, Sept. 20; Hey, Tiger, Sept. 27; Sound Judgment Festival, Oct. 10

The Crystal Ballroom1332 W. Burnside St. Since it’s restoration just over 10 years ago, the Crystal Ballroom has quickly re-attained its status as one of Portland’s premiere venues for nationally touring acts and fortunate local artists alike. It’s famous “floating dance floor” is one of a kind in the nation and adds a noticeable bounce to the steps of concertgoers. Lola’s Room on the second floor features occasional DJ sets and ’80s video night for the 21-and-over crowd.Upcoming shows: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Sept. 22; Ghostland Observator, Oct. 18; The Hold Steady, Nov. 22

Dante’s Inferno1 S.W. Third Ave.Events with names like Sinferno Cabaret, The White Trash Beauty Pageant and Karaoke from Hell could only take place at Dante’s Inferno, downtown’s loudest bar and venue. Although Dante’s also hosts the weekly Xotica Go Go dance parties, the club is more known for attracting metal and hardcore bands from the garages of Portland, and around the world as well. Come for the stiff drinks and impending hearing problems.Upcoming shows: Yellowman, Sept. 23; The Head Cat, Oct. 8; Mickey Avalon, Nov. 1

Doug Fir Lounge: 830 E. Burnside St.Mention the Doug Fir Lounge to the wrong person and you may quickly find yourself covered in spittle while said person huffs and puffs about “hipster fucks” and overpriced drinks. While those may both be present at the Fir, also in attendance is a fairly decent roster of nationally touring and local independent musicians, running the gamut from experimental to power pop to backpacker hip-hop. Upcoming shows: Starfucker, Sept. 18; Mission of Burma, Sept. 29; The Shaky Hands, Oct. 16

Exit Only1121 N. Loring St. In an industrial district beneath the Fremont Bridge resides Exit Only, a locally-oriented venue/art space/warehouse. Though the space is large and gets cold in the winter, the diversity of mediums presented here (music, fashion, performance art, visual art) makes it a worthy place to investigate, provided you don’t get lost in the otherwise desolate neighborhood.Upcoming shows: Tiny Vipers, Sept. 20; Ghosties, Sept. 27; Saudade, Sept. 28

Hawthorne Theater3862 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.Located inside a former Masonic Lodge, the Hawthorne Theater has given local punks a place to perform after the unfortunate transformation of the Paris Theater from rock venue to strip club. Boasting two stages, the ballroom features surprisingly good acoustics while the adjacent bar stage offers a more intimate viewing experience. Though it is largely a punk venue, on some nights you can catch electronica, underground hip-hop and folk music at the bar stage.Upcoming shows: Cut Copy, Oct. 7; Iced Earth, Oct. 22; Diplo, Nov.1

Holocene1001 S.E. Morrison St. If pumping beats and elastic synths are more to your liking, head over to the Holocene, which caters almost exclusively to dance and electronic music aficionados. DJ sets, queer dance parties and live music all make roughly equal monthly occurrences at this nondescript eastside locale.Upcoming shows: Miss Kittin, Sept.18; Narwal vs. Narwal, Oct. 2; Boy Eats Drum Machine, Oct. 16

The Know2026 N.E. Alberta St. Situated in the Alberta Arts District, The Know is an excellent showcase for undiscovered local talent and a fun place to hang out on Last Thursday. While the quality of the acts varies with the night, this is a good place to catch your favorite house party band, but in a smoky, more bar-like atmosphere.Upcoming shows: Rapids, Sept/ 20; Dartgun, Oct. 11; The Rainy States, Nov. 14

The Modern AgeSmith Memorial Student Union BasementEvery other Friday, Food For Thought Café, in the basement of Smith, becomes the Modern Age, an all-ages venue dedicated to bringing the best of the local music scene right to our front door. Tickets are on a sliding scale of $3-5;Upcoming shows: TBA

The Roseland Theater8 N.W. Sixth Ave.The first thing to greet concert goers attending the Roseland Theater is typically a large, angry-looking security guard who shouts at the crowd before they enter, stating that all in attendance will be searched and have their gum and markers stolen. I’ve always found this, paired with the fairly poor acoustics of the venue, to be a bit of a buzz kill. The artists who perform at the Roseland tend to be the bigger talents of a variety of louder genres. Metal, indie rock, electronica, hip-hop, punk and more can be seen on any given night, occasionally within the same two-hour period.Upcoming shows: Talib Kwali, Oct. 3; Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Oct. 25; The Faint, Nov. 9

Satyricon125 N.W. Sixth Ave.The floors of the Satyricon have absorbed a lot of history (as well as, I’m sure, copious amounts of sweat, beer and blood) throughout the club’s on-and-off-again existence. Now the venue that was once frequented by grunge dinosaurs like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden plays host to mostly local punk and metal bands, though national and international touring acts have been known to thrash there on occasion.Upcoming shows: Dead Man’s Hand, Sept. 23; Dayglo Abortions, Oct. 17; Before Their Eyes, Nov. 1

The Wonder Ballroom 128 N.E. Russell St.Though it may presently lack the prestige of other more popular downtown venues, The Wonder Ballroom in NE is one of Portland’s finest concert halls in terms of sound quality, visual appeal and the consistent quality of the acts it presents. While the height of the stage makes it difficult to see exactly what’s going on from the back of the room, arrive a little early for a chance to see up-and-coming national indie and electronic acts in a semi-intimate setting reminiscent of an old town hall.Upcoming shows: Silver Jews, Sept. 30; Deerhoof, Oct. 6; Bassnectar, Nov. 14