Monday, January 16, 2012

Trauma, Ripper, ? @ The Know; 1.15.12

There is something inherently hardcore about going to a show on a Sun. night. Double points for making it a punk/metal show, plus an additional two for going out in bitter fucking cold.

This whole week there's been a non-stop onslaught of badass, bonegrinding sonic assault at The Know, a slightly hipsterish bar on Alberta, in NE Portland. A lot of black leather jackets, but brandishing a decent jukebox, i didn't catch too many glares from the sunday evening drinkers. My mohawk must make me inconspicuous.

Turns out Raw Nerves had to cancel, which was a shame as my roommate had been talking them up to me for a while, but seeing as how i had no idea who any of these bands were, i wasn't too disappointed, or probably wouldn't have known the difference. Didn't really know what to expect, but was still somehow shocked and pleasantly surprised at an evening of relentless speedpunkmetalthrash, sharp as stilettoes and hyped up on adrenaline, suddenly this sunday evening grew some fangs. Suddenly all was fierce, and terribly alive.

The first band, i assume must be ripper, were a hardcore punk band that screamed in spanish and were tight and punishing as a tijuana druglord. The singer stalked the floor, as the crowd cringed, like a room full of children who hadn't done their homework. I got right up front, accidentally headbutted the singer (he didn't seem to mind). It was sort of like being dipped in a piranha tank. It was over before they had hardly begun, and you were left, nothing but calcium and sinew. Tense, high strung, high energy; bright and keen as a katana, these guys reminded me of why i used to like punk rock so much.

Trauma played next. Stripped down blue-collar punk rock, blasted out at 200 bpm! The crowd still did their best Monet impersonation, but my frail caffeinated body did its best to jerk along to the shuddering blast beats. They reminded me of this band called Coliseum, that i saw down in Texas one time, just like stripped down rock 'n roll, very effective, and very deadly. Like streamlined, focused; and it made me not afraid to play bar chords, or churn out distortion, or playing a flying V. There was a moment, as the band raised and crested like a schooner in a tsunami, as the crowd remained stoic and the band just played louder, faster, the singer on his knees, screaming at the sky. Just giving it, bringing it all, and there was this moment, where the band locked into this chugging groove, like a train full of napalm, and the music just released, like a butterfly from a coccoon, or a poem. Where no one was trying to get famous or fucked or fucking famous, it was strictly and utterly for themselves, and for the people that liked their kind of music. The guitar player watched his hands, and took joy in shredding.

I didn't catch the last band's name, but they were filling in for raw nerves, i guess. They were a three piece, again total blasting rock 'n roll fury, but this time gone feral, eyes shifty and dangerous. A girl in a studded leather vest played a bass that was as big as her, and was lower than the lowest heroing bender. The guitarist shredded, but the real icing on the fucking cake was their drummer, who looked like he could have been 16, but could grind like he was never gonna stop; the tightest, fastest double bass work i've heard to date, all the while just freaking the fuck out on the cymbals. It was amazing to watch, he was like a whirlwind, and together, they were like Swiss clockwork, lining up impeccably, hitting every nuance, every accent. Totally impressive. Their set, and the night in general, was the perfect length, tight and focused, no flab. Left you wanting more, ready to pour out into the streets, ready to hop fences and start fires. Inspiring.

Find out who they are, and then go see them. It will be like a scavenger hunt.

All in all, the night ranged from ecstatic psychedelic brain cleanse, to utter normalcy, making shopping lists in my head, planning my week. And for some reason, i love doing those things while i'm watching some thrash metal band twitch their fucking brains out. Its like having them over for a BBQ. Its like these people are my family, my black clad socially awkward family. And while i occasionally have reservations about how my family perceives me, and why in blue devils they just WILL NOT react in public, it is not my place to judge, and so, stare if you like, i will twitch and thrash hard enough for the all of us. The bands usually seem to appreciate my vigor, and i feel nice and scrubbed out, when i leave.

My ears are ringing and i am finally warm(ish). Punk rock, on a sunday. Well worth the five bucks.

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