After last week’s show which highlighted my parents’ introduction to live music, I started thinking about my own introduction to live music and the bands and venues that effected me as an emerging music fanatic. So this week’s show is another slightly documentary style affair. It starts with the first proper gig I ever went to on 31st May 1990. That was Fugazi and my first local gig was just a few days later and was Portland Funk Metal stalwarts Sweaty Nipples. I quickly developed a taste for local live music and started going to an all ages social/art/gig space called the X-Ray Café. There I was introduced to Completely Grocery, Sugar Boom, M99 and Tao Jones among many others. This was a time when cassette tapes ruled the landscape so unfortunately following the great cassette tape purge of 1998, I couldn’t play any of the other X-Ray regulars on tonight’s show (Big Daddy Meat Straw, Last Pariahs, etc.)
1991 brought the northwest grunge era with Sprinkler and Pond both doing their best to break out of what was then considered a fairly rural backwater. For me it was off to University in Eugene where I discovered that college kids love a bit of a reggae vibe – Jolly Mon, Jock Metal – Floater and even a bit of Jazz Metal – Buckhorn. Meanwhile things were really starting to kick off back in Portland with bands like Hazel and Heatmiser garnering national attention. By the time I moved back I was finally old enough to go to gigs in Satyricon and EJ’s and found that big guitars had taken over the landscape in the shape of bands like Gern Blanston and Thirty Ought Six and again many many others Finally, no show on 90’s era Portland could be complete without a bit of Hitting Birth.
This show is only the tip of the iceberg regarding what kind of local music was alive and kicking in Oregon in the 90’s. The small scene of the early part of the decade exploded in the second half of it and laid the groundwork for the music mecca Portland has become. I have included as much info on the bands and venues as I could in the links this week, but if anyone has any questions, wants more information or wants to give me more information, please feel free to contact me. It is a subject I have all the time in the world for.
Tune this one in, rock out, tell people you knew Portland before it was cool.