DON’T PANIC—the future is bright for the Know. News had broken over the summer that the Northeast Portland punk venue would be closing its doors in November, priced out after a 300 percent rent increase. Hearts broke across town, and many began wistfully reminiscing about the unpretentious dive bar’s days of yore.
Luckily, the eulogies were premature. Late last month a photo of the Know’s owner Ryan Stowe being ceremoniously handed the keys to a new address surfaced on Facebook. Stowe later confirmed to the Mercury that they’ll indeed be moving to 3728 NE Sandy, the former location of the Blackbird, another legendary Portland venue that shuttered in 2003 (“The Know Has Found a New Home: The Old Blackbird,” Blogtown, Oct 21). More recently, the address was home to nightspots Tony Starlight’s and Mazza’s.
Stowe says the transition will be “bittersweet” after nearly 12 years on Alberta, but the new Know will debut with some key improvements. There’ll be no need to keep the current location’s 11 pm curfew, since the spot on Sandy has no residential neighbors. Capacity at the Alberta location is capped at less than 100 attendees per show, but with the larger space they’ll be able to raise that to about 150. They’ll also be opening earlier in the day and developing a more extensive menu, thanks to the new space’s fully equipped kitchen setup. Some of the most important stuff’s not changing, though—they’re bringing over the same staff, including booker (and Divers’ frontman) Harrison Rapp.
Before the Know’s second incarnation can bust open its doors, Stowe says they’ll need to put on a new roof, which will be a weather-permitting endeavor. He hopes to open the Sandy location in late January or early February, but says he “wouldn’t be surprised if that got pushed back.” Once it does open, it’ll be the same punchy, beer-soaked venue we know and love. Until then, here are some of the best shows during the Alberta location’s final month of existence before its last official concert on November 27.
All shows at the Know, 2026 NE Alberta.
FRI NOV 4
NOCTURNAL HABITS, SECRET DRUM BAND, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER
Nocturnal Habits features members of Olympia post-hardcore band Unwound, and Friday’s show celebrates the release of Nocturnal Habits’ brand-new record, New Skin for Old Children. The bill also features Dragging an Ox Through Water, Brian Mumford’s warped-folk project, and Secret Drum Band, the noise and percussion ensemble including Lisa Schonberg and Heather Treadway of Explode into Colors, Sara Lund of Unwound, Allan Wilson of !!!, Anthony Brisson of Psychomagic, Alison Clarys, and Sam Humans. If you want to see some of the most prolific names in local music, don’t miss tonight’s show.
SUN NOV 13
MÁSCARAS, CAMPO-FORMIO, PRETTIEST EYES, BITCH’N
Papi Fimbres, Theo Craig, and Carlos Segovia are longtime veterans of the Know’s abnormally low stage, and their band Máscaras’ last show at its Alberta spot promises to be wild. The trio’s eight-track 2015 debut, Máscara vs. Máscara, is one nebulous glob of psychedelic sounds—guitar riffs bite and bleed together for an effect that’s intoxicating and danceable. Bitch’n opens the bill with freeform, ambling punk that redefines what the genre should sound like.
MON NOV 14
THE THERMALS, LITHICS, THE WOOLEN MEN
Last month the Thermals’ Hutch Harris announced that he could no longer tour extensively—he cited the emotional and physical toll of sitting in a van for hours every day after years of touring, and his small bladder’s frequent demands on the road. Luckily the indie band hasn’t stopped playing hometown shows, and tonight they’re headlining a bill that’s brimming with local talent. Lithics’ Borrowed Floors is probably one of the best Portland releases of 2016; its 10 experimental punk tracks are dominated by sharp turns that sound like the group’s being chased through a maze. The Woolen Men play unfussy guitar rock that’s too claustrophobic for basements but too cynical for the outside world, with lines like “I don’t belong here in this place/I don’t belong here with you/They tell me there’s a reason why we all have to die/But I don’t know if it’s true.”
SAT NOV 19
DIRTY FENCES, DANAVA, MEAN JEANS, ANDY PLACE AND THE COOLHEADS
You just need to see Mean Jeans at the original Know one last time. They are 2016’s natural evolution from the pouty punk of the Ramones, with slacker flair that makes “Are There Beers in Heaven” sound like the most emotional song of the year (it’s from the band’s April release, Tight New Dimension—the whole thing is bizarre and great).
TUES NOV 22
DIVERS, BLOWOUT, OLD CITY
Since releasing a 7-inch in 2012, Divers have carved out a permanent spot in the already swollen hearts of Portland music fans. Last year the band yielded a long-awaited full-length debut, Hello Hello—10 explosive punk songs that revealed surprising nuance on tracks like standout “Lacuna.” They’re joined by rising pop-punk stars Blowout, whose August debut No Beer, No Dad is viciously tragic but endlessly cathartic—particularly the scream-sung gang vocals of the phrase “Maybe I’ll get a job someday/Maybe I’ll find the words to say” on “Cents Cents Money Money.”
WED NOV 23
FRED AND TOODY COLE, MICHAEL HURLEY
It’s pretty tough to beat a lineup that features Portland’s most iconic couple, Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon, who’ve been playing grimy garage punk together for decades. Michael Hurley’s sweetly strange, fantastical outsider folk continues to magnetically attract a following decades after his Greenwich Village heyday in the ’60s and ’70s—songs like “Little Green Fellow” sound just as fresh as they probably did when Armchair Boogie was released in 1971, but also like their watermark, they could be centuries old. These days Hurley’s an almost mythological fixture of the Oregon Coast, but he ventures inland to play shows around Portland multiple times per month. Bringing together the Coles and Hurley is a recipe for one sacred night of music.