Mt. Tabor Theater

4811 SE Hawthorne

Since I moved to Portland in early 1998, I've attended a show at the Mt Tabor theater one time. It was a pretty terrible, badly organized hiphop concert; one of those events that makes you start sweating and staring at your feet from embarrassment. Showcasing hippie and folk music, the occasional hiphop show, and not much else, there hasn't been much reason to head to the Mt. Tabor. It's a shame, however, that the club has been so vastly underused, especially considering it's close proximity to tons of lovable Portland bars like the Space Room, Bar of the Gods, and the Watertrough. That, plus late-night eateries like Big Bertha's (next door to the theater) and Zack's Hotdog Shack (44th & Hawthorne) make for a section of nightlife that rivals downtown; but lacks the requisite rock club.

Ah-ha! I suspect you see my point coming: Thank God, the Mt. Tabor has finally been taken over by someone who rocks. Jason Sabala, former booker for DV8, has taken his 12 years of club booking and managing experience and thrown down the cash to take over the Tabor himself--and he has big plans.

When asked what changes Sabala will be making to the club, he says, "I want to make the club like a museum in a way. When people come in they will be exposed to three things: Art, meaning murals by local artists throughout the building and a hallway gallery. Also, film. We'll be showing independent film premieres, short film showcases--namely our very own Sinister Cinema--music video premieres, and cult classics, all in the 80-seat movie theater that's been collecting burnt incense as the 'acoustic room.' Third, we'll have music, from punk to metal to emo to diverse goth to straight-up rock 'n' roll, featuring national acts as well as a ton of music from the Northwest."

Jason admits that although he's putting some much-needed ingenuity into the expansive venue, "we're not really blazing any trails here. This town has had its share of stellar rock venues from X-Ray Café, EJ's, the short span of Chinese Tea House, and God bless the almighty Satyricon. But, as far as I know, no one has been able to forge a venue that successfully incorporates art, film, and music under one roof without the evil, greedy presence of outside promoters." Hopefully, this will be the Mt. Tabor.

Unlike a lot of clubs who allow promoters to house shows at their venues, Jason is adamantly against doing so at the Tabor. He explains, "The market in Portland has been saturated with promoters, some good, some bad. The reason I don't want 'em in my club is that when a promoter screws a band over, they associate that experience with your club. I've seen, first-hand, promoters ripping off artists, and I refuse to take that chance, especially with the [crappy] reputation the Tabor's gotten over the years. Plus, we know the agencies and the bands, so there's no reason not to keep [booking] in house. I'd love to see the other venues do the same and keep ticket prices down for shows. The promoters have such a foothold here, though, it's not likely; but at least they don't have a leg to stand on in this club."

While Sabala has a few shows booked for this weekend, the Tabor's grand reopening and hippie exorcism will take place the weekend of April 29th-May 2nd. And while you might think Sabala is just being snarky with the whole "exorcism" thing, he's not. He's serious. In order to help purge hippie spirits, Sabala's "enlisted the help of a world renowned author on the subject [of exorcism], Blag Dalia of the Dwarves. Also, due to the extensive [hippie] exposure to the building, it's necessary to bring in the Voodoo Priest, Hippie Hunter, and Harley Davidson, frontman of Deadbolt, who broke into the scene with his capture of Watango the dirty hippie, back in '82." Regardless of the bizarre religious implications, the Grand Opening promises to be a shitload of fun, boasting music legends and Portland rock staples alike. Sabala promises not to sacrifice any goats or chickens--or for that matter, hippies.

Upcoming shows:

Sunday, April 11

Another State of Mind 10th Anniversary w/ The Real McKenzies, The Briefs, Antiworld, and Statch and the Rapes.

Monday April 12

Suicide Machines, Against All Authority, the Code.

Grand Opening Weekend: Thurs, April 29

The Dwarves, Deadbolt, Fang, Oppressed Logic, Tattooed Corpse

Friday, April 30

The Epoxies, the Briefs, Punk Group, the Gays. Saturday, May 1st is High on Fire, JJ Paradise Players, Club, the Bulemics

Sunday May 2

Prong, Dog Fashion Disco, All that Remains, Beyond the Embrace, and River Red.

All proceeds from the big opening weekend go to Franklin High School's art, music, and athletic department.