It was Loveland—the relocated Meow Meow all-ages haven—and prior to that, it was the first incarnation of the B-Complex. Before that, who knows? But the fabled warehouse space in inner Southeast Portland has been a fertile breeding ground for Portland independent music and art for nearly a decade now. Sharing the space with its downstairs neighbors (Hippodrome and Branx), Rotture has established itself as the most active of any club in the industrial building's history. Housing events as diverse and unique as Portland's music scene itself, the club celebrates its second anniversary with a slew of events ranging from Beyonda's hot-shit dance night "I've Got a Hole in My Soul" (which will feature a special set from the enigmatic Ian Svenonius) on Thursday, to local DJ Joeeirwin's final Portland performance on Friday, and a massive Saturday show that combines both bands and DJs delving into the madness on two separate floors. Rotture's ubiquitous force, booker Conrad Loebl, takes some time to chat about the anniversary and how Daft Punk needs to play Rotture, even if their pyramid won't fit up the stairs.
MERCURY: It's been a hectic nine months since you started booking Rotture. What do you think has changed the most since the start of the club?
LOEBL: I think the big thing that's happened is consistency. More quality national acts are coming to play here, and a lot of up-and-coming talent are starting to come through as well. We've done a lot to work on advertising and making sure people know about the shows. We've also put a lot into the club to give people a more comfortable atmosphere, and we're constantly trying to improve that.
A common complaint about Rotture is that it is difficult to find and easy to confuse with the other show spaces in the venue. Is this something you still hear from people?
A little, but we're still working on that. Thanks to numerous events, people are starting to get to know the place and coming on a more consistent basis. We're kind of at a disadvantage as far as being off a main street, and not much foot traffic. As far as the confusion of the other spaces, it seems like people are starting to be able to separate the venues and are developing specific crowds for the events.
On any given night the space hosts a wide range of events. This is what you pride yourself on, right?
Oh, I definitely do. I myself am musically diverse, and I feel like everyone else in the Rotture family is as well. It's kind of who we are: punk kids who like dance music, metal, indie, and whatever else floats our boat. We definitely do a lot of dance events, but we also have metal shows, indie shows, electronic stuff, and I'm always trying to branch out to other areas.
If money weren't an option, what band or performer do you most want to see on the Rotture stage?
Morrissey! Santogold, Sonic Youth, Negative Approach, Ghostface Killah, Three 6 Mafia, Hüsker Dü, Daft Punk (if we could fit the pyramid up the stairs), Gary Numan, and Bad Brains.
Rotture's two-year anniversary runs Wednesday, September 10 through Saturday, September 13.