VENUE NEWS—Southeast Portland's Red and Black Café—yet another committed all-ages venue (in addition to being a pretty great vegan-centric café)—announced last week that they have officially closed their doors for the time being. The collective is looking to lease out the building with the intention to potentially reopen at a new location (for more information, visit Red and Black's Facebook page).
The Antlers w/Shaprece, Musée Mécanique; Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside
Brooklyn's the Antlers grace the Crystal tonight in continuing support of last year's Familiars, a dallying collection of orchestrated, echo-laden indie rock lullabies (that's a misnomer—they never exactly rock). Tonight's show also serves as the kickoff for KPSU's 30 Shows in 30 Days event, with proceeds from select shows benefiting the hallowed college station's AMP KPSU pledge.
The Estranged w/Catholic Guilt, Bad Future, Vivid Sekt; Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway
The Estranged's self-titled LP was one of the best local punk records released last year. It's a dark album that, like the best dark albums, never renounces its poppier essence and draws from a breadth of influences—lead singer Mark Herman's post-punk-inspired vocals, the slide guitar that unexpectedly adorns the intro to first track "Forever Been Erased," the '77 pure punk velocity—without ever feeling calculated. Tonight's show marks the band's triumphant return from a long tour.
All-Ages Action Presents: Seacats w/Sister Palace, Our First Brains; Parkway North at PSU, 1825 SW Broadway
A funny band that makes serious music is terminally fucked from the start. Everyone is so shallow "in this business" that your sense of humor will almost invariably eclipse your artistic abilities. You will be compared to They Might Be Giants, and critics who don't actually employ critical thinking will offhandedly label your music "fun" or "funny." (The amazing '90s power-pop band Jellyfish exemplify this better than anyone: Their "Ronald McDonald as filtered through The Brady Bunch" aesthetic is the self-destructive equivalent of Michelangelo painting a giant penis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.) In their Bandcamp bio, Kelso's Seacats facetiously identify as "NW Rock 'n' Roll's Funny Guyz Since '09," indicating that they are clearly no strangers to the funny-band curse. And while they are truly, absurdly funny—standout examples include the music video for "Minus World" and an immaculate, 11-minute promotional infomercial for their 2013 self-titled LP—Seacats are, more significantly, terrific at writing pop songs, particularly Maladroit homage "Wrecked" and the near-perfect, anti-masculinity anthem "Firewood," both from Seacats. Maybe one day we can abandon the horrid stereotype that noteworthy art can only be made by dark, humorless assholes, because while Seacats may certainly be NW Rock 'n' Roll's preeminent Funny Guyz, they're obviously so much more.
Defect Defect w/PRF, Violent Party, Tensor; Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway
I started going to punk shows the year Defect Defect formed. That was nine years ago, and since then, a lot of terrific Portland punk bands have come and gone... pretty much all of them, actually. This isn't me bragging or flaunting any sort of "punk seniority" (of which, relatively speaking, I possess none), it's just illustrative of how long Defect Defect have been a fixture of the all-ages scene. You could always rely on them to be great and, more importantly, it seemed like you could always rely on them to be a band. Turns out we were mistaken: Tonight, the group play their last show ever, in what is bound to be an emotional, coming-of-age experience for virtually everyone who's been to a house show within the last decade.
Jeff Rosenstock w/Andrew Jackson Jihad, the Smith Street Band, Chumped; Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell
Jeff Rosenstock's latest solo record, We Cool?, towers above everything he's ever done, and he's done a lot. Carried by the harmony-laden opening track "Get Old Forever" and piano-rock centerpiece "Nausea," it has more in line with the pantheon of great, ironist singer/songwriters like Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, and Loudon Wainwright III than any contemporary pop-punk artist. Which, obviously, is a good thing.