TWO JUNKY, out-of-tune guitars knife-fight over a flourish-free, cavewoman stomp of a drumbeat. Two voices—one punky and snotty, the other a sunglasses-at-night, gutbucket bluesman, a Howlin' Wolf that lived to get pissed in the Reagan years—lead a couple of choruses before letting loose a series of caterwauls. Twenty-four hours before the most hyped second coming in town, Sleep, inspires a group headbang to "Dragonaut," another rabidly anticipated, yet more intimate (read: crammed the fuck into Dante's) reunion will sloppily lead an ecstatic, packed house bopping and screaming along to "Hey Hey, We're the Gories." Though they took the long way to get here—this is their first ever Portland date, after being broken up for the better part of two decades—it's the manner that best suits the Gories. The band has always been a party; they're just too busy doing their own thing to give a fuck who shows up.
Formed in Detroit in 1986, the trio set out to create the most filthy, primitive, original rhythm and blues they could make—embracing, rather than fighting against, their limitations as musicians. Drummer Peg O'Neil had never played drums before, and, by their own account, the combined efforts of guitarists Mick Collins and Danny Kroha really only equaled one guitar player. By the time the Gories dissolved during their '92 European tour, the band was done speaking to each other, but had left behind an exponentially growing cult fanbase, a slew of singles, and three full-lengths, including 1990's Alex Chilton-produced masterpiece, I Know You Fine, But How You Doin'.
It's on these enduring pieces of wax that the Gories went from garage band to legends, from three simple chords to something magical and rare. Somehow reining in their chaotic sound and disparate influences (seriously, who else could pull off covers of songs by John Lee Hooker, Suicide, Spinal Tap?) into sublime and cohesive two-minute opuses of macabre, house-rockin' Chess blues, the Gories pulled it all off with a disaffected cool, and the world might never see another band like them.