VENUE NEWS: It's been a season of unprecedented ups and downs for all-ages music in Portland. Less than a month after Slabtown's closure, the venue's owner, Doug Rogers, announced it will officially reopen in December if the GoFundMe campaign established in October can double its previously raised amount of $9,000 by the end of this month. Hallowed PDX record store Green Noise Records even agreed to contribute $10 for every in-store sale and $5 of each online sale made on November 14 to the Slabtown fund.
Music in the Schools: Wampire w/Grace Mitchell, Soccer Moms, New Social Outcasts; Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez
Five years ago, lead singer Rocky Tinder of hometown heroes Wampire described the group as "still being a baby, who is just now learning how to walk." This was just prior to another alt-weekly declaring Wampire one of Portland's "best new bands." That's a surprisingly prescient analogy for a band that hasn't stopped maturing since. The group's earliest performances as a synth-pop duo were characterized by a total lack of inhibition and an unmistakably rave-like bearing, one that was as isolating as it was exciting. In 2013, the group, with solidified "rock band" lineup in tow, released their first official full-length on Polyvinyl Records, Curiosity. It highlighted the group in a critical transition stage, exhibiting the electro predilections and party-vibe post-culture detachment that permeated the group's early efforts, in addition to a newfound punk-rock velocity and a meticulous consideration to songcraft. The band's latest, Bazaar, sees Wampire coming into itself completely, settling on the fast and loud (and loose) aesthetic and generally eschewing the hard, synthy qualities of their early sound, save a couple cuts. To run with their 2009 analogy (which they probably don't even remember making), Wampire is now in its mid-20s; they've shed the insecurity and indecision of their musical adolescence and are capable of virtually anything. The future looks bright. They perform tonight alongside student bands as part of a benefit for the Music in the Schools program to aid music education in Portland Public Schools.
Circa Survive, Title Fight, Tera Melos; Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell
Never mind that the three bands on this sublimely strange package tour have nothing in common, other than they're comparably great. In ascending order of excellence: Circa Survive, whose undeniably mall-core corniness has always been tempered by some seriously amazing hooks; Tera Melos, who have toned down the guitar-hero acrobatics considerably over the last few years, and have gone from being the quintessential modern math-rock band to essentially Smile-era Beach Boys on (slightly more) acid; and East Coast pop-punk saviors Title Fight, whose 2012 record Floral Green is one of the best rock albums of the last five years.