Category Archives: Upcoming Shows

Refused Confirm That They Aren’t Dead, Return To Portland

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By Hollister Dixon

We all have that friend who says they’re going to leave, but then always finds a reason to come back. I’ll freely admit that I’m that friend, a lot of the time. As it turns out, it’s not always a bad thing: sometimes, that friend is someone you didn’t want to leave in the first place, because what they add to the party is just too good to do without.

Refused, one of Sweden’s greatest exports and creators of the still-amazing The Shape of Punk to Come, appear to be that friend. They broke up in 1998 and wrote a letter stating, without hesitation, that “Refused Are Fucking Dead“, and that “we will never play together again and we will never try to glorify or celebrate what was.” Which is why, in 2012, it was an immensely satisfying surprise to learn that the band had reunited, and were going to go on a massive tour (which stopped by the Roseland that year), before breaking up again. So, it came as a surprise to learn that the band were reuniting again, and touring again, and are potentially working on a new album.

I caught the band’s 2012 Roseland performance, so I can tell you that it’s extremely worth your time to make sure you catch this tour. Portland gets an incredibly lucky shot here: they’ll be performing at the Doug Fir Lounge on May 29th with Vancouver, BC’s White Lung. Tickets for that date go on sale on April 3rd, and can be picked up right here.

After the jump, check out the still-amazing video for “New Noise” and their 2012 Hellfest performance (highly recommended), as well as all of the band’s upcoming dates.

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Liturgy To Play Dante’s With Lightning Bolt

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By Hollister Dixon // Photo by Erez Avissar

Brooklyn’s own Liturgy, a band described by frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix as “transcendental black metal”, is a tough band to crack open for a lot of people. On the band’s first two albums, 2009’s Renihilation and 2011’s Aesthethica, the band made a conscious effort to work within the confines of black metal, while subtly trying to make it their own. This can be polarizing, and off-putting for some people, but for others, it’s truly exhilarating.

Three years after Aesthetica – as well as the near-implosion of the band following the departure of drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury, both now back with the band – Liturgy are back with The Ark Work (out now on Thrill Jockey), the band’s most expansive and genre-bending effort yet. To support the record, the band are about to embark on a massive tour of North America and Europe, which includes dates with fellow Brooklynites Sannhet and Baltimore’s Horse Lords, and, for a fantastic string of dates on the west coast, noise rock giants Lightning Bolt. You can catch Liturgy and Lightning Bolt at Dante’s on April 29th, and find tickets right here. Don’t sleep on this one, dear reader.

After the jump, you can listen to “Quetzalcoatl” from The Ark Work, and check out all of Liturgy’s upcoming dates.

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Sufjan Stevens is Coming to Portland!

By Hollister Dixon

One of the most wonderful things about Sufjan Stevens is that you never quite know what to expect from him, both on record and live. He’s someone who has swung wildly from intimate and banjo-intensive, to heavily-orchestrated or even downright epic, all with the same level of passion and dedication. His live shows aren’t any different; I personally have seen him on two occasions: the first of which being a neon-lit blowout at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on the Age of Adz tour, and again at the Aladdin Theater, where he brought the house down with a show almost entirely populated with Christmas songs, with a stage that looked like a thrift store had exploded all over it and the massive Song Wheel he’d brought with him. The latter ended with him climbing a stack of speakers while inflatable unicorns bounced around the crowd.

Stevens’ career has been littered with gigantic gaps in activity, occasionally peppered with odd projects he’s worked on, but the release of an actual, full-on album feels like an event now, considering his forthcoming record, Carrie & Lowell, is only his second studio album in the decade (!) since Illinois came out. And, of course, a new album means that you’ve got a fantastic chance to catch him in a live setting.

This April, Stevens will embark on a lengthy tour of North America in support of Carrie & Lowell, which will include a stop here in Portland, right back at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, on June 8th. Tickets for the show go onsale this Friday, January 30th, and you can read more about the show right over here.

After the jump, you can check out Asthmatic Kitty’s trailer for Carrie & Lowell – which will be out March 31st on Asthmatic Kitty Records, and check out the rest of his tour dates.

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Bob Dylan Announces Tour, Will Play Keller Auditorium October 21st

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By Hollister Dixon

When I sat down to write this post, I tried to imagine a way to talk about Bob Dylan in a way that somehow conveys his importance without sounding sycophantic. But you know what? That idea is preposterous. It’s almost impossible to talk about Dylan from a neutral perspective. So let’s cut it out and be frank here, shall we?

Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, MN, is the world’s greatest living songwriter, and one of the best of all time. There will never be anybody better than Dylan, only people on the same level as him. He wrote “Like a Rolling Stone”, and “The Times They Are a-Changing”, and “Tangled Up in Blue”, and “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, and hundreds more. He made Blood on the Tracks and Highway 61 Revisited. He’s often credited as being the guy who turned The Beatles onto marijuana, and look how that turned out for their music. Do I really need to say anything else to convince you? Probably not. So I’m going to save my breath. And if you’re unconvinced… I don’t know what there is left to do.

So, we’re on the same page now, right? Good. Here’s the thing about Bob Dylan that you probably know: he never stops touring. He’s a dynamo that should be harnessed to power cities, and while a lot of people are on the fence about his abilities as a showman this late in his life, he’s still Bob effing Dylan, and he deserves to do what he wants. And what he wants is to embark on a 31-date tour, simply because he can (he hasn’t released an album since 2012’s Tempest). The last handful of times Mr. Dylan stopped by Portland, he (rightfully) played the Rose Garden, but… that’s a little bit much, don’t you think? Why not something more warm and inviting, like, say, the Keller Auditorium? Well, you’re in a lot of luck, dear friend. Amidst all of the three-night engagements, he’ll be taking October 21st to play an almost certainly magnificent show at our very own Keller Auditorium, with its beautiful architecture and almost unbeatable acoustics. Is that heaven? Absolutely it is.

Keep an eye out right here for more information on buying tickets, and continue below for the rest of his tour dates around the country.

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Slowdive To Play Crystal Ballroom November 5th, With Support by Low

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By Hollister Dixon

When people think of shoegaze, they often think of My Bloody Valentine, and for good reason: they’re possibly the finest example of the genre there is. But, when they aren’t thinking of MBV, they’re likely thinking of the band’s Creation Records labelmates Slowdive. The Reading band were the dreamlike, ambient, almost poppy answer to MBV’s sometimes brutal soundscapes, existing for a very short, very pristine six-year span in the late 80s/early 90s, just long enough to release three records – 1991’s Just For A Day, 1993’s Souvlaki (the band’s masterwork), and 1995’s Pygmalion – before stepping down from the stage one day, never to return. But, in early 2014, that changed. The band had gotten back together, ready to perform to rabid, almost religiously devoted fans all over the place, who have been hanging on every syllable that Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell produced 20 years ago.

Slowdive are currently in the middle of a delightfully long tour across North America and Europe, and this autumn sees the band stopping by the Crystal Ballroom on November 5th, with support by Duluth, MN slowcore giants Low, one of the few bands that manages to capture the same essence that Slowdive did all those years ago. If you’re a fan of rolling sonic landscapes, dreamy vocals, and the feeling of heavy eyelids, this is without a doubt the best way to help you prepare for winter in the Northwest.

You can click right here to head over to the Crystal Ballroom page to read more about the show and buy tickets. You can also continue below to have a look at the rest of the band’s upcoming tour dates.

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Conor Oberst Comes to Crystal Ballroom October 1st

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By Hollister Dixon

Conor Oberst, once (and possibly still?) frontman of seminal Omaha band Bright Eyes/less-seminal-but-still-wonderful Desaparecidos/not-seminal-but-still-very-fun Monsters of Folk, isn’t saying much about the future of his day job (The People’s Key, the band’s fantastic 2011 record, was rumored to be the band’s final album), but he’s keeping himself busy. He’s about to start a nice little month-long jaunt through the heart of America, promoting his newest solo effort, Upside Down Mountain (out now on Nonesuch), and will be dropping by the Crystal Ballroom at the tail end of things, on October 1st, with support by his friend/producer Jonathan Wilson.

This will be Oberst’s first show in Portland since Bright Eyes stopped by the same venue to put on a stellar, hilariously rowdy show in support of the last (and maybe final?) Bright Eyes record, the aforementioned The People’s Key, though to be honest, it’s hard to not envy those attending the last show on the tour, co-headlined by none other than John Prine. Jealousy aside, Oberst is one hell of a performer, and this one shouldn’t be missed.

Click right here to get tickets to this performance and find out more, and click the jump to have a look at Oberst’s upcoming tour dates as well.

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The New Pornographers to Play Crystal Ballroom October 8th

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By Hollister Dixon

In 2007, I set myself down to accomplish some incredibly mundane task. What was that task? I’m not sure. Point is: to keep me company, I decided the best way to spend this time was to put on the internet stream of KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, then and now one of the most untouchable music programs in the world. As I was cleaning my keyboard (or whatever it was that I was doing), I found myself transfixed by the sounds and voice coming from my speakers. I scrambled to figure out who I was listening to, and discovered the track was “Myriad Harbour” from Challengers by Vancouver, BC’s (arguably) most fun musical export, The New Pornographers. To this day, I can’t listen to that track taking immense joy from the wonderful call-and-response Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer) puts on with himself and a multitracked version of himself, and the line “Do you think the girls here ever wonder how they got so pretty?”, and that’s a joy that permeates a lot of the band’s music.

The New Pornographers – made up of talents like Neko Case, AC Newman, and the aforementioned Dan Bejar – have been pretty quiet in recent years, following the release of 2010’s Together. This week sees the release of their new album, Brill Bruisers (out on Matador), an album as light and breezy as its goofy title suggests. And to support the new record, the band has decided to go on a pretty big ol’ North American tour.

On October 8th, New Pornos will be dropping into the Crystal Ballroom for the first time since their tour supporting Together, and they’ll have all three of the big names (Case, Newman, Bejar) with them. But that’s not all: to support them/help get the crowd in the mood for awesome pop songs, New York noise poppers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will be opening for a whole bunch of dates. If you’re looking for a good excuse to get out and dance, this is one of the best opportunities you have this autumn, so check it out!

For more info, click here to head over to the Crystal Ballroom’s page, and hit the jump to check out all of the band’s upcoming dates, as well as the video for Brill Bruisers track “War on the East Coast”.

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Swans To Play Roseland September 6th

By Hollister Dixon

To me, there’s always been something incredibly perfect about the name Swans. The bird is one known for being incredibly elegant, but is also known (though to a lesser degree) for being aggressive to an almost laughable degree, especially when threatened. I’m not quite sure if Michael Gira had this in mind when he formed and named his band Swans, but it’s so fitting because they are a band that manages to do build a brutal, aggressive, in-your-face exterior, and while it may appear to be an inelegant mess, every single note is exactly where it should be, thanks to the talents of Michael Gira, the frontman and sole consistent member.

Swans broke up in 1997, only to roar back to life in 2010 with My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, followed by the monolithic The Seer (2012) and this year’s equally massive To Be Kind. Since then, they’ve done their best to prove themselves (again) as one of the most unwavering, intense live acts around – intense enough to make people in the crowd physically sick at times. The band last played here in Portland in 2012 (at the Hawthorne Theater, as part of MusicFest Northwest), and put on a performance incredible enough to make seeing Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh seem like the wrong decision entirely.

Lucky for us, Swans are a beast that don’t seem capable of slowing down. Since reforming, they’ve started an interesting cycle: go on tour (while also working on new material), release a live album documenting that tour, use that money to fund a new album, repeat. And now, on September 6th, the band will be returning to Portland to blow the roof off of the Roseland Theater. The band’s most recent album, To Be Kind, is as close to perfection as one band can get, which says a lot, considering the same was said for the blistering tower that The Seer was. Can the band top these albums? Can they continue to make flawlessly executed songs? Will Michael Gira ever stop being the world’s most intense showman? See the band live and find out! Click right here to buy tickets to this show, or – if you’re outside of Portland – check out the dates below.

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