Tag Archives: Roseland

LIVE: Napalm Death, Melvins, Melt-Banana – Roseland

Melvins // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Melvins // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani.

How many bands have been born of the Melvins’ northwestern sonic toil? Likewise, how many groups have formed as a direct result of Napalm Death’s genre-founding 1987 album Scum? The lineage of these two bands is among the strongest in all of heavy music; nary an influential group in the spectrum of alternative rock to extreme metal –from Nirvana to Tool to Boris to Carcass to Sunn 0))) to Soilent Green—doesn’t owe a debt to them. And though the two collectives share a history of rotating members, the integrity of their output has remained distinct for over three decades.

2016, then, is shaping up to be another fruitful year for both bands: Napalm are touring on the back of their 2015 release, Apex Predator – Easy Meat—lauded as one of the group’s best in their sixteen album-strong discography. Melvins are putting out not one, but two records: a collaborative album titled Three Men and a Baby—recorded with godheadSilo bassist Mike Kunka in 1999 and finally seeing the light of day last month—and Basses Loaded, a full-length featuring all of the group’s current roster of bass players (as well as a guest spot by Krist Novoselic.) In addition to offering new songs, the album compiles an EP and a split release with Le Butcherretes that the band put out last year (Beer Hippy and Chaos as Usual, respectively,) as well as another EP from January of this year, called War Pussy. Teaming up with Japanese noiseniks Melt-Banana, the trio embarked on the appropriately titled ‘Savage Imperial Death March’ tour in late March—stopping by Portland’s Roseland Theater on Tuesday.

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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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LIVE REVIEW: The Walkmen w/ Father John Misty

Journalism is the best when you get to spend three hours watching incredible bands play. One of the best examples of this is last night’s exquisite performances by adult-type-rock-band The Walkmen, supported by the incredible folk pop stylings of Father John Misty. This lineup was a match made in indie rock heaven, and it would have been a crime to sit it out.

Luckily, I didn’t do that. Up first was Father John Misty, fronted by J. Tillman, easily one of the most charismatic musicians I’ve seen in a good while, outside of the usual roster of seasoned veterans. He swayed his hips and danced around with the best, wailing almost every single cut from last year’s fantastic record Fear Fun, plus one brand new song, “Because I’m gettin’ pretty tired of singing the same 10 songs every night, over and over.” Throughout the show, he introduced the band, saying, “We’re Eve 6… it’s really good to be back!”, screamed about the lack of vegan donuts in Portland (spoiler for non-locals: it’s kind of our thing), and playfully bemoaned the fact that everyone was there to see The Walkmen (this isn’t true at all). During a raucous performance of “Well, You Can Do It Without Me,” Tillman dropped to his knees, screaming at his band, “I’M FINE! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME! I CAN GET BACK UP ON MY OWN! I DON’T NEED YOUR FUCKING HELP!” before getting up and finishing the song. It was magical. The band blazed through the songs at a breakneck pace, and to be honest, I would have been happier with an extra half-hour (at least), on top of their 45-minutes on stage. Highlight: the freakout set closer “Forever Hollywood Cemetery Sings,” where the band roared on while Tillman swung his mic stand around, wrapping the cord around his neck. I was sure he was going to hit something with the thing, but he never did.

Father John Misty would be a really tough act to follow, but The Walkmen are a great band to do that job. It is spiritually perfect that the first time I saw The Walkmen, it was in support of The National, easily the only band which they can be compared to. They are on the very short list of adult bands making music for mature adults, which is an incredible premium these days. It speaks volumes about a band with enough incredible material that a song like “The Rat,” an easy lock for a set closer, was actually the third song performed. Throughout their hour-and-change, Hamilton Leithauser crooned his heart out, occasionally stalking around the stage. He picked up his guitar for around half the set, adding some incredible layers to Lisbon standout (and possibly my personal favorite Walkmen track) “Blue As Your Blood,” a song which I, personally, could not resist drumming my hands on a house monitor to. My knowledge of the band is paltry at best, but it didn’t affect how magical it is to see this band play live. Leithauser is a frontman for every thirtysomething that got to that age and realized that they couldn’t relate to their former heroes, because he is a hero to everyone who relates all too much to the band’s lyrics. And, considering the rapturous love expressed by that room, it feels like they’re finally getting the love they need, 10 years into their career.

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