All the things I said about Friday night’s Eolian Empire Compilation celebration show are true for Saturday night as well. If you need a refresher you can find it here. Saturday night brings a little bit heavier feel, with more sludge and metal bands in the mix. Here’s a look at Saturday night’s lineup.
Rabbits are the reason for the season, as they say, as the band has played an instrumental (pun intended) part in the resurrection of Eolian Empire and its commitment to a DIY ethos and the distribution of quality underground music to the fine people of Portland and beyond. People in Portland should know what to expect from Rabbits by now, a raucous set which will inspire headbanging, booze-drinking, and some moderate jumping around. Fans are also advised to be on the lookout for Rabbits to play two covers off a recent flexi-head release, Minor Threat‘s “Straight Edge” and Black Flag‘s “Wasted.” You don’t need to be drunk to have a good time, but hopefully by the time Rabbits start to play most people will be out of their minds.
Playing right before Rabbits will be Honduran, another band with connections to Eolian Empire, as guitarist/vocalist Jason Dinges was involved in the first incarnation of the label, and his band Honduran opens up the Keep Our Heads compilation with some awesome post-grind. Honduran is probably one of the heaviest acts of both nights, with guttural growls and piercing shrieks over insane stop-start blast beats being the norm. Attending fans should get ready for a sweaty, beer-soaked fracas.
Towers is a sludgy, stoney band that has been swimming around in the murk of Portland since 2011, and with high profile shows like this, hopefully more fans will pay some attention. They’ve played with many of the bands featured throughout the weekend and on the Keep Our Heads compilation, including Gaytheist, Deisto, Hot Victory, and Rabbits. Needless to say, in two nights filled with sludge-rock their sound will compliment the other artists, but their little tweaks and translations will help them stand out.
While fans might be flocking to these shows to see bands who are getting a decent amount of press, like Rabbits, Gaytheist, and Diesto, connoisseurs know that the middle of Saturday night offers a rare glimpse at one of Portland’s best and most underrated bands: Palo Verde. A frantic two piece that refuses to be put into any boxes, a Palo Verde set can go from straightforward sludge to thrash to drone and back again in the blink of an eye. They strive to create an improvisational vibe, giving the entire affair an unhinged quality that feed their energy perfectly. Seriously, true Portland underground music fans shouldn’t pass this set up.
Second on the night is Sioux, one of the more straightforward metal bands to grace the stage. Their song “Ascension” opens up the B side of Keep Our Heads with solid and driving rhythms comparable to a heavier Diesto or a slowed down Red Fang. Anyone who is petulant enough to be disappointed about the lack of a higher profile Portland metal band like Lord Dying can take solace in Sioux’s set, as they will melt some faces and crush some hearts.