It was a Tuesday evening in Portland, Oregon and I was on my way to watch WEDNESDAY 13 and a few opening bands that I enjoy. I wasn’t expecting a large crowd, but I knew the night was going to be fun regardless. I almost didn’t go, I was exhausted from a long week of work at the clinic, but the lineup was one I didn’t want to miss! I knew I would be regretful if I didn’t.
I arrived at the venue to watch WHEN VANITY KILLS and U.S. WAGE SLAVES. The former is a local Portland act, as were all the openers on the bill. This was my first time watching them, and I became a fan quickly. Heidi is the frontwoman, and she captivates the audience with sounds that remind me of EVANESCENCE or PARAMORE, but a little heavier and more fun. I look forward to seeing them again in the future.
Next up was U.S. WAGE SLAVES, a punk band that I was curious where they fit on the bill. This was another one I had not seen live. I stood against the wall listening and watching the room’s reaction, now filled with maybe 80 people. After a song or two, the room started to liven back up, moving and working on a bangover.
The group was fun to watch, with catchy beats, but really hit it off with the crowd during their cover of RANCID’S “Maxwell Murders.” No one stood around after this. They were a great fit with the energy level that they brought, and a few of the songs had a heavier feel to them than most songs I associate with punk.
From here on were bands I was familiar with, and excited to see starting with DEAD ANIMAL ASSEMBLY PLANT, an industrial metal act that caught my eye, and ears, the first time I saw them. The band is dressed in the standard costume and make up that you would expect, but their music is fun, and makes you want to move, and front man Zach will make sure that you are feeling the beat and energy in the room.
The size of the crowd quickly grew once they took stage, and the energy rose with their single “Rise With Me”, everyone moving and singing along. Their musical influences are NIN, MARILYN MANSON, and KMFDM to name a few, and you can hear it though they make their music their own. This is a band to keep on your radar.
My friends in TOXIC ZOMBIE were up next, a band that I can best describe as horror metal punk. Hints of THE MISFITS poke through, with a dash of ROB ZOMBIE and MINISTRY. This band will “Eat Your Brains” with their sound and lyrics. The crowd this night is mostly familiar with TOXIC ZOMBIE, and is ready to move and sing along to the tunes, and they did just that.
There were a couple younger kids in the crowd that at first looked curious, but quickly joined in singing and dancing. Who can resist dancing, while a guy in a Freddy Krueger costume is on stage dancing too! The bangover at this point was in full swing. The venue is now full, barely any room to move around, except for the designated walk areas, but the staff is still asking people to move from the walkways.
WEDNESDAY 13 was to play a 90-minute set, and the crowd was ready to enjoy every minute of it. His latest album Condolences (out now, Nuclear blast Records) was released days after the Portland show, and I recommend that people pick up. I had an early listen and quickly fell in love, so I bought it on release date! Back to the show though. The band has a very goth-rock sound. Some parts of the music reminds me of a few of his past projects, and I pick up hints of ALICE COOPER and SEX PISTOLS riffs, but he blends it into his own music.
I was front and center taking photos, but found I was enjoying the set more than working. The crowd was moving and singing. Arms were thrown around stranger’s shoulders, while everyone sang.
This is my favorite part of a rock or metal show, the camaraderie with strangers. The band tore up the stage with some old favorites, and a few songs from the new record. It was one of the better shows I had seen the band play, even though it lacked my favorite part of WEDNESDAY 13’S gigs – his stories…He has one rule: when he’s talking you don’t talk. The stories are captivating and humorous. Regardless, the band brought it to Portland, and we all felt it. Thank you to the crowd for showing all the bands so much love and support on a Tuesday evening, and thank you to the bands for bringing the energy and displaying your passion for music in the Portland scene!
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ERICA VINCENT PHOTOS