Sundays in Portland are usually slow, no one feels like doing much. This Sunday was no different. Rock Hard PDX is normally closed on these days, but opened their doors for this tour. The line up included a local, and two bands from California that I am no stranger to. I knew the night would be a fun one.
CAST DOWN opened the Life is Beautiful Tour. The tour was 9ELECTRIC’S first headliner, and had a couple of co-headliners throughout the tour. QUOR, CITY OF THE WEAK, RIGHTEOUS VENDETTA, and DEATH VALLEY HIGH joined for select dates, and all these groups deserve a listen! CAST DOWN was the local for the Portland date, and they are an enjoyable band to listen to. I didn’t get to see much of their set this time around sadly, since I was catching up with everyone in the green room with the strange carpet. For those that have been to Rock Hard PDX, you know the carpet of which I speak.
DEATH VALLEY HIGH was up next. The band is from San Francisco, and has been gaining a dedicated following since I first saw them three years ago, completing several US and European tours. Their catchy songs will stick with you for days on end, but the horror lyrics in songs such as “Warm Bodies”, “Ick Switch”, and “The Present”, give the music a dark and fun edge. Although the crowd was a small one this night, these guys still played a great show.
The band’s interaction with the audience is what captivates me each time I see them. The crowd is always moving by the end of the set. The set closes out with frontman Reyka getting the crowd involved, chanting and screaming “DEATH VALLEY HIGH!!”, making sure no one forgets their name, and no one should! This is one of my favorite bands to watch live because of the interaction, the catchy music, and a flying bass at the end of the set that’s aimed at the drum set. This is a band to keep on your radar for sure.
9ELECTRIC took the stage next, and everyone moved from parts of the venue to the front of the stage. This is a band that is making a name for themselves pretty damh quickly, constantly touring and playing festivals. I discovered DEATH VALLEY HIGH and them the same night actually, in Portland three years ago while they toured with ORGY. I haven’t missed seeing either band since. 9ELECTRIC is pure ear candy, hitting the whole spectrum of rock, and with the energy of the band, one can’t help but to dance and sing along to songs like “Feel This”, “Beautiful”, and “The Damaged Ones.”
Frontman Thunderwood makes sure the audience is moving and enjoying themselves! You can tell this band loves playing shows, and feeds off the energy of the crowd. They are known for using lasers and a lot of stage smoke; as a photographer this is fun, but can kill many photos, but the prospect of a good set far outweighs getting a good shot. The smoke this night was soooo thick, it set the smoke alarm off! Oh, and at the end of the set Thunderwood always finds something to climb and sing from.
In Spokane last year, it was a tall tower stack which he jumped a good 12f feet down from. In Vegas he climbed a pillar a good 20-30 feet up; my heart was on edge for that one. Tonight he found a pole in the venue, and although he couldn’t climb too high on it, he still climbed to sing from it, and ended the set by hanging upside down from the pole, in the middle of the crowd.
The Life is Beautiful Tour is completed, but I know chances are that there is another one brewing. Both bands released albums within this last year that I highly recommend picking up, and of course keep your eyes open for more runs from both DEATH VALLEY HIGH and 9ELECTRIC. The crowd interaction and catchy tunes are captivating more and more people each tour.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ERICA VINCENT PHOTOS