To date, I have had numerous opportunities to wax poetic about the indie music scene here in Portland, but of course it is a fertile indie breeding ground in another medium as well: comics! The area is home to both Dark Horse Comics, publisher of popular titles such as Hellboy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Oni Press, the company responsible for both the somewhat overrated Scott Pilgrim series and the wildly underrated Blue Monday.
This past weekend, the uniformly drab Portland weather finally let up for a few beautiful 80-degree-plus humidity-free days -- and you better believe I did my best to make the most of it. Friday night offered up the auspicious date of 4/20, and yours truly celebrated accordingly at a house show/chili cook-off featuring four excellent bands, two of whom were at one time based in good ol’ Boston.
Since I last updated HUB CAPPED, I finally got my first taste of Portland’s dance/EDM scene when I caught locals BEN TACTIC (pictured above) and LINCOLN UP opening a Red Bull Music Academy showcase that featured international bass heavyweights XXXY, Nguzunguzu, and Salva. I’m sad to report that, so far, I’m less than impressed with the local offerings.
The past few weeks living in Portland have just flown by in a blur of shows, practices and days spent fighting off a terrible stomach bug and scouring Craigslist for gainful employment. I’ve refused to let that last one affect my ability to hit the town however, as it is my sworn duty to report back to my east coast counterparts on exactly what it is that is drawing so many of us these days, like moths to a flame, to the pacific northwest.
After a month on the west coast, things are really starting to happen for us here in Portland! Since my last update, I married my girlfriend and RUBY RIDGE bandmate Callan, we bought enough new gear to start playing out and recording again, and she landed a job at Concordia University.
The time of the year between late December and early January always brings back various locals who have decamped from Boston to other scenes and locales over the years. This year was no exception.
In the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I ran into friends from the area who are now based in cities all over the world, from my soon-to-be-home of Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, to NYC, Philly, Baltimore, various parts of California -- and even Berlin! When the conversation turns to my impending move, the first question they usually ask is: “Why Portland?”
[Editor's Note: This is the first in a new series that chronicles lifelong Boston musician and writer John Von Bittrich's January relocation to Portland, Oregon, where he'll compare scenes and cultures and show us how the other half lives.]
I was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton on a snowy January day in 1983.