RIP Satyricon

November 4th, 2010

I wish I could say I was regular at Satyricon, it would make me sound much cooler than I really am. But the truth is by 1989 when I moved to Portland my punk rock days were mostly behind me. I had trashed my ears years earlier at places like the Triangle Theater in Rochester, CBGB in NYC, Continental Club in Austin and the Hot Klub in Dallas, as well as numerous other such venues.
But I did see a few shows at Satyricon in the early 90’s, no one of note and none I truly remember with the exception of Austin country/folk/roots songwriter Darden Smith, who was so completely out of his element at Satyricon that the baffled crowd of club regulars found themselves entranced by his evocative accoustic storytelling.
Even so I was saddened to learn the club was closing for good. Another piece of authenticity lost in a Portland that is fast selling it’s soul to hipster artifice. The place was legendary in the Northwest music scene hosting anyone who was anyone at one time or another. According to legend Kurt met Courtney there, Foo Fighters played their first show there. It was a classic punk dive, all black with tattered chairs, cheap beer and lots of attitude. A real shithole, with the emphasis on real. It was all about the music, not much else mattered.
Willamette Week just published a good piece with some video clips, (I like the Jackals clip) you can read here.
The following pictures were from a 1994 travel assignment for the New York Times. Crash Worship was the head liner that night but I bailed out of there before all that craziness got started after getting into a scuffle with one their drummers. I think the band on stage as I was shooting was called Plastic Horn Devils, or something.