Rock-N-Shop celebrates live local music
Portland's live local music scene is roaring back to life after being laid low by pandemic restrictions. Veteran and new bands that had been restricted to rehearsals are finally doing live shows again. But some iconic figures died over the past few years who were never honored.
A special event, Rock-N-Shop, is scheduled to commemorate the losses and celebrate the revival from noon to midnight Saturday, July 9, at the Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave.
Rock-N-Shop will offer arts, crafts, vintage clothing, vinyl records and live performances organized by local rock scene fans to mark what was lost and publicize the future.
The sale part is dedicated to Bruno, the legendary doorman at the former Satyricon rock club in Old Town who died Jan. 3, 2020, just two months before pandemic restrictions shuttered venues, restaurants and other public accommodations. He organized a series of similar events in the 1980s and '90s, mostly at the Pine Street Theater in Southeast Portland.
More than a dozen performers are scheduled. Veterans include Sean Croghan, Lucky Thirteens, and Monica Nelson and the Jack London Trio. Newer ones include The Macks, Club Deluxe, and King Ghidora.
The live performances will help mark the birthday of Chris Newman, the influential underground musician who died May 9, 2021. He fronted numerous bands in Portland and Seattle with an intense mix of blues, punk and psychedelic-influenced guitar leads and vocals. A memorial wooden bench crafted in the shape of his guitar will be dedicated at the event.
Rock-N-Shop is being organized by Jen Reed, a longtime devoted underground music fan who became friends with many of the musicians, club owners and employees, and who documented the final days of Satyricon in 2010 with a series of videotaped interviews. She has organized nearly a dozen similar events over the years, including a memorial for Bruno just months before the start of the pandemic.
"The Rock-N-Shop always had such a special place in my heart. Never in my wildest imagination as a teenager going to those shows, did it occur to me that I would someday be carrying on the tradition. And I'm so truly honored to be doing it," Reed said.
Reed is being assisted by several longtime friends who also are fans and Frank Faillace, whose company owns the Star Theater and Dante's Inferno, a nearby club. Both survived the pandemic although others folded after practically all indoor gatherings were banned.
The Star Theater is across the street from the Roseland Theater and between Dante's Inferno and where Satyricon had been located. It has a long and colorful history. Originally opened as a silent movie house in 1911, it has been a live burlesque theater that featured such famous dancers as Tempest Storm, an adult movie theater that included live strippers, and a rock club that got shut down by the OLCC for serving liquor without a license.
It is the venue at the center of the 1988 Oregon Supreme Court decision that ruled the First Amendment of the Oregon Constitution protects nude dancing. Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant owned it for several years before it was eventually acquired in 2011 by Faillace, who set about restoring it.
Reed is impressed with the resurgence of the live music club scene in recent months. After going to many shows, she does not believe it is receiving enough coverage, however. The Rock-N-Shop schedule includes a mix of older and newer bands who are now performing live, although some shows are only being announced on Facebook or through word of mouth.
"There are shows around town ever night. Many seasoned artists got better during the pandemic, and there are a lot of new ones who are very good. People need to support them. I've been to shows with 10 people that should have had 100 or more," Reed said.
Rock-N-Shop is a 21-and-over event. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. See more on the Rock-N-Shop page on Facebook; a link to the Facebook page with the complete vendor and performance lists can be found here..
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