By Jordan Yu
On March 18th a few dozen Portlanders gathered at the Black Water Bar on Broadway for a benefit concert unlike most. At the all-ages event, patrons wearing patched denim, gauges, and black jeans could be seen supporting local artists at the Out From the Shadows III benefit concert. Curated by XRAY’s own Dave Cantrell, for just five dollars attendees were treated to local post-punk bands, both old and new. The proceeds from the night would go towards the OFTS III Festival from April 6 to 9.
The first group, Atomic Candles, rocked the small stage from 8:30 to 9pm. A Portland-based Goth pop duo, guitarist/singer Matt Bullock and synth/bassist Ryan Watson played while lasers lit up the fog surrounding them. Despite Bullock breaking a string, the group started the night in style, even playing a song “just for fun” in remembrance of Chuck Berry who had passed away earlier that day.
The next duo, the anarcho/postpunk project Fleshh, darkened the mood from 9:30 to 10:00pm. Under dim red glow vocalist Tim Iserman wailed as drummer Mark Onyx kept pace. This was the second fundraiser for Dave Cantrell that Iserman had done and had nothing but praise for the station’s efforts to bring post-punk out from the shadows. “I think XRAY is one of the best things to happen to radio in our town,” he said. Fleshh dedicated their whole set to Chuck Berry.
Lastly, from 10:30 to 11pm the headlining quartet Murderbait carried the dark energy on into the night. Responding to the mess of cables and instruments on the crowded stage, front man Casey Logan moved his keyboard onto the dance floor. I spoke with Logan about the Black Water, he loved that the venue was all ages. “I love them, I love the scene,” he said. The show runner Dave Cantrell concurred: “They really believe and operate under the true punk ethos.”
Cantrell would know something about the punk ethos. He started the radio show Songs from Under the Floorboard at station KZME, before 107.1 FM was transferred to KXRY. Originally planning to play post-punk/darkwave hits from back in the 70’s, Cantrell had no idea how far-reaching the genre had become. In his words: “I was just doing a little radio show.” Cantrell quickly discovered vibrant post-punk scenes all over the world. From Puerto Rico to Oslo, Malaysia to Mexico, Dave has booked bands to come play alongside locals at festivals like Out From The Shadows. One of the few post-punk festivals on the west coast, OFTS has grown from a nine-band, one-night event, to the three-day festival it is now. See you there!
You can find tickets for the festival at: http://holdmyticket.com/event/278155
Click the image below to hear the latest episode of Songs From Under The Floorboard dedicated to the artists playing at OFTS III.