So you’re one of those holdouts ignoring the credo that “Goth is dead.” Or maybe you’re like one of the other Portland anomalies—the total throw-back. Or maybe you just got a thing for dead dudes.
Fortunes are with you, batty ones, because Portland Goth hasn’t gone entirely to the grave. In fact, some in the scene might call it prime: it’s fluid and hard to track, leaving little room for the True Believers to do their bloodletting and bone-casting and BDSMing in peace, without as much interruption from the Cali tech-bro hordes making up the PDX nouveau riche.
As a confessed former-goth of midwestern Cincinnati, I can’t say I’ve caught all PDX has to offer on the following mini-resource list (alas, I’ve retired both the fishnet and the fangs), but these little treats are sure to get you started. I’m not going to include addresses in this case, because if you can’t do a little digging in the dirt, you probably shouldn’t be partying with the black mass.
Just remember, if you’re trying to gauge whether you’re dealing with the real-deal goth or a Friday-night poseur, always look at the shoes.
Lovecraft: This is it, the citadelle gothique. Southeast Portland’s horror-themed bar runs everything from glam and deathrock, to industrial and darkwave, and all things in between. The Lovecraft regularly features live shows in their smokey-dark little venue, and on weeknights they have offered an array of events (goth karaoke and Tom Waits night, anybody?). Their menu is amusingly vegetarian/vegan, and their Unhappy Hour is … to die for.
Church of Hive: Downtowners, with the fall of the Fez, this is your only hope. Church of Hive is an active concert venue of dark-themed bands and acts. Hosted by Star Theater, Hive has long been a mainstay of Portland Goth, offering a change of pace for those that want a step away from Lovecraft’s tight quarters.
Brickbat Mansion/Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven: I really wish I had more to say about this little haunt. I’ve spoken (nearly interned, even) for the Steep and Thorny’s directors, and my understanding was that it was a dark-themed art event on First Fridays. Brickbat Mansion, also tied to First Friday, would appear to be a goth/shoegaze-themed event venue. It is highly likely that your erstwhile editor-in-chief will be in attendance this August, escaping that oppressive Oregonian sunshine (rare though it is).
Movies in the Dark: Okay, so this maybe isn’t entirely music-relevant, but really, the fact that Hollywood Theatre hosts a night dedicated to dark film is pretty sick. The Vanguard has been thus far unable to verify that the Projekt Records-hosted event occurs with any regularity, but there is a showing of The Dead Zone on July 29, so check that out.