If you live here, you know this truth: Portland is changing.
Most recently, local punk venue and dive bar, The Know, fell victim to Alberta Street’s gentrification. The venue released a social media notice this summer of its pending closure. According to The Know’s owner Ryan Stowe, a rent hike of 150 percent was the nail in the coffin for the 12-year-old club.
As a last salute to the venue’s gritty, foot-stomping punk heyday, The Know has hosted shows almost every night as part of a farewell series dubbed “Know End In Sight.”
On Nov.17, the atmosphere at The Know was mildly somber as a crew set up in the stage room. Ironic photos lined the red walls, including one painting of NWA holding “the man” in a headlock. Pre-show, a few men played the pinball machines in the back just past the bar. When the curtain was pulled, everyone grabbed their drinks and crowded into the back room.
Wave Action is a local surf garage/punk band with Jon Huteson on guitar, Clint O’Brien on drums, and Darin O’Brien on bass and lead vocals. The band jumped directly into an upbeat jam with a stair-stepping guitar melody. Huteson’s face expressed the feeling of each note in his guitar solo. The crowd drank in the energy and bobbed along.
The show highlight was the track “Alteration.” Darin O’Brien’s bass drove the beat, providing a steady bounce. His voice was low and steady, reminiscent of Jim Morrison at times. His blonde hair fell into his face when he jumped along with the bass guitar run.
The crowd sang along with the band’s final and most popular song:
“Lost in translation/We are losing our time/Oh why, why?”
“Lost Translation” continued the band’s theme of upbeat bass backbone topped with catchy guitar riffs. Jon Huteson played an extended solo, and his thorough knowledge of the fret board was unquestionable at this point. Listeners danced and sang along to the catchy tune.
As the band tore down their own set and walked through the masses, the crowd congratulated them:
“Hey. Great show, man.”
“Wow! You guys are really good.”
The Know’s red showroom emptied while most folks grabbed drinks in the interim. The barmen wished Wave Action well as they passed, and the band glanced back toward the grungy entryway of The Know, likely for the last time.