The first stop of my 2013 US trip was the lovely city of Portland, Oregon where I stayed with my good mate Ryan and his lovely partner Tricia. The first night was a mellow one as I had just flown 20+ hours so we just went to Ryan’s local pub and managed to sink more beer than I expected while playing pinball. The next night was the Portland leg of the Decibel Magazine Tour 2013 which featured the rather kick arse lineup of Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Immolation and Cretin. Finally I get to see Immolation live!!!

Earlier in the day we’d had lunch at a pub called White Owl Social Club owned by Matt Jacobson (Relapse Records head honcho) who I briefly met and forgot to thank for unleashing Transcendence Into The Peripheral onto the world. The bar was cool and I had a fascinating chat with a bloke about how to beat urine tests for drugs (lots of water and also some kind of Monster energy drink that makes your piss the right colour) and smuggling hash in military tanks. I was on a mission this year to try lots of dark beers from US brewers so I had a Elysian Dragonstooth Stout that was pretty scrumptious. Matt also owns several pizza shops called Sizzle Pie where we ate several times [/namedrop].


The gig was at the Wonder Ballroom which was a pretty big hall with an upstairs bar and I quickly managed to piss off the security lass who didn’t like my slip-past-the-queue-waving-my-stamped-wrist entry tactics so after a talking to I was a good boy for the rest of the night to avoid getting kicked out. There was a local band who opened but I can’t remember their name and was boozing in the bar anyway. Sorry lads.

Cretin sounded great and worked through their Freakery album material and a few new songs including one I think was called Itch that was killer. New guitarist Liz from Dreaming Dead fit in perfectly and they were all spot on. The crowd seemed to enjoy it too and a mosh was started which was fairly friendly until an aggressive mosher with the strange combination of patches (an anti-Nazi one, a Cramps one and a horribly bootlegged Cradle of Filth one that looked totally out of place) started the usual I-just-like-smashing-people-and-looking-like-a-dickhead moves. Cretin even had a killer bass solo in the 2nd last song. Great show.


Up next were Immolation who I was super keen for and were my main reason for attending this gig as I had never seen them. While waiting for them to start, a strange older guy with a quality skullet was staring intently at my Captain Cleanoff shirt but thankfully he didn’t try to talk to me. I knew they were only playing 7 songs and that those were mostly new ones but they still put on a hell of a show! The sound was awful at first with drums being about the only thing that could be heard but it was quickly fixed which was great as I could finally hear Vigna’s amazing solos. He was a sight to behold on stage with much arm waving and flamboyant stage moves and it was great to finally see the master at work and really enjoying himself. The only old song they played was the song Dawn Of Possession which was cool but I was hanging for mid era songs from Unholy Cult or Close To A World Below. Although now that I check other setlists they played on this tour some include Father, You’re Not A Father and Close To A World Below! Bugger! That said their new songs were great live and really show their sense of rhythm and dynamics. The crowd loved it too with aggro Cradle mosher in full force as well as the inevitable I’ll-just-go-the-wrong-way-in-a-circle-mosh knobend. Immolation really did kick my arse and I managed to do my usual “come to Australia” fanboy routine with Ross when buying a shirt off him as I’d kill to see a headlining set from them.


By now I was somewhat buzzed from scoffing Ninkasi Spring Reign beers and decided to try a Bridgeport IPA which was a poor choice (curse you America and your obsession with IPAs!). It was only 9pm and three bands had played which seemed odd but it was an all ages gig and Cannibal Corpse did play for quite a while. A mate told me the opening song by Napalm Death was a classic so I quickly sculled my beer and made my way back down to the floor. From where I stood I watched the mosh guys limbering up (not a bad idea for Napalm) but then they started headbanging to Sad But True which was playing over the PA and I typed “fucking kids” into my notes in disgust. The whippersnappers were probably enjoying listening to what they consider “old” Metallica! [/oldmanrant]. Anyway Napalm did start with a classic – Multinational Corporations!! – so I was a happy chappy. After a few new songs they busted out Pride Assassin which blew me away as I certainly didn’t expect it so much headbanging ensued and continued with From Enslavement Into Obliteration. I was tempted to gloat via text message to Mark about Pride Assassin as he likes that song but I was nice and I didn’t gloat text anybody back at home this trip. Everytime I’ve seen Napalm they have played Suffer The Children (usually at twice the original speed) and I’m usually just waiting for that killer last riff but tonight I must have been the perfect level of drunk as the whole song was the highlight for me. I have a note stating “Someone should tell Barney and Mitch that they can’t sing” which was due to new song Leper Colony which just dragged and was reminiscent of the woefully forgettable Inside The Torn Apart/Words From The Exit Wound era. I kept thinking they could have squeezed 2 classics in there instead. For half the set I had been waiting with baited breath for them to play one of my favourite ND songs If The Truth Be Known as I’d seen a setlist from an earlier date which had it listed, however someone in the crowd yelled for it and Barney said something like “not tonight son” and I was crushed. I am now even more crushed as I’ve checked and they did play it at other shows on this tour. Oh well I did end up seeing Czech grinders Ingrowing cover it twice over the next week. I was happy with the sound tonight as last time I saw them (MDF 2012) it sounded horrible but I still reckon they need a 2nd guitarist to fill the sound out more. They ended with the usual classics Scum, Life, Deceiver, The Kill and Dead with Nazi Punks Fuck Off closing the set. Goddamn Deceiver is such a great song!! Excellent bloody set! By this time I was getting quite tipsy and was a bit worried when I only recognised Dethroned Emperor being played over the PA from one of his grunts instead of the music. At this stage I was seriously eyeing off a Napalm Death “Life” shirt when they had for sale even though I already own a different coloured bootleg.


The beers had gone straight through me so I scooted off to the dunny where I did Australia proud by unleashing a horrible death fart that had locals commenting how sick it sounded (yes I am aware this is too much information but the looks on their faces was priceless). The Ninkasi had run out by then so a Sierra Nevada pale got a run which was quite adequate. I watched the first few songs of Cannibal Corpse from up in the bar and it sounded pretty average from up there so I moved down to the floor area. I hadn’t seen Cannibal since their 1993 tour of Australia when Chris Barnes was singing for them so I had only ever seen Corpsegrinder on video and at first his grunting did little for me but he was certainly enthusiatic and had some quality stage banter so I warmed to him eventually. It was also really great watching Alex play bass with no pick. I’ve never been a huge fan and Gallery of Suicide is the last album of theirs that I own so half the set was unknown to me but they really did put on a great show and some of the newer songs impressed me with slower song Scourge Of Iron being the highlight. I was quite surprised they didn’t drag out Meak Hook Sodomy but I was happy when I Cum Blood was played as it was an old favourite on our radio show. The last 2 songs were of course Hammer Smashed Face and Stripped, Raped and Strangled and they went down a treat, although all though Hammer I kept thinking of this Disney version which actually made it even more fun. Ryan and I screamed along to the Stripped verses in drunken glee and then it was all over. The Napalm shirt was still calling to me but I ended up buying a different one. The worst backprint of the night goes to young hipster dude with Pagan Storm Over Vinland shirt with sideways hip trucker cap which just beat the an Aborted shirt that I think I’ve ranted about before.


Afterwards we loitered around outside waiting for a cab when I loudly announced to my mate that I bought an Immolation shirt “with the usual godawful huge backprint” only to be told Immo axeman Bob Vigna was standing quite close. He didn’t seem to notice thankfully. We finally got a taxi and made our way back to Ryan’s along with one of his friends who could barely walk as he had hyper extended his knee in the mosh. Down to the basement we went where several of the fancy beers I bought that day were consumed before I realised I should get some sleep before flying to New York at 7.30am the next day. I got 2 hours sleep and somehow made it through airport security where everyone was too busy complimenting me on my Sizzle Pie shirt to notice I was still drunk. The flight was OK until I sobered up and then spent a few hours nodding off and waking immediately which must have looked comical to the poor bugger next to me.


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