Hed PE/Powerman 5000
Friday, January 23, 2015
As I come rushing in from work, and after confusion at the ticket stand, I finally make it inside when local band Amerakin Overdose takes the stage. I was glad to make it in time for their set because I haven’t seen them perform for a year. You can tell they’ve been practicing and perfecting their talents. The stage was set up theatrically and everyone seemed in sync. The band line up has changed but the new members seem to fit in well. At first you could tell the crowd didn’t know what to think about them but Amerakin Overdose took over the stage like professionals and won them over quickly.
As soon as the Enygma and some of the bands hardcore fans started the pit for the “Amerakin Me” song, the crowd loosened up and really got into their music. These guys definitely will be going far. I was bummed to have missed the first local band Particle Son. I was told by some people in the crowd that they were a smash up of NIN and Marilyn Manson which sounds awesome. I’ll have to catch Particle Son next time. Next up was hardcore rap band Tragedy with a special guest, local legend Knothead. One of the guys had his cute little son start off the show. This little one had some talent! He has got to be the most popular little kid at his school, his flow was great and he had some great dance moves.
These guys had so much energy and heart in the music I wish the audience moved more to show some love that Tragedy so well deserved. Before they got off stage, the father of the little one promised a “fuck the patriots” chant for his kid because he was on stage sporting his 12 Seahawks jersey for the upcoming Superbowl. The audience was pretty evenly divided there; at least it was in the bar!
Following Tragedy is the alternative rock group, hailing from LA called Knee High Fox. This four-piece has a girl singer and I only mention that because I personally get a little excited when I see a woman take center stage. The singer Christine is this pretty tiny thing that had what I can only classify as feline qualities. She prowled on stage like a lioness hunting her prey and when she screamed & screeched, it reminded me of a cat. Her clean vocals were beautiful. I can see why this band is categorized as ‘alternative’ because there really is no label for them. Song genres seem to mix in their set with their punk infused “Legend,” hauntingly seductive “Black Widow” and the catchy “Kiss Me Kill Me.” I could totally see our local band Amerakin Overdose going on tour with Knee High Fox.
Right after Knee High Fox’s set, this antsy crowd started chanting “(hed) PE! – what?!” beckoning them to take the stage. This legendary band opened their set with “No Turning Back” with that awesome drum solo in the middle. Vocalist Jared’s little son was on stage with him and it just goes to show you, no matter how famous and awesome your parents are, little ones still just see you as dad, he was a little shy. Every member on stage is so animated and full of life; you can’t help but feed off their energy and enjoy the show. Especially watching the chemistry between Jared and Mawk who have been with (hed) PE for more than 25 years! These guys know how to put on a show. No gimmicks or flashy stage props needed. I love the easy, kick back and relax song moments such as one of my personal favorites “Bartender” but then there is also those jamming “Firsty” and “Raising Hell.” It was funny, at one point someone in the audience passed up an ID that someone else must have lost. Jared laughs and points out that Portland is a pretty nice city because that wouldn’t happen in Miami. Ha!!
As if on cue, the pot aroma increased in the venue as (hed) PE starts their cover of Bob Marley’s “No woman no cry.” (hed) PE does an amazing job with this cover. They put on such a great show that I would see them every time they come here to Portland. After (hed) PE’s set a good portion of their hardcore fans left but the Hawthorne was still pretty packed. So in between bands songs play and sometimes I think the song that plays while the stage is being set up is what sets the mood for the next act. It’s a hit or miss whether that song gets the crowd excited or not. In this case, for Powerman5000, the song was “Do you think I am sexy” by Rod Stewart and it certainly got the crowd going. The fog machine started and the stage back lights were shining when these robotic, superhuman figures took the stage and started the set with “Super Villian.” The crowd went nuts, everyone was dancing or jumping. Each of the 5 members had this glowing red circle on their robotic suits that, with just their silhouettes, made them look like they were from another planet. But the suits definitely did not hinder their movements. These guys were jumping around, dancing, having a great time on stage.
PM5K kept the fun energy flowing that (hed) PE brought. This band has been around since 1994 and when they did their song “Nobody’s Real” from their Tonight the Stars Revolt album, I was suddenly taken back to high school. PM5K played some new songs off their recent album Builders of the Future that were really fun, songs like “How to be Human” and “You’re going to love it, If you like it or not.” along with some timeless old songs like “Bombshell.” I love it when the national acts give props to the local bands, which Spider One did. Both Spider One and Jared made sure to mention the opening acts. Spider One at one point talks about touring with (hed) PE saying that even though their music is very different, touring with them works because both PM5K and (hed) PE are real bands that are down to earth, work hard and enjoy what they are doing.
As an audience member, that is easy to tell when a band loves what they are doing and do it not for the fame or money but because it is their passion. It is an important ingredient that makes for a great show! PM5K made Hawthorne Theater feel like a huge party that of course they had to do an encore and end their set with their hit song “World’s Collide” that if you were a gamer or skater in the 90’s, you definitely know this song. That song takes me back to the early days when I would be sitting on the couch, watching my boyfriend (now husband) play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on N64. The night started off with some familiar faces, new great bands to get the show started and ended on a nostalgic note and I loved every minute of it.