Portland’s musical offerings are as diverse as the city itself, with plenty of options including indie rock, jazz, classical, pop and more for its population of almost 600,000 to enjoy. Let’s start with rock’n’roll. Portland was once home to such famous 1960s rock bands as The Kingsmen (Louie, Louie), and Paul Revere and the Raiders. The city’s punk music scene arrived in the early 1980s, and in 1989, late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, met Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, a native of Portland.
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Today, Portland has been called “America’s Indie Rock Mecca.” Considering all of the great clubs, stages, concert halls, and festivals that draw musicians and music lovers to the “City of Roses,” that’s probably not an idle boast. Some of today’s more well-known bands include the Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Pink Martini, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper and the Decembrists. These local rockers could easily have appeared at any one of the city’s well-known venues, including: the Douglas Fir Lounge, an intimate 300 seat club designed specifically for live music; the Aladdin Theater, a rehabbed, 1920 vaudeville house, now a premier spot for medium- sized shows; the Roseland Theater, a showcase for larger concerts, holding approximately 1,400; the Crystal Ballroom, with its wooden floors that actually bounce with the crowds; and Edgefield, a sprawling outdoor venue that features many of the most popular acts that come through town. They also probably played at MusicfestNW, the ultimate Pacific Northwest summer event with room for 10,000, which has rocked Portland since 2000.
It’s just as likely that many of these local bands self-produced their own albums and then duplicated or replicated as many CDs as they were able to sell to their enthusiastic fans after a concert. And it’s just possible that Bison Disc was the company they turned to, to reproduce their discs and package them in one of our customized Jewel cases, Wallets, Jackets, Sleeves or Digipaks.
Portland is also home to many jazz players and enthusiasts, and hosts an eclectic collection of clubs, lounges and festivals devoted to this home-grown American, musical art form. For two weeks every February, the Portland Jazz Festival welcomes the best local talent and as well as jazz-world luminaries from afar. The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, founded in 1981, is the longest-running free jazz fest, west of the Mississippi. Famous jazz clubs in town include Jimmy Mak’s, Tony Starlight’s, and Vie de Boheme. Radio listeners have access to a KMHD, a dedicated nonprofit, jazz station that broadcasts from Hood Community College, in collaboration with Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Classical music certainly doesn’t take a backseat in Oregon’s biggest city. From opera to chamber music, to symphony concerts, Portland offers inspiring performances from its many professional companies, including the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Opera, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Chamber Music Northwest. The city’s many Asian-Americans also enjoy Portland Taiko, an award-winning, drumming ensemble with roots in traditional, Japanese religious ceremonies, community festivals and theater.
Portland is also a well-known film town. Filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting (1997), and Milk (2008)) is a Portland native. Recent films set and shot in Portland include Gone, Extraordinary Measures, Body of Evidence, Twilight, Paranoid Park, Blue Like Jazz, Wendy and Lucy, Feast of Love, Untraceable, Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, Coraline and ParaNorman. Fred Armisen spoofs the city’s liberal politics and alternative lifestyles in the TV sketch comedy, Portlandia. And each February, almost 40,000 film lovers attend the Portland International Film Festival for a feast of over 140 international shorts and feature films.
Bison Disc is intimately involved in both the music and film industries because we provide the packaging and products that allow the artists to distribute their works to a wider audience. For example, as stated, we’re at the lobby table with the latest exciting and adventurous new band as it sells its self-produced CD, artistically packaged in one of our CD Digipaks or Jewel Cases. And if an aspiring film maker wants to make multiple copies of his or her DVD in order to send it for consideration to a number of film festivals, we’re available to duplicate those DVDs, package them, and mail them out.
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