Satyricon in 2007
|Former names||Marlena's Tavern|
|Address||125 N.W. Sixth Avenue
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
|Genre(s)||Hardcore punk, alternative rock|
|Years active||1983-2003; 2006-2010|
Satyricon was a nightclub in the Old Town neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, United States. Opening in 1983, the Satyricon became best known as a venue for local and touring punk and alternative rock bands. Operating from 1983 to 2010, it was the longest-running punk venue in the western United States, and has been referred to as the "CBGB of the West Coast." The building was demolished in 2011.
The Satyricon, located at 125 N.W. Sixth Avenue, was formerly Marlena's Tavern, "a dark, narrow barroom on a seedy stretch." Prior to its establishment as a bar and restaurant, the building had served as a horse stable in the early 20th century before being converted into a tavern.
At the time of the Satyricon's opening in 1983, the surrounding Old Town neighborhood had a seedy and dangerous reputation. The club attracted a wide array of musical groups, mostly indie and punk rock bands performing. The club was named by its founder George Touhouliotis after Federico Fellini's film of that name, and included a restaurant called Fellini. Satyricon's souvlaki window was the place for early morning sustenance after the music venues shut down.
The Satyricon was known for being the one venue in Portland "where everyone who was or would be anyone in Northwest rock played over the course of two decades," earning the nightclub a national reputation. The club became a popular hangout for rock fans and musicians, and was a regular venue for local punk bands the Wipers and Poison Idea. Open mic nights, poetry readings, and performance art also took place at the club. The interior of the building was described by journalists as such:
As you step up to the long, obsidian-black bar, you may notice the Buddha that presides from behind the bar, the sensual art above, and stars on the ceiling. Explore a bit more and you'll find graffiti on the tables, an open-staged DJ booth, black & white checkered floors, and the infamous Round-table, in a corner, with a pentagram etched into it. Now, it's time that we enter the inner sanctum, the stage area. Plastered with hundreds of band stickers, that would take someone days to take in. Like a museum of modern art, you see the history dating back to its unveiling in 1983. The stage itself is comfortable, like an old basement rehearsal space with a high ceiling.
The bar was frequented by local residents including poet Walt Curtis, and a young Courtney Love, who met friend and bandmate Kat Bjelland there in 1983. The club is also notable for being the place where Love first crossed paths with her future husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain; according to Love, she met Cobain there in 1988 at a Dharma Bums concert, although other accounts state that the two met in January 1989 or 1990 when Nirvana was playing at the club, and that they playfully wrestled in front of a jukebox that night.
Other notable events at the club included Chuck Paugh's first rave party there in 1985, as well as a scene from Gus Van Sant's Mala Noche (1985) being filmed in the bar. Dave Grohl played his first show with his post-Nirvana outfit Foo Fighters after Cobain's suicide. Pearl Jam also played the club on September 28, 1991. Other events, besides notable concerts, include a number of incidents involving notable people (including Courtney Love passing out) and a police riot in 1990.
Renovation and closing
The club closed in 2003 and was slated to be taken over by the owners of another (former) club in town, Moody's. It reopened as an all-ages club in August 2006 under the management of the owners of the Loveland, an all-ages venue in Portland. It officially closed in October 2010. Demolition began in July 2011.
The news headlines arising from Satyricon include:
- Satyricon License Threatened By Drug Bust
- "Riot" At Satyricon
- Audience Dances Naked At Satyricon
- Courtney Love Passes Out At Satyricon
- Midnight Madness
- Satyricon's Dirty Dozen
- Police Sue Six Men Over Scuffle
- Whose Riot Was That, Anyway?
- Johnson, Ed (September 11, 2006). "The return of the Satyricon". The Vanguard. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- Willamette Week Music Staff (June 11, 2003). "Music & Nightlife: Hiss and Vinegar—Satyricon Morphs Into Moody's". Willamette Week. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- Ohlsen, Becky (2013). Walking Portland: 30 Tours of Stumptown's Funky Neighborhoods, Historic Landmarks, Park Trails, Farmers Markets, and Brewpubs. Wilderness Press. p. 4.
- Ammann, Ana (October 20, 2010). "Satyricon says farewell for the last time". Oregon Music News. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- Dundas, Zach (May 14, 2003). "Notorious—Nearly 20 years of raucous rock and roll made Satyricon famous...and infamous". Willamette Week. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- Sernoffsky, Evan (March 19, 2014). "Portland’s Iconic Old Town Chinatown Is Overflowing with Human Shit". Vice. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- Marty Hughley (October 18, 2010). "Portland nightclub Satyricon says farewell with series of reunion shows". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- Horton, Jay (October 16, 2013). "An (Alternate) Oral History of the Satyricon". The Willamette Week. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
- Black, Jett; V., Marty (September 2002). "Nightclub Review: The Satyricon". In Music We Trust. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
- Jarman, Casey; Mannheimer, Michael; Horton, Jay (October 27, 2010). "I Think I Was There: An oral history of the Satyricon". The Willamette Week. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- "Courtney Love". On The Record. May 10, 2010. Fuse. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Green, Joey. How they met: fateful encounters of famous lovebirds, rivals, partners in crime. Black Dog Publishing. pp. 69–70.
- "Pearl Jam venues"
- "Legendary Portland rock club Satyricon to reopen; Loveland to fade away". Willamette Week. August 9, 2006. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- Jarman, Casey (August 3, 2010). "Satyricon to Close (Forever) in October". Willamette Week. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Hottle, Molly (July 27, 2011). "Demolition begins on building that once housed Satyricon nightclub". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 27, 2011.