FU: The best ALL AGES venue in portland - it's new, it's the Factory Underground

pc-pdx Oct 11 2010 11:41P 8

Let's start with the bad : they're north. Wicked North.
Everything else at the Factory Underground is pandas and puppies and fireworks and punk rock rainbows - this place is awesome. Bands, coffee, cute girls running an art gallery that doesn't suck (really -it doesn't suck!), a half-pipe(?!),

I grew up in small towns(s) midwest and if we weren't getting kicked out of wall-mart (the intercom is [*]+[0]+[3] by-the-way), we were sitting at Denny's, chain smoking, drinking coffee and talking about opening up the coolest place in the universe...some sort of punk rock coffee shop with half-pipes and all of our favorite bands. It's pretty crazy just how closely the Factory Underground resembles everything i ever wanted out of being a trapped in teenager in the boring ass madwest.

The space is two stories comprised of the non-sucky art and sculpture of the North End Gallery in the window space of the main floor. In the back is a nice little coffee shop action - fairly standard fare except for the technicolor giraffe that blew up all over the walls. There is a sweet upstairs spot that i tried to sell them into turning into a hookah lounge / sexy velvet painting room (It's a GOOD IDEA!) and then putting the half pipe in the coffee shop area (such a good idea!).

Going downstairs gets even better - this is where the bands play. The band portion is the perfect size, just large enough where the Taxpayers or your favorite Portland living room band would fill the space with sweaty bodies, but not too large to kill that fun atmosphere and congestion that forces you to dance. "Keeping the house party atmosphere" was iterated time and again in talking about their venue setup. This crew has done good to soundproof it so that perpetual music-space killing neighbor problem shouldn't be much of an issue here. There's an 100Watt amp that should just rock the shit out of that space.

The band space is just a sixth of the basement. I was there a few weekends back but at the time there was a ping-pong table, one pool table and talk of another one on the way. One of the best attributes of this place is that it's total Do-It-Together (DIT!). The build out downstairs is a man with a van and a glue on the craigslist free section. Most everything from the big screen tv to the lumber for the bathroom and the siding for the venue walls - all recycled goodness.

The location is run by a crew going under the name "Corner Industries". A collective of like-minded individuals that is determined to be a working and living example, balancing art and commerce for the community. They believe in not only having a space for the arts but also educating and guiding artists to sustain their existence with capital. The location is not just Corner Industries, it's also a wrangling of community, Neighborhoorhoodies have unsolicitedly silk-screened reader boards in excitement of the new spot. Street punks have been eager to help out crying scavenged dry wall - it's a totally community effort and that's rad. This place truly encompasses the community aspect and they just get it.

The people running the venue part have been mixing hip-hop and punk rock since before Jay Awesome made it cool. Their first official show is coming up this weekend and it's got a taste of everything for everybody, booker Derrick Anderson explains,
“While I’ll pretty much let people create their own shows here without putting my exact aesthetic upon it, me personally, I’ve never understood anyone wanting to listen to five very similar bands in a row. But, hey, if we can put together an annual event that showcases diversity and isn’t about just one thing, that would make me pretty happy. I understand crust punk and singer/songwriter, and gangster rap don’t always go hand in hand with everyone’s individual crowd, but I can dream, can’t I?”

October 16th is the official coming out party including 12 bands that will alternate playing upstairs in the gallery and downstairs, the main music venue. Slated acts include Mood Ring (members of Roller Ball), Likity (Marmits, Fear) Cheap Meats, Mannequin Head, Teflon, Pecos, Party Killer, Turf Noise, and When The Broken Bow, and on and on.
It's an all day thing, since let's be honest, your day is going to start at 1pm anyway. show up and check out the spot and give these guys some money. Volunteer to run the snack bar or get involved in some manor if you're interested. These guys are rad and have all the ingredients in place to become the best all ages venue in portland - not that that is a difficult task seeing that satyricons closing leaves us with... uhm, less than a handful of for-reals venues. It's a commute for some people for sure but the ideas and energy that are running through this space should make it all worth the effort.

talk about it …


  1. sprout

    This place is so many of the things I have wanted all in one. Portland is pathetically in need of places like this. Bravo to the crew for carrying out the ideas so many of us have had but never managed to manifest in any professional incarnation. I'll see you on the 16th! (If only you weren't an 8 mile bike ride from my house!)

    • sprout
    • 10/12/2010 12:13:36 AM
  2. Fantastic review! This group has worked their buns off and progress rapidly showing their talents and creativity!! Fun time for cool someone just told me-lol (oldie but goodie)

    • Pat
    • 10/12/2010 6:37:34 PM
  3. This place just exudes cool.If there is just one place in Portland where vision and art come into being, this must be the spot. This crew has worked hard to create a product borne from community spirit. All who cross the threshold immediately become part of that community.

  4. We need volunteers for the festival. If you want to help out, please contact


    • Mari
    • 10/14/2010 1:44:02 PM
  5. Hi There, how do we go about booking FU? I play in a band from vancouver Canada and we're looking for a good Art space/venue to play in.

    Any help would be great.


    • Julian
    • 10/16/2010 5:00:02 PM
  6. Oh, and you can contact me at ycleptic [At]

    We're looking to book Saturday November 13th.

    Here's our myspace:
    And the band that we're touring with:


    • Julian
    • 10/16/2010 5:02:53 PM
  7. The very last sentence before your comment has the email address:

    You're a touring band, put a little effort into it.

  8. I had actually sent an e-mail to that address when I posted that comment - often times there are multiple points of contact for venues. Most booking agents that I've dealt with have a generic e-mail address, like the one above, that gets clogged with an insane amount of requests and another that they use for just dealing with booked bands or potentials. I was actually going the extra mile to see if someone had a phone # or alternate address as I'd really like to play the Factory Underground.

Max 4000 chars What say you?
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