When I heard that Bangs and The Need (two well-loved punk bands from the Olympia, Washington area) were reuniting to play a few shows as a benefit for a friend who had fallen ill, I bought my ticket right away. Too bad I live in New York and while a $15 concert ticket was no problem, the $400 plane ticket to Portland was a little harder to swing. Luckily our writer Elisabeth Wilson lives there and was able to go on our behalf. Here's what she had to say about her experience at the last night of the bands' three show nova.
Things got pretty exciting here in Portland last Friday night. Pretty much every lesbian I’ve ever met packed their sweaty lesbian body into Portland’s Berbati’s for the last of three reunion performances by Kill Rock Stars homocore legends Bangs and The Need. The shows (in Olympia, Seattle, and Portland) were to benefit former KRS employee Natalie Cox who has a rare form of cancer and is having to pay for treatment out of pocket.
I’ve seen Portland worked up over a punk rock show before, but this was something different. Metal bands C Average and Thrones opened with short sets and before we knew it, Maggie Vail was coyly strapping on her bass guitar to start of Bangs' first song. There were a lot of thank yous and shout outs given to people involved in the benefit and the scene in general, and the excitement and positive energy was on tap. Bangs guitarist Sarah Utter called Maggie a warrior during their set and warned that The Need had some surprises in store at the end of the night, hinting at the possibility of tears being shed. Finally around 11pm, The Need appeared—guitarist Radio Sloan in a coonskin cap (with feather) and drummer Rachel Carns with a head mic (editors note: she used to make her own head mics, I wonder if she still does) and a black mesh tank top. They pretty much kicked ass, but it was an emotional set too. Rachel lifted her shirt at one point to show us her scars from the double mastectomy she had last year, and asked if there were any other cancer survivors in the audience. She got choked up thanking everyone for their support during her treatment and talked a lot about Natalie. Things got intense in a different way for the climax of the set—a kind of witchy song about being a witch. Cloaked, nerdy, hipster “witches” came out onto the stage for this number and did witch-like arm and hand motions while throwing witchy blue glitter.
Here’s a video of the Need witchery:
To learn more about Natalie, and to send some help yourself, go to: