Live Review: Contrapact / H.O.P.E.? / Nyx Division – Star Theater, Portland, OR, 27.11.2021

Few things bring PDX punks together like a good cause and a benefit show. Long known for its progressive traditions, the city of Portland, and the bands that call it home seem to know no end when it comes to donating their time. Tonight, Contrapact, H.O.P.E.? and Nyx Division entertained the crowd that came together to raise money for organizations that are working to preserve indigenous languages in the Americas. Happening at the Star Theatre in downtown Portland this show also highlighted the breadth of bands that typify the larger punk/metal/post-punk scene for which Portland is renowned. Opening the evening and playing their first show was Nyx Division.

Beginning during the pandemic and composed of a veterans of numerous other bands (Adrenochrome, OVER, B-Ward, and Temple of Angels), Nyx Division play a moodier and more rocking style of post-punk. Nyx Division created quite a buzz around this night by smartly dropping one teaser song on their bandcamp page. From the opening notes of the first song to the end of their closing number, Nyx Division were compelling and impossible to ignore. Propelled by a solid rhythm section, soaring guitars, and powerfully captivating vocals, Nyx Division’s music is built to pack the dance floor which is what they did.

Nyx Division (click on thumbnail for full image)

Another recently formed band, H.O.P.E.? have played only a few shows but are already building quite a reputation as a good live band. H.O.P.E.? play a more aggressive style of punk. As with many dbeat bands the approach is a cacophonous combination of thundering drums, rumbling bass, and scathing guitars. Setting H.O.P.E.? apart from other bands in the style is the sinister growl of their vocalist. Many vocalist can leap around screaming to make a spectacle worth watching but only a few can do that and make you feel what they feel. H.O.P.E.?’s vocalist is in the latter group. H.O.P.E.? tore through their set of songs then exited the stage leaving the crowd well pleased and wanting more.

H.O.P.E.? (Click on thumbnail for full image)

Unlike the first two bands, Contrapact has been playing around Portland for a few years. They play a more heavy style of thrashy metallic punk which complimented well Nyx Division’s moody post-punk and H.O.P.E.?’s noisy aggression. While not as fast as H.O.P.E.? or danceable as Nyx Division, Contrapact still moved the crowd with their riffs for days approach. It was clear that Contrapact would get more heads-banging than hips-swaying and no one was going to complain. Despite a moment or two where the rust of not having playing a show in two or so years became evident, Contrapact played a solid set to a receptive audience who yelled for more when Contrapact finished. At the end of the night, the bands raised around $700 for the preservation of Indigenous languages. Tonight’s benefit show demonstrated the variety of the bands in Portland as well as how that variety remains a strength which can be mobilized for a good cause.

Contrapact (click on thumbnail for full image)

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