Live Review: The Casualties, Defiance, Piñata Protest – Bossanova Ballroom, Portland, OR 14-11-2021

The Pacific Northwest in November is a damp, chilly, and dreary place so if you are going to out at night it better be for a good reason. What’s more, if you going to a concert on a Sunday in November in the Pacific Northwest then it better be a damn good one! Always having been one to put my money down on an iffy bet, I headed out to see local punk institution Defiance play with San Antonio, Texas’ Piñata Protest who were on tour with The Casualties from New York City.

With a sound that defies easy categorization and a fun loving attitude that borders upon abandon, Piñata Protest exemplify the great Texas punk bands of days gone by. The self-described “Kings of Norteño Punk” opened the show with a high-energy set of infectious songs right for any party. Piñata Protest mix poppy punk rock with the traditional song stylings of corridas and ranchero songs. As a result, their songs are a potent mix booty shaking music and sing-a-longs designed to keep you hitting the bar all night long. Between opening the song Vatos Peron and the closing number Cantina, Piñata Protest tore through a dozen-song set which drew from all three of their albums. Never afraid to add a little humor, they threw in an audience poll on the best salsa on tacos (¡salsa verde por vida!) as well as a free Spanish lesson (note: ¡chinga tú mádre! does not mean, ‘I love you mom”). As with far too many great live bands, the show is over before you know it and you are left wanting more.

As the crowd retreated to the bar, Defiance began setting up their gear.
Defiance is a Portland, OR punk institution having been together for almost 30 years now. Defiance do one thing and they do it damn well. They take the stage to play a fast moving set of loud punk rock that matches perfectly with the political and social stances of the band members. Eschewing trends, Defiance has been pumping out predictably great punk rock since they started. Defiance entertained the crowd with a set of songs from their back catalog. They did, however, tease at new music when they announced the next song was from a new album they had not written yet. Time may have slowed Defiance a bit but you would not have known it by watching their set. Always a crowd favorite, Defiance did not fail to give the crowd what they wanted. Middle fingers were flown, sing-a-longs sung, and punkers danced around until there was no more music. Properly warmed up, the crowd had now only to wait a little longer to see what they came for…The Casualties.

When The Casualties finally took the stage, the bar emptied and the crowd surged forward. Both the band and the crowd were ready to go. Opening with the crowd favorite 1312 (A.C.A.B), the room exploded into a mass of whirling and pogoing punkers. No highbrow pretensions or attempts at witty art were to be found in The Casualties set. The bands songs remain a visceral attack on your ears and body. Short, fast, and loud are the three pillars of The Casualties sound and the crowd absolutely
devoured it. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the band or the crowd. As with all great shows the two feed off each other. Over the course of their set, The Casualties vaulted around the stage with boundless energy. The Casualties may be guilty of walking on a well-trodden path but they will never be guilty of putting on a bad show. When it was all over, The Casualties sent the crowd into the chilly November night still sweating and steaming from the fun they had. Three hours and three bands later, it was clear I placed a winning bet tonight.

Previous Premiere: Lazyrave reveal the trashy brilliance of ‘Snakey’
Next Live Review: Rise Against - Key Club, Leeds 15.11.2021

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