** SCHEDULE **
6 p.m. · Doors open
7 p.m. · History presentation by McMenamins historian Tim Hills
8:20 p.m. · Live music by U.S. Cadenza
9:45 p.m. · Live music by Portland Zoo
Iconic 1960s Portland rock bands U.S. Cadenza and Portland Zoo Electric Band will play special performances as part of this historic event at the Crystal, in celebration of the pivotal role the ballroom played within the region’s music scene during that period. To spotlight the history and significance of the bands and the ballroom, there will be a panel discussion featuring some of the musicians and McMenamins historian Tim Hills.
“It was so great and it went so quick.” This description, made by one of the Crystal Ballroom’s denizens of the ‘60s, is the perfect summation of the Crystal’s 1960s Rock era.
Those 18 months, from January 1967 to June 1968, equate to little more than a blink of an eye within the nearly six decades of the ballroom’s existence prior to that point. Yet, they are the Crystal’s best-remembered and most legendary period, a time when everything in Portland, and around the nation, seemed to be burning with a blue flame: politics, war, the generation gap… and music.
In 1967 and ’68, the Crystal staged a string of amazing talent, mostly young bands that now are the stuff of legend: Buffalo Springfield, Country Joe & the Fish, Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, to name a few.
Also part of these iconic shows, as well as on their own for other dates, were Portland’s finest rock bands, including U. S. Cadenza and the Portland Zoo Electric Band.
The Portland Zoo – Peter Langston, Sharyle Peronya Patton, Larry Whitney, Denny and Triple Dwarf – were declared the world's most ethnic “phantasyrock” group. The house band at the Charix Coffeehouse for a time, they also were a big attraction at other Portland hubs like Pythian Hall, the Crystal and festivals like Bullfrog.
The blues-based, electric guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll band, U.S. Cadenza, was formed in 1966 with 15-year-old guitarist Steve Bradley, along with Stew Dodge, Joe Ewing, Robin Smith, Turtle Van Demarr and John Ward. The Cadenza played several memorable sets at the Crystal during 1967-68, and tore up the coffeehouses and halls around town too, before disbanding in ’69. Steve Bradley was voted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2007.