This, of course, is no guarantee. If you're a Limp Bizkit cover band or if your band is comprised solely of a kazoo and a kitten, it probably won't happen. Well, maybe the kazoo and kitten idea. I could see that working in Portland. Anyway, there's a good chance that the bookers at these venues will actually respond to your emails, and once they do, they're very cordial--unlike most joints in Portland, Oregon.
You visit Kelly's if you have some time to kill downtown. Nothing really draws you there but its location: very central and close to public transit.
Tonic Lounge provides a stellar stage for local and national acts to perform. Go for the live sets and strong drinks. Most convenient: two bars in two different rooms. Pay in cash and pick whichever line is shortest.
Part bar, part venue, part cafe, part art gallery Backspace triumphs with all ages shows that don't separate the big kids from the little kids. A great resource if you just arrive in town.
Sip on cans of PBR or Rainier shoulder to shoulder with Portland's leather-clad best while watching local metal bands hesh it out on the other side of the red velvet curtain. Happy hour 3 to 7.
Home to an abundance of political books and films, Laughing Horse is a resource in the community for those interested in advocacy and activism. They often host events, including cheap all ages shows.
The Record Room is quickly becoming North Portland's premier event space with concerts, rock doc showings, and best of all, you can trade your records for beer.
A recent article in Esquire declared the end of dive bars. With Keno, heavy pours, friendly staff, and a free show almost every night of the week, the new Firkin Tavern easily debunks this notion. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.