Portland >Sports & Recreation > Roseland Theater
8 NW Sixth Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720145.523309 -122.676361
Neighborhoods: Old Town - Chinatown, Neighbors West - Northwest
I've been to the Roseland many times, going back almost 10 years. Most of the bands I like are booked exclusively at the Roseland when they visit Portland, so they always have a great lineup of bands there. First of all, before anything else you have to know that the Roseland is a dive. So you shouldn't be expecting a 5 star atmosphere here. But even for a dive, it's pretty average at best. I like that you can get real close to the stage. The whole venue feels intimate, though it can get real packed with popular shows. Getting passed through the metal detector is usually pretty quick and painless. And the Beer isn't bad, though it's definitely expensive.
That's pretty much where the positives end. The place feels a bit dirty and the bathrooms can get kinda gross. Also, it's very poorly ventilated, so it gets really hot and stuffy. Not only that, but the sound quality is pretty bad. Again, it's a dive, so check your expectations, but it gets worse. If you want to drink, or even sit down at all, you have to go into the upstairs balcony, as no drinks are allowed on the main floor. You'd better get in right away though, as there is always going to be a huge line because of how slow they are with checking ID's. I've literally had to watch the show from that line before, only for them to fill up to capacity and turn me back to the main floor.
The security there seem to be on some kind of power trip, and none of the staff are really that friendly. All of this would be more tolerable if it were cheaper. But the ticket fees pile up so high it will usually end up doubling the base cost of your tickets. I would tell you to save your money and go elsewhere, but chances are that all of the bands you like are booked exclusively at the Roseland when they visit Portland. It is what it is.
If you buy a ticket for a show here, make sure you know what you are buying. We had tickets to a show that drew an (ahem) older crowd (us included). The tickets were general admission - we were unaware when we bought them that there was any reserved seating.
We had a bad experience once before with a show in the smaller venue downstairs - literally NO place to sit. Zip, nada, not a chair in the place. So the day of this particular show I called a ticket retailer to find out if there would be any seating. He said he didn't know for sure, but thought it very unlikely that there would be no chairs.
He was wrong. There was no seating downstairs except for chairs around the edge for people in wheelchairs. There was reserved seating in the balcony, and they said we could also stand up there.
Since neither my wife or I were going to be able to stand for the whole show I asked will-call if we could upgrade to reserved, but they said it was sold out. Since we got there early, we were able to sit on the floor in the balcony on a sort of ledge-like thing, and that was the only way we were able to endure the show.
But we were lucky. Other people were leaving very angry. These tickets weren't cheap, and being able to sit in a chair doesn't seem like too much to ask. Make sure if you buy tickets here that you know exactly what you are getting.
And, oh yeah, the sound is mediocre at best so don't expect to be getting the musical experience of your life.
So basically, I have been going there for years. I saw my first and my last concerts at the roseland, my deceased big brother worked there for a few years as a security guard and this is about the only place I and my family can see Psychopathic records, Strange music records and/or Subnoiz concerts. Sure, it can be stuffy and crowded and the security are all on power trips but I personally have always had fun at every concert I've been to at the Roseland.
Roseland security upstairs can make a good night turn bad – As others have already said, the Roseland is almost worth SKIPPING because of the bad experience security can create. They can take a $40-$100 or more spend and turn it into a frustrating bullying distraction.
A friend (a cop) told me she hated the Roseland because the security staff are rude, pushy and aggressive. I've been to a few shows and didn't notice anything. Door staff are polite and stay within their functional role.
The upstairs security is another story: in particular a security guy with a long goatee. This guy is a frustrated bully who I noticed was not bothering gay men or large heavy "don't mess" types. As for others, your crime will be "dancing in the isles". By the end of the evening he poked me sharply in the ribs and threatened to throw me out (I was only dancing in the walk-way area). While I understand fire safety etc., there's a way (if you had any social intelligence) that you could interact with people without coming off as a frustrated mall cop on a power trip.
Two thumbs down for the Roseland.
p.s. I doubt this review will do any good- your favorite bands are going to keep using them and they don't really have to improve the club experience- that's probably why the abuse of power is so rampant inside the Roseland.
A letter I wrote the Roseland Staff about mistreatment. – Hi my name is **** and I wanted to follow up on an incident that occurred last night at the Hollywood Undead show. First off I took a friend to this show as a birthday present and spent $70 on tickets. The reason I'm writing you is because I had a problem with the way I was treated by security. Upon arrival my friend and I went upstairs and ordered a beer. To my knowledge this was a sold-out show and the place was packed! We were unable to find any seating so we found an area to stand that was right next to a few stacks of chairs. There were no signs around the chairs saying we could not use them so we grabbed two chairs and sat down. We were in the chairs for probably 15 minutes or so when a female from the security staff came over and was extremely rude to us and said the chairs needed to be put back. I didn't get smart ass with her. Didn't give her a dirty look. Both my friend and I apologized and put the chairs back where they came from. After this had happened we returned to the bar and ordered two drinks, then returned to the area we were in before so we weren't elbow to elbow with people. Ten to fifteen minutes later were standing there listening to the music the two of us were approached two male security guards who were yelling and in our faces, took our drinks, and then told us we had to go downstairs. I asked numerous times what this was about before he finally told me "because you guys messed with the chairs". My friend and I ended up leaving because we were really upset and this incident just ruined the show for us. We didn't even get to see the band we came to see. I worked an 8 hour day and to be honest I just wanted to sit down, have a few drinks and listen to some music. I don't go to shows to get rowdy and mosh. I just want to have a good time. The way we were treated by your security staff was just unacceptable and uncalled for. I could totally understand if I was being a punk to your security and have them do what they did, but like I said I was polite. I do take into consideration that security probably has to deal with their fair share of idiots in a night, but they don't need to treat everyone like they're trash.
So here I am out $70 and the Roseland Theater really put a bad taste in my mouth. All the other show's I've ever been to there I have never gotten treated this way. I'm not a bum, I work hard for my money, and I like to go have fun when I can. This whole incident just really blows my mind and is upsetting. Like I said too I realize we were in the wrong by sitting in the chairs that were stacked, but it was an honest mistake. We just wanted to take a load off and have a good time. That's all. I know it's not going to drive you guys out of business or anything but I just wanted to let you know I won't ever attend a concert there again. I've been seeing shows at your venue for over 10 years. So I'm hoping that in the future your security can can deal with a small situation like this in a more professional manner. So my question for the Roseland Theater is there any way to follow up on this? Would you guys be willing to make it up to us? I'm happy to chat over the phone if you have questions for me. Thank you for taking time to read this.
Great Dr. John show – Of course, the show was great. We are right in his demographics.
The people at the Roseland were very nice to us. Maybe it's that this show draws an older crowd? But everyone from the bartender telling my wife all about the different beers and even suggesting some they don't even have to the inside security guards letting us sneak upstairs during part of the show, everyone was nice. Of course, this is a Portland institution and it's a great place to see a show. Highly recommended.
First time and I hope to go back.
There were quite a few people walking around on the sidewalks, so even my wife felt fairly safe and she is easy to freak out.
plenty of space but still can't see – The only thing going for this venue is space and it's balcony. This venue has ample room for moshing and general crazyness by the stage. However it is quite hard to find a place to see the stage on the camped main floor. The balcony is great if you want to see what is on stage however it's packed!
Rumble at the Roseland was a blast! – I've been to MMA events in arenas that were more comfy, but they don't have the hometown feel of the Roseland.
This was my first FCFF event, and they kept the fights coming and didn't lose our attention at all.
Plenty of crowd enthusiasm and other emotions ;)
The A/C is stronger on the floor than up above but, if even a big ol fat dude like me is comfy-it wasn't too warm up top, and the view is great!
My last outing here was Patton Oswalt's comedy which also rocked.
At Patton's show they had a license scanner (which didn't thrill me for privacy reasons) but it was still pretty slow to get i.d. checked for upstairs access.
Although I'm a smoker, the non-smoking policy is welcome.
The sights, sounds, smells and emotion of this smaller venue will bring fond memories for many years.
The area is a little sketchy if you haven't 'been around', otherwise it's fairly tame.
I'll be back for more events at the Roseland.
Security is brutal! – My (sober) self slipped on the beer-covered stairs leading down to the main level and almost had my arm pulled out of its socket by the aggressive, surly security guard. I will never see another show here!
DO NOT GO HERE!! HORRIBLE SECURITY & STAFF, SKETCHY LOCATION – Security did NOTHING to help my brother who got attacked right outside. They watched and did nothing!!! He was seriously injured! They lied to him and said they called the cops, but they didnt. The cop WE called said that the Roseland is a terrible place, and they will avoid calling the cops at any and all costs. The staff are a bunch of a*holes and are terribly mean!!! The area is super sketchy and I will never go back there. I have been 3 times and have had a bad experience each time, so thats it. They may have good bands, but it isnt worth it! AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!! DO NOT SUPPORT THIS PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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