A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Altin Gün Live at Revolution Hall; Portland, Or. 4.14.22 Concert Review

Amsterdam’s Altin Gün transformed SE Portland’s Revolutionary Hall into a dusty Turkish bazaar on a wet, chilly Thursday night to a sold-out crowd, reminding us why live music is so vital. 

Altin Gün Live at Revolution Hall, Portland, Or. 4.14.22

Live music was alive and thriving on a moody moonlit Thursday evening in Portland, Oregon as Amsterdam’s Altin Gün brought a sold-out crowd into rapturous ecstasy with their unique blend of Turkish psych, heavy 70s funk, and 80s electro, overcoming any potential inhibitions or reservations that may’ve been present, transforming Revolution Hall’s former high school auditorium into a sea of sweating bodies. “Good, I’m glad you’re already out of your seats and I didn’t have to say something,” quipped vocalist Merve Dasdemir after blowing the roof off the joint with a furiously funky take on the Turkish classic “Rakıya Su Katamam.” “We’re not really a sitting down kind of band.” 

She wasn’t kidding. 

Altin Gün, which translates to “Golden Day,” proceeded to tear through an hour-and-a-half of seriously fried psychedelic rock, deeeeeep funk, and heavy-as-bricks breakbeats, as they played a set alternating between originals and covers of classic Turkish psych rock and Anatolian folk. Next up was the fan favourite “Vay Dünya,” off of 2019’s Grammy-nominated Gece, with its interlocking percussion and wedding band keys, which truly take wing with Ben Rider’s smoking wah guitar solos.

This was followed by “Cips Kola Kilit,” the b-side to their newest single and a brilliant example of their newest material – all dayglo synths and disco handclaps. This opening triptych served as a nice overview of the past, present, and future of the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych band. A good portion of the night’s setlist was from last year’s excellent Yol. Recorded during lockdown, Yol (which translates to “road”) finds the band layering their signature sound with retro synths and drum machines. Rather than recalling olive green and crimson 70s bubble letters, Yol sounds like the soundtrack to some Middle Eastern shopping plaza circa 1986, all Reeboks and plastic palm fronds. 

Altin Gün Live at Revolution Hall, Portland, Or. 4.14.22

Which is a good representation of what makes Altin Gün so exceptional and why this show was so special. All too often, bands become chained to the metronome when they introduce machines into their live setup, as if every cybernetic band immediately has to become Kraftwerk. Not so, with Altin Gün – they’re able to incorporate some imaginative 80s futurism while still sounding like a Turkish wedding band.

Which also speaks to the power and importance of live music. Altin Gün’s relentless grooves are truly immersive, anti-elitist, inclusive. It’s truly music for the dancefloor – all dancefloors, designed to make you clap your hands, snap your fingers, stomp your feet. It’s infectious, and irresistible.

Altin Gün’s relentless grooves are truly immersive, anti-elitist, inclusive. It’s truly music for the dancefloor – all dancefloors.

Altin Gün are the perfect 21st Century psych band, hinting at a deep record collection while still belonging to a living tradition and having a unique and distinctive voice. This sold-out show was, and i do not type this lightly, a perfect concert. The vibe was right; the crowd was great; the band was ON FIRE; the sound KICKED FUCKING ASS, with the kick drum sounding like a depth charge while the bass slightly above like an airborne Beluga whale. Cynicism was nowhere to be found, no one was too cool for school, which is ironic as we were in a former high school. 

Altin Gün are the perfect 21st Century psych band

Altin Gün may have also created the perfect psychedelic rock. They have the meditative, transportive, trance-like quality of all great psychedelic music yet the non-stop melodicism keeps things far more engaging than your usual two-chord drone rock (speaking as someone who really likes two chord drone rock.) Add in Erdinç Ecevit’s saz, a long-necked Turkish stringed instrument, and bağlama, an instrument similar to a lute or oud and the fact that Merve Dasdemir is a truly charismatic lead vocalist, and Altin Gün have everything necessary to truly become world-famous. And they more than deserve to be. 

If you happen to be headed to Coachella this weekend, do not miss Altin Gün. Their set is going to be legendary if this show is any indication.

Altin Gün

Altin Gün FB


ig: @altingunband

Altin Gün Bandcamp

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Also, if you’re in Portland and you’re looking for something to do, check out J’s list on Everout which is being updated constantly.

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One comment on “Altin Gün Live at Revolution Hall; Portland, Or. 4.14.22 Concert Review

  1. ijwilson
    April 16, 2022

    Great review, hopefully it will convince people to seek Altin Gun out! Yol is a fantastic album! Listening to that was one of my highlights last year in lockdown!

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