Hunter Valentine and Kiss Kill serve up a hot Tonic

By Sunny Clark, PQ Monthly

Hunter Valentine

Part Jesse James, part James Dean, outlaw heartthrobs Hunter Valentine are at large in the Pacific Northwest just in time to take the chill off our newly-returned rainy season. Along with Portland’s own Kiss Kill, they’ll bring the heat to the Tonic Lounge Oct. 21.

Hunter Valentine’s epic 70-date tour comes just ahead of their new album. The band promises to treat Rose City audiences to some sweet selections from “Collide and Conquer,” due to drop Oct. 23.

“We’re really proud of it,” says Kiyomi McClosky, who founded the band of hard-driving, all-female rockers with drummer Laura Petracca. “Our sound is gritty pop-rock. This record is a different step … everything from mid-tempo pop songs to aggressive rock, to ballads.”

McClosky is featured as the new face of feminine rock on the cover of the latest issue of Curve Magazine, and makes no apologies for her bewitching brand of machismo.

“I’ve been labeled ‘The Dictator’ at times,” she says. “When women know what they want and stand by it, they’re called some form of ‘bitch.’”

For fans of Showtime’s “The Real L Word,” which has been following the lives and loves of McClosky, Petracca, and bassist Veronica “Vero” Sanchez, the intimate concert offers the added thrill of seeing primetime heartthrobs up close and personal. McClosky shrugs off the Casanovag image she’s acquired from appearing on the reality-based series as par for the course when the audience has but a tiny window into her world.

“People didn’t seem to understand what non-monogamy meant,” she says, “so they assumed I was cheating. … I was just dating. We have a great time on that show.”

Like a double-dose of winter tonic, Hunter Valentine has been perfectly paired with kick-ass Portland rockers, Kiss Kill. Michelle Blau and Dusti Ohland, the delicious dykes of KissKill who were recently named among the “8 Women To Watch” by Bound Magazine, are “thrilled and excited” to warm up their hometown crowd for Hunter Valentine, along with Queen Caveat and The Happening.

They promise to add to the eye and ear candy with their own hard-rockin’ fury, showcasing tracks from their recently-released CD, “Keychain Pistols.” Backed by talented drummer Bam Bam Purkapile and the well-matched back-up vocals and guitar licks of Jeff Leopard, Kiss Kill have been taking Pacific Northwest audiences on their thrill-ride for five years — and, like the rain, won’t be letting up any time soon.

Watch them watching you this Sunday, Oct. 21, 8 p.m. at the Tonic Lounge (3100 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland;; $7. 21+).