Not my first show in Portland but still a pretty memorable one. A year ago at this time I was actually here in Portland to see KDTU at Aladdin Theater. Just like then it was a part of his west coast winter tour. Last year I wanted to do some traveling and hadn’t seen the family in a few years so thought it would be a great opportunity to travel. This year Karl upgraded the venue immensely and it is only four blocks from my new home. My what a difference a year can make.
The show was on a Saturday so I planned to explore my own city like I would any other when I travel to see concerts. For a winter day the weather wasn’t that bad so I took the opportunity to hike. I packed a few essentials and headed north to Lark Press for some letter press. The last few months are pretty heavy in terms of birthday cards. I was out and needed to stock up. The food up north here is pretty interesting so I made a point to stop for lunch while in the neighborhood.
Thankfully I didn’t have to stray far from N Williams Ave. to find something to eat and drink. Right around the corner I found Lompoc Brewery and their Fifth Quadrant location. This is the actual brewery operations. Typical modern brewery facility with tall ceilings, concert and wood everywhere. The food was really good but neither of the beers blew my doors off. In fact I couldn’t even give them average ratings. Having said that I would go back. Good atmosphere, food and plenty of other beers to explore on the menu.
Being a mini-vacation I took a very relaxing nap in the middle of the afternoon. This being KDTU I knew it was going to be a later night. Portland seems to be pretty liberal on their late night parties so I knew it would go past midnight. Another pre-game event was dinner at Danwei Canting to fuel the body for a night of grooving.
Revolution Hall is a new place for me but I was super excited to see the show here. Four blocks from my house is hard to pass up. I can literally stumble home. I can walk home before an Uber will pick me up. This just amazes me. I knew before I walked in the place it is a renovated school. Some of the school has been carved up for office space but the old theater has been transformed into a concert hall. Complete with lockers on the outside walls to store your crap in. All retail and fans co mingled in the halls which is an interesting experience. Its crowded just like my old high school was.
The Dip was actually pretty cool and opened for the band. Another soul and funk kind band right in line with KDTU. I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality acts I am seeing as openers these last few shows.
By the time KDTU took the stage I was so relaxed and ready to just groove. For part of the show I just sat in my chair and grooved to the music. The entire nights performance was great with a lot of energy from the band and the crowd. I do think the change of venue lifted the bands spirits which allowed them to play that much better tonight.
As I expected it was almost midnight before the houselights came up and it was time to head home. Being how things are all located I stopped at Voodoo Too for some donuts before taking a very long and very well deserved nights rest. Sunday was going to be a day of recovery for me.
Karl Dension’s Tiny Universe
Saturday, January 27th 2018
Revolution Hall – Portland, OR
Start time at 10:38pm
. Allman Brothers cover
The Bridge (really amazing jam in the middle of the song)
Melville (? off the new album)
Set over at 12:29am
Encore starts at 12:32am
House lights at 12:40am
I regularly get emails from bands with their concert schedules and will often plan trips around these tour schedules. Things started to align when I got emails from The New Mastersounds and LCD Soundsystem. The New Mastersounds where planning on hitting the pacific northwest with a show in Portland and another in Seattle. LCD Soundsystem got back together after a few years of being on hesitates and did a pretty long tour over summer and fall of 2017. For a while I have been trying to see them but my last best shot was them coming to DC after I was gone. Then I saw a show in Denver on a Saturday that wasn’t yet sold out. I compared that date to the New Mastersounds schedule and said fuck it, I’m going on vacation.
LCD Soundsystem was playing in Denver on a Saturday which is a totally doable show from Portland. A quick and cheap flight over for the weekend and back home for work on Monday. I then thought I could see the New Mastersounds mid week in Portland, travel to Seattle to see them on Friday and catch LCD on Saturday. Because I was afraid LCD would sell out I got that ticket first and then the New Mastersounds. It was at this point when I realized New Mastersounds was playing Thursday in Seattle, not Friday. Oh well that just meant an extra day off and a full day in Seattle.
My trip started coming together and this was going to be a doozy, even for me so follow along. Thursday I decided to the take Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle. Unfortunately my train was a little late but once we got going things where great. I took an Uber to the station so I didn’t even have to worry about getting there. I splurged for a first class seat since I was only going one way. I had a nice leather seat with plenty of room. So much I could cross my legs. There was even a power outlet and decent wi-fi access as a bonus. It was a little over 3 hours to get to Seattle. Unless time is of the essence I would rather take the train to Seattle then fly. Just a better experience all around.
Thursday I didn’t have much of a plan besides seeing the show. I was hungry so started making my way towards downtown to find some food. It was pretty late in the afternoon so the city was quite. I found Blueacre Seafood. Good stuff but I thought overpriced for what I got. Good selection of beer and seafood. I found severalkick ass stationary stores and even a spot to grab a cupcake. Cupcakes Royale not nearly as good as Cupcakes Actually. Sometimes I miss the things from home. I found myself down by the water and stopped by Pike’s Place Market.
That evening I wanted something good to eat near the Neptune Theatre and found Big Time Brewing Co. for some local craft beer and food. I had a craving for tacos that night and ordered some pretty good ones. They where simple and filling and the perfect thing to fill my belly before rocking out to another night of The New Mastersounds. The beer was pretty good as well. I had the Coal Creek Porter and Skosh, both above average beers for me.
The band kicked ass again that night. Even though I just saw them two nights before in Portland it was another great show by the band. The crowd was energetic and the theater is rather spectacular. A converted single screen movie theater the place looks really good with all the art deco and classic turn of the century theater styling. Less then a thousand people can be seated in the place. No dance floor, all seat. Really nice place I would certainly see another show here.
Friday was a full day in the city so I was excited to get started. I got a decent start to the day with breakfast at the hotel before heading downtown to the Seattle Art Museum. This place was amazing. A truly great museum with all sorts of stuff in their collection. New, old, lots of western, sculptures and plenty of open spaces to get lost looking at art on the wall or in front of you. After walking around the museum I worked up an appetite and found Shawn O’Donnell’s which was pretty good. It was late afternoon and the place was dead. I was just happy they where still serving food as several other places I found where closed.
With no real plan I just kept walking around the city and getting further and further into south Seattle, a new place to explorer for me. Its mostly a warehouse district that appears to be going through a transition at the moment. Seapine Brewing Co. was an awesome find out here in the hinter lands. A huge traditional brewing operation in my opinion. Lots of tables and high tops in the front with the bar covering the brewing operations in the back of the warehouse. The Hefeweizen and Mosaic Pale both received above average ratings. A great selection and I would definitely come back here to try their other offerings. No food but I can live with that. After a great day in Seattle it was time to make the long walk back to the hotel for a good nights rest. Saturday was going to be a rather busy day for me.
I had a late morning flight from SEA to DEN which would get me to Denver with plenty of time to check into the hotel, bum around for a bit and then head to the show in Broomfield. That was the only problem was the show was in Broomfield and it ended up being a nightmare getting to and from on public transit. Everyone is trying to be green and it just overloaded the system that night around the venue. I eventually gave up taking the bus and got an Uber instead. Coming back I almost didn’t make it onto the bus. Another thing that ticked me off was my room wasn’t ready in time. I got to the hotel and dropped by stuff off but I had to come back later to actually check in.
Denver has no lack of breweries but because of time constraints I ended up going back to Wynkoop Brewing Co. I knew they had food and good beer from one of my other visits to Denver. They didn’t disappoint then and not this time either. I had some wonderfully filling food and good beer to get me ready for the LCD show. They was some weird DJ that opened and he sucked. My ticket was in the general admission seating at the back of the venue. The place didn’t sell out and while the floor was sell out it was pretty empty all night. I felt disconnected from the show I was so far way from the stage, honestly it was kind weird sitting there watching the show. The ticket was already expensive but I should have upgraded for a closer view.
Two hours after they took the state I was out the door trying to make it back to downtown. There where so many people and so few buses. I almost didn’t make it and really didn’t want to pay $60 for an Uber if I didn’t have to. Eventually I got back to the hotel after a long day and crashed. My adventure wasn’t over just yet, I still had to get home. I had a late afternoon flight combined with a late check out which was perfect. I got some breakfast and then wrote letters while watching Sunday Morning. Next I headed to Commons Park for one last cigar before my flight.
In the end I used cars, bus, train, plain, metro, light rail and walked a ridiculous amount of miles. Even for me this was one for the books. That night when I got home I didn’t do anything but grab some food and go to bed. Monday was going to come early and I wasn’t prepared. I forgot to take my mandatory vacation after my vacation.
The New Mastersounds
Thursday, November 9th 2017
Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
Kung Fu opened
Set 1 starts at 10:21pm
Set over at 11:47pm house lights
Encore at 11:48pm
House lights at 11:59pm
Saturday, November 11th 2017
1STBANK Center – Denver, CO
Set 1 starts at 9:16pm
1. Oh Baby
2. Daft Punk is Playing at My House
3. I Can Chang
4. Call the Police
5. Get Innocuous!
6. You Wanted a Hit >
9. Someone Great
10. Change Yr Mind
11. Tonight >
12. Home >
13. I Want Your Love
14. New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
Set over at 10:41pm
Literally a piss break.
Set 2 starts at 10:47pm
1. Yr City’s a Sucker
2. Dance Yourself Clean
3. All My Friends
House lights at 11:11pm
This weekend I planned on heading to the burbs in a great adventure to find a Christmas tree. I knew I wanted something real and figured I would just find a potted plant like I did last Christmas and not think about it again. When I was over at Bobby and Tracy’s earlier watching the Skins they mentioned going to Mt. Hood to cut their own trees. Anyone can do it. All you need is a $5 permit and your good to go.
The weather was challenging all day on the mountain. The weekend prior was pretty warm but this weekend was much colder at elevation. As soon as we left Vancouver for the staging house it was raining. Once we got to above 3300′ or so it was all snow. In fact it snowed the entire time on the mountain.
About half way up the mountain we came across this Subaru on the side of the road. You could see the skid marks as the car lost control. Lucky for the two passengers it stayed on the road but just barely. The car had settled on the frame and one wheel. We where in a group of overlanders heading to cut trees so the perfect group you want to run across when you need to be pulled off the side of a mountain. Bobby was second in line with a winch and assisted pulling the Subaru out.
By this point it was already getting into the middle of the afternoon. The constant snow, cold, and wet was getting to me. Bobby was already not feeling well and the kids wanted nothing more then to play in the snow. We got to the top of the mountain and things feel apart rather quickly within the group. I quickly found my tree but Tracy took a little longer to secure her family tree. She kept wanting these 15′ and taller trees which we couldn’t cut. With our tree loaded on the truck we meet everyone further up the trail. It was so cold and wet I couldn’t get a fire going for warmth. It wasn’t long after this we all abandoned the mountain and headed for home. Mt. Hood has beaten on us all day and we had had enough.
None of us felt like doing much, least of all cook dinner. A nice bowl of pho was in order for everyone. Healthy, tasty and warm soup was the perfect thing to end the day.
A while back I put in motion a trip over Veterans Day weekend. The trip would involve a couple of cities and two bands. The first leg was Seattle and the second was Denver. The good thing about The New Mastersounds show in Seattle was it was a part of their west coast tour. They were playing Portland as part of the same tour. I saw them last on the east coast for their winter tour and thought it would be fitting to catch as many shows as possible on this west coast fall tour.
The Portland show was a no brainier honestly as this is in my back yard. I was so existed you would have thought I would have a better plan then I did. My whole night was planned around just getting to the Wonder Ballroom and seeing what happens. I did a map search and noticed there would be plenty to keep my occupied before the show.
First thing is always food. On the same block as the theater was Russell St. BBQ. Some really decent BBQ here let me tell you. I got the port shoulder without sauce and I am glad I did. It had a great smoke flavor that was pronounced but not overpowering. It was a little dry but not a deal breaker by any means. Sides all traditional and very good. I wish I could have stayed for dessert but I was so full I had to skip it. I let my dessert be beer.
Not very far from everywhere was Ex Novo Brewing Co.. I had plenty of time to kill before the show so ponied up for a couple of beers here. Really cool place I must say. Serves food and has a second floor. You can see the brewery making equipment right from the bar which was cool. Decent beer with lots to explore on the menu. I was actually able to see the Trail Blazers game and unfortunately they lost that night to the Memphis Grizzles.
I honestly spent to much time at Ex Novo but it was a good hanging out. Kung Fu was opening and started at 8:30 that night. I unfortunately missed their set completely because I was to busy drinking beer. I just didn’t feel like standing around waiting for The New Mastersounds, the brewery was a much better option.
The Wonder Ballroom really just is four walls and a roof. Very simple design, I can’t stress that enough. The front part of the building is large enough for a ticket booth and bathrooms, that is it. There is a very small second balcony area that looks rickety as hell. There is a downstairs bar and smoking area but I didn’t get a chance to explore that area. Certainly an interesting place to see a concert.
The New Mastersounds kicked ass that night. Another great performance by the band. As a change of pace Simon Allen was back at drums. The last few shows I have seen of The New Mastersounds have been with Alan Evans which was awesome to see him sit in. Many of the same classic songs I am use to with the same energy as always. They actually mentioned there was no official setlist for the night, they were going to just going with the flow of the audience. Their song catalog is now large enough they can play nearly two hours without fear of repeating anything or losing the vibe.
Another great performance by The New Mastersounds and a good evening out. I found another great BBQ place in Portland and another brewery checked off my list. I am excited to see them again in two days in Seattle which should be a great time as well.
My friend Jeremy was in town and we decided to do a typical Portland thing and visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for the day. Jeremy had actually been there as a kid so for him it was a homing coming. For me this was my first visit, I was playing tourist in my own hometown for once.
We didn’t find this out till after the fact but it was the last weekend of the special exhibit Pompeii and the museum was smashed. If I had know that we probably would have skipped the museum on this trip. As the day went on the line to get into Pompeii just kept growing. We eventually decided to just skip the special exhibit which was unfortunate.
Now the rest of the museum was great. The exhibits are fun and for the most part interactive in some way. This is certainly a museum geared towards kids but as an adult I found the hands on stuff great. They have an interactive sand projector exhibit that mimics water flowing. You could make it “rain” and see how water would flow down the side of the mountain. You will also find the USS Blueback anchored outside and is itself a floating museum.
I liked the museum. Very interactive and great for kids of all ages. I wish we could have seen the special exhibit but I will be around for the next one when it premiers. Makes me wonder how large the museum really is when you factor in the special exhibit space.