All posts by Justin

George Porter Jr. Trio at Gypsy Sally’s Friday, October 18th 2019

I was in Washington DC for a week of training and I didn’t want to waste my time in the hotel. In the end I saw two concerts the week I was in Washington. One was Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward at Jammin Java and the other was George Porter Jr. Trio at Gypsy Sally’s.

Honestly I have never heard for George Porter Jr. and never been to Gypsy Sally’s. I saw the concert listing on Jam Base and just wanted to watch some live music while in DC. It was a Friday show and I was flying out Saturday. Plus the venue was directly across the river from my hotel in Georgetown so an easy 15 minute walk for me. Everything told me I had to go see this show.

Let me start with the venue. When I arrive on Sunday I crossed the river and ate dinner at The Berliner. Come to find out Gypsy Sally’s is on the second floor of the same building. Right there across the river in Georgetown. Walk across the Key Bridge and head down to the water. Go upstairs to the second floor and you’re there. Not a lot of fan fair that leads you to the entrance so easy to walk past. Lots of tables in the back but it appears these are “reserved” for those wanting to eat food.

I was there early enough that I just posted up right in front of the stage. There might have been 20 people in the place but thankfully as the night wore on the place really started to fill in. By the time George Porter Jr. Trio took the stage the dance floor was reasonable packed and most of the tables were occupied. No natural light to speak of. Light setup is pretty basic and seems like the speaker system is basic as well. Sounds like there were some technical challenges setting up all the mics for the opening act, The Beats Hotel.

Terrence Houston

What a huge band for such a small ass stage. Not sure where they are from but they play New Orleans style music. Not bad, just not my taste in music to be honest. The “leader” was having a rough night. He wanted to be in control but the other band members were not having it. It was funny to watch, especially being so close to the stage. I could hear all the un-miced conversations. When their set ended I was ready for it to be over. The crowd loved them so that was good.

George Porter Jr. takes the stage and I am right in front of the drummer Terrence Houston. Now the drummer for The Beats Hotel was loud but Terrence totally blew him away. It was funny to see him take a swig of Crown Royal now and again. Terrence was going to have a good night for sure. Anyway after about 20 minutes I had to walk away. His drumming, even un-miced, was so loud. I could feel the kick drum in my check and every time he hit the cymbals my ears would ring. Just to much and I needed a break.

Besides it being extremely loud right in front of the drummer it was a good show. I was expecting more of a New Orleans vibe but that really wasn’t the bulk of the show. Only a song or two had that vibe. They played some jazz stuff but what shocked me more was all the Grateful Dead covers. Not sure what Porter’s relation to the Dead is but it must be a strong one. When George walked on stage I noticed a Grateful Dead Steal Your Face pin on his guitar strap. I tried to get a good look but I was it was to small for me to see. Certainly the Dead influence was there and it was awesome hearing the songs.

Most of the Grateful Dead songs happened near the end of the set. The encore was 2/3 Dead which was also awesome. By the time the encore rolled around the crowd had started to dwindle so only a hard core group of people remained at midnight. I thought it was a good performance. I could have done without The Beats Hotel but that is just because they are not my style of music. George and the crew did a great job. Mostly what I remember is how I felt standing in front of Terrence. So incredible loud.

George Porter Jr. Trio

After the show it was a nice walk back across the Key Bridge to the hotel. The weather had cooled but was still muggy as shit. I ended up getting a late night meal at McDonald’s and unwound for a bit. The following day I was excited to headed home to Portland. I didn’t know it at the time but that night was the last good night I would have for a while. As soon as I woke up on Saturday I new I was getting sick. I proceeded to nose dive for the next 4 days before taking about 7 days to fully recover.

My trip to DC for training was a memorable one. Not for the training which I have mostly forgotten. But for the two shows and a few key purchases I made. Even the food wasn’t bad for the most part.

George Porter Jr. Trio
Friday, October 18th 2019
Gypsy Sally’s – Washington DC
The Beats Hotel opened

George Porter Jr. – bass
Michael Lemmler – keys
Terrence Houston – drums

Set starts at 10:25pm

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  2. .
  3. .
  4. They Love Each Other
  5. Just Kissed My Baby
  6. .
  7. .
  8. .

Set over at 11:55pm

Encore starts at 11:57pm

  1. Sugaree >
  2. . >
  3. Turn on Your Love Light

House lights at 12:11am

Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward at Jammin Java Thursday, October 17th 2019

Music! Music! Music! by Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward

Traveling for work is not always the most fun. What it does allow me is the off chance of seeing a band I really like in a completely different location than where I live. Yes it might be my old stomping ground but not all the bands I enjoy are willing to make the trip to the west coast. This past trip back home I lucked out because Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward were playing at the Jammin Java in Vienna.

I saw them almost a year ago at Mississippi Studios back home in Portland. At the time it was just billed as the Charlie Hunter Trio. This was the regular rotating cast of characters Charlie has played with for years now. During that 2018 performance they mentioned working on a new album that would be released the following year. To be honest all of this completely skipped my mind and I had clean forgot about it. This show was a jolt back to that last performance and the excitement I felt then as I waited for the album to be released.

Charlie and Lucy released that album titled Music! Music! Music! and had been on tour for a while supporting it by the time they played Jammin Java. They just got back from eastern Europe and started the east coast leg of the tour. I know that later the tour will take them west to my neck of the woods as I already plan to see them when they play at Mississippi Studios this December. Finally, before the end of the year it is 6 shows in UK before six shows back in Europe. That is a lot of travel around north America and Europe is a rather short amount of time.

I got my ticket less then 24 hours before the show. I wasn’t worried about getting a ticket but I certainly didn’t expect a good seat. I lucked out when it came to my seat. I got a prime spot right in the middle at one of the first tables. Someone at my table bought 3 tickets so I took the last spot available at that table. What a close seat. With the stage not very hit off the ground and it such a small venue, the band was really close.

The setlist was what I expected and followed the same playful song selection when I saw them a year ago. Mix of old, classic, funk, pop, etc… All done in that typical guitar style Charlie is known for. It was kinda funny that evening. This was after they got back from several eastern European gigs. You could tell they had been cramped in a small bus traveling together for to long. The music was spot on, it was the banter between songs that was just as memorable.

During the set break they had copies of the new album on vinyl. I didn’t have any cash but thankfully there was an ATM next door. I stood in line and got the album signed by both Lucy and Charlie. The whole time I was waiting I thought of what I would say. In the end I was such a fan girl words were hard to speak. I thanked him and said I have been enjoying his music for over 15 years which really surprised him. I was just happy to shake his hand and meet him in person after all these years. Really cool.

What a night. It started with a train ride to Tysons Corner for dinner at Founding Farmers before an after dinner walk to the Jammin Java from the metro station. A kick ass show where I got to shake Charlie’s hand and enjoy two sets of really great music from the trio. Getting home I missed the last train which really pissed me off because I made it in time according to the posted schedule. Nothing a Lyft ride back to Roslyn couldn’t fix.

Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward w/ Doug Belote on drums
Thursday, October 17th 2019
Jammin Java – Vienna, VA

Set one starts at 8:09pm

  1. .
  2. .
  3. Kiss and Tell
  4. .
  5. Never Gonna Get It
  6. You Might Think
  7. Be My Husband
    Set over at 856pm

Set two starts at 9:23pm

  1. You’re the One That I Want
  2. ? By Betsy smith in 1846?
  3. Spoonful
  4. .
  5. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
  6. .
    Set over at 10:06pm

Encore starts at 10:07pm

  1. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
    House lights at 10:13pm

Summit of Neahkahnie Mt. October 2019

Spending a week back in Virginia for work I was excited to get home. There is just something about being back in Virginia that is soul sucking. Midway through the trip I got an email from Jenny. She wanted to go for a hike along the coast and wanted me to come along. I was already starting to miss home so I jumped at the chance to go for a hike with her when I got back. She found a few spots and a tourist information site for Cannon Beach so we were ready as we could be for the adventure in front of us.

We got a super early start on Sunday, meeting at my house at 7am. The night before I saw the New Mastersounds at the Wonder Ballroom so I was pretty tired. The drive out to the beach was only 1.5 hours and it was actually a pretty good one. The fog was super dense around town and as we headed up into the mountains. Half the trip we couldn’t see 100 yards in front of us which was cool.

Jenny picked the trail heading to the summit of Neahkahnie Mt in Oswald West State Park. I think round trip it was about 6 miles. I was more concerned about the elevation change then the distance. Looking at the trail map the lower section of the trail was all switch backs. They only use those when the grade is steep. Ugh. In the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I had no problem keeping up with Jenny that morning as we hiked up the mountain.

Along the coast the fog was already gone but that didn’t mean the trail wasn’t beautiful. Going up we didn’t run into anyone. On occasion we would stop to look at nature and I always noticed how quiet it was. Lower elevations you could hear the cars from the highway but this quickly faded away till we eventually only heard the rustling of the trees.

The view from the summit once we made it was amazing. From the top we had a perfect look down the coast line as far as the eye could see. We could also see a little into the ocean from the vantage point and of course a good view of Neahkahnie. We were shocked at the number of people at the summit but after spending some time I understand why. We just hung out eating the lunch we brought, enjoying the view.

I like the mural and you get a good view of the kitchen too. Wood everywhere and a huge ceiling.

The trip down was pretty easy compared to going up. We ran into way more people hiking up as we came down. Getting that early start was really paying off. The parking lot was full with people were having trouble finding spots by the time we got back to the car. We cleaned up a little and decided to head to Cannon Beach for lunch. We decided on Pelican Brewing for a well deserved beer and food.

I have been to their brewery in Pacific City and I was impressed. The food was creative and both the food and beer were good. This being the flag ship brewpub it was also well appointed. No parking to speak of but the architecture more than made up for it. Lots of exposed wood beams, open and airy is how I would describe the feeling. Huge vaulted ceiling, concrete floors and wood tables all over the place. Bar area is pretty big with lots of bar stool seating. You have a decent view of some large brewing equipment. You also get a nice view of the kitchen and all the activity that is going on there.

After some good food and a well deserved beer we headed down to the water for a walk. It was only early October but the weather was already pretty cold. It was mostly the wind that made it so cold. We didn’t even bother getting our feet wet as it will be way to cold. Lots of other people out that afternoon enjoying the beach which was nice.

A great time along the cost when I got back into town. Trips like this remind me all the time why I enjoy living out here in Portland so much. In less then two hours I an get to the beach and have a change of pace. The same distance the other direction I can be at 10,000′ in the mountains. The view from the summit was amazing, the beer was cold and the walk along the beach magical.

National Gallery of Art October 2019

I was in Washington DC for a week of training and like all the training I have been to there is down time. Especially the last day when brains are fried and everyone is looking forward to going home. While physically we are there, mentally we checked out the day before. Or maybe that’s just me.

Friday we only had a little material to cover, a practice test, and out around 2pm. That left me a lot of time to kill in the city and I made the most of it. After training I headed to Fahrney’s Pen to buy a pen I saw a few days earlier. That night I was going to see George Porter Jr. Trio but had several hours to kill before that show kicked off.

Photographic and Systematic Chart of Moon, Plates I.A – XXIV.A by Charles Le Morvan published 1914.

My objective was to sit and relax so I decided to visit the National Gallery of Art to get a little writing done and enjoy some art. They had a special exhibit on the moon landing as it was the 50th anniversary and that was pretty cool. The Photographic and Systematic Chart of Moon installation took a bunch of smaller images of the moon and put them together to make a complete picture of the moon. Also saw some of the old masters on the main floor. I even managed to find an extremely old picture of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The picture is 135 years old but the canyon looks just like it did a hundred years ago, just in color now.

Twice I stopped to write letters. I don’t remember the paintings or the artists but I made my own version of each on a couple of the note cards. Really awful copies but I was very proud of my work. It was nice hanging out at the museum soaking up as much culture as I could in the limited amount of time I had.

Before I knew it announcements about the museum closing could be heard over the PA system. Always a good time at the National Gallery of Art. I can certainly spend hours here but I will take whatever limited time I can get. Not sure when I will be back in DC but I look forward to coming back and seeing what they have next time I’m rolling through town.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Falls by F. Jay Haynes c. 1884.
This is from September 2019. Copyright Ras.

Various photos of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

Billy Cobham Star Theater Tuesday, October 8th 2019

Not sure how I saw the show alert but as soon as I did I was interested. It has been 17 years since I last saw him on a whim. Back then I was taping a lot of live concerts and a friend ask me to tap Billy Cobham at The Birchmere. I love music so I was interested. Jeremy and I arrived late as Billy was already on stage playing. We walked into to see him just whaling on the drums. That show was so good that night so when I saw him coming back through town I just had to go. I asked Jenny if she was interested and we made it a date.

First time seeing a show at the Star Theater and it is an interesting place. Doing a little reading on the venue it is long been known for porn, strippers and burlesque. Here recently it has been turned into a music venue and a pretty nice one at that. It is narrow but long with the front taking up the box office and bar area. The stage is elevated and for tonight’s show it was fully seated show which was cool. Some long benches on the side of the venue and additional seating upstairs but not sure how much.

Funny thing is I arrived a few minutes before Jenny did that night and ran into Andy from my last job. Honestly I wasn’t surprised to see him that night as he is pretty into jazz like me. He totally lucked out and was able to get one of the limited walk up tickets as this show was sold out. It was so great catching up with him and talking about Billy. I relayed my story of seeing him 17 years ago and we both were super excited to see him.

Jenny arrived and we chatted before the start of the show. There was a sign on the door saying the performance would start at 8:30pm and with no opening act I didn’t think it would last very long. It was actually a pretty packed stage with all the band members. It was really Billy’s drum set that took up much of the space. That set is just crazy when you look at it.

I gotta say the show itself was pretty damn good. It started off rather well with some pretty upbeat stuff. It was mostly the fusion style of jazz that I was expecting to hear that night from Billy. He was promoting a new album that just went on sale so it was a pretty heavy rotation of those songs. The middle section of the show was rather slow and melodic which I didn’t care for but the end of the show brought the energy back.

One thing that bedeviled me all night was the sound. Jenny and I were positioned right by the sound board and all night the two guys running the board kept tweaking and working on things. At one point it looked like the monitor for the keyboardist died. To their credit they worked out all the issues but it was annoying seeing them constantly going back and forth from the stage fixing and adjusting things. There was even a medical emergency that night but the show went on despite it.

Such a great time seeing Billy Cobham play again. I loved running into Andy and geeking out about jazz. Seeing it with Jenny and how much see enjoyed it made it that much better for me. A good night of fusion jazz in a great looking venue. Can’t wait to see him again. Hopefully I won’t wait 17 years to see him next.

Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project Featuring Randy Brecker
Tuesday, October 8th 2019
Star Theater – Portland OR

Show starts at 8:33pm

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House lights at 10:13pm