All posts by Justin

moe. Revolution Hall Friday, February 28th 2020

February ended up being a busy month for concerts. The PDX Jazz Festival was this month and I saw two shows in a row the weekend before. Friday night was Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Saturday it was Antibals. It was another Friday night and moe. was playing at the Revolution Hall a few blocks from my house. This place is not the biggest but it is really cool.

An old school that has been turned into a multi use building. One of the space is for a concert hall in what was the old school auditorium. There is a pretty big second level which I have yet to see but it looks nice up there. Most of the main floor is seated which is a change for a place this size. Very old and classic wooden auditorium chairs that are pretty worn out. Way down in front there is a dance floor which is usually packed with people. Honestly with all the chairs the places doesn’t really feel packed which is nice. The moe. show that night was sold out but I felt like there was plenty of space to move and not feel crowded. We were only just starting to understand covid-19 in this country so I’m sure some people stayed home out of an abundance of caution.

I got there a little after 7:30pm and sat right next to the light board in the middle of the floor. The section to my left was the sound board and I knew no one would be coming that way. I was also at the end of the row so there wold be at least one space between me and someone else. Even in front the woman didn’t sit directly in front of me which I thought was weird but appreciated. This spot allowed me a good view of the light guy who was interesting to watch all night. Seemed like most of the show is pre programmed as he just “randomly” smashed buttons. He literally had a button labeled “Tap” which I was curious about. At times he would bang away at that button. Anyway a good view of the stage and I could take a seat if I wanted.

Settling in for a spacey night of moe.

That night it was a weird audience for sure. Covid-19 was really only just starting to hit the US. There where a few cases in Washington and they found an early case west of Portland a few days before. That weekend the city prepared for what was to come. Friday night we all just tried to enjoy ourselves and have a good night.

A smaller venue for moe. to play I thought but a good stage. Because the venue is not very large everyone gets a good line of sight. I love the small dance floor and the option to sit down if you want it. Anyway I thought the first set, the entire night in fact, was very spacey. It was a lot of far out and jammy shit in my opinion. Definitely some different stuff then I have seen live over the last few years. It was great to see this different side of moe. I don’t think it is a larger shift in how the band sounds just an expression in the moment of space and time.

Set break was rather interesting that night. The woman in front of me really wanted to talk. I was tapping away on my phone writing a post but she was persistent. She even mentioned she would circle back as I continued to write. Eventually she did and we talked for quite a while during the break. Certainly much more liberal than I am. I got the feeling that she didn’t like me very much but that was ok. We managed to each keep a level head and talk about a lot of touchy subjects. It was more important to being correct was more important than being right.

moe. set 2

moe. really keep with a schedule that night. Second set started on the dot and continued the spacey jams for the rest of the night. It was just some very good relaxing stuff to be listening to. With everything that was going on and especially with everything that I know now after the show, it was great to just relax to a live concert with others. With the slow downtempo space beats it really added to the vibe for the evening. A sold out show according to ticket sales but pretty sparse the day of the show.

A great concert that evening for the start of the 30th anniversary tour. At first I wasn’t sure the show would go on but I was glad it did. Great performance by the band. Even if the light show was all pre programmed. The space jams really is what I enjoyed most. Just kicking back listening to some good music close to home.


moe. Friday, February 28th 2020
Revolution Hall
1300 SE Stark St
Portland, OR

Sold Out

Set one starts at 8:02pm

  1. Crab Eyes *
  2. Water >
  3. Meat >
  4. It >
  5. Gone >
  6. Billy Goat >
  7. Meat
    Set over at 9:21pm

Set two starts at 10:00pm

  1. Along for the Ride >
  2. Waiting for the Punchline
  3. Godzilla >
  4. Jazz Cigarette 
  5. Runaway Overlude #
  6. Silver Sun
    Set over at 11:07pm

Encore starts at 11:10pm

  1. Akimbo 
  2. Captain America

House lights at 11:21pm

Notes
* with Jake Cinninger
# Blue Oyster Cult cover


First Day of Spring

March 19th 2020. First day of spring and while this should be a festive time celebrating new beginnings and the coming bounty is just all seems weird. Covid-19 is taking over and lots of people are fearful and panic. Nature doesn’t care. She moves to her own drum and right now its the first day of spring. The weather perfect. Mostly clear with the sun still out shining brightly later in the afternoon. It was even hot with temps in the low 60’s. Reminds me there are a lot of good things in this world.

Many of the stores around my neighborhood are closed. Others that can stay open are but you can tell they are hurting for business. We will get through this but we must do it together.


Antibalas Stage 722 Saturday, February 22nd 2020

Second day of the PDX Jazz Festival for me and I was out seeing more live music. This night it was Antibalas playing at a new venue I had never heard of, Stage 722. Unlike the night before I didn’t over sleep and made it was plenty of time to see all the acts performing that night.

First time at this venue and checking the site they don’t book many shows. A newer space based on the construction. When you first walk in it is lined with food stalls to the right serving all sorts of food. This is also where some benches are to sit. There is a huge bar in the middle but it’s difficult to get to. The bar also have this huge weird drywall all the way to the ceiling which just looks out of place. In the back is another small bar. Never made it to the second level to check it out. Looks like maybe some stools or maybe bar tables up there. The stage is along the entrance wall and the floor is polished concrete.

First up was POPgoji who started at 9pm on the dot. Not my type of music. They reminded me a lot of this band that opened for George Porter Jr. that I believe was from New Orleans. POPgoji had a lot of bass drums which didn’t fit every song. Lots of horns. Just something I had a hard time getting into.

The True Loves

The True Loves who performed next I was excited to see yet again. It was not till this time around that I recognized Skerik whom I saw as a part of Garage-a-Trio. Most recently in Seattle for a three show reunion run. I have seen The True Loves a few times so I’m surprised it took me this long to figure it out. This is also the closest I’ve been to the band so I could see his face. Another good set from them that night. A few covers but a good amount of energy. At the end of the set they plugged their after party performance at Jack London Revue which I thought was in poor taste. Sorry not everyone at this sold out show for the Antibalas was there to see just you guys.

The Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe show the night before was over before Antibalas even took the stage this evening. I was not sure how long they would play but I knew it was going to be a late night. I was glad it was a Saturday and the venue close to my apartment. They played till almost 1am and it was an amazing show. I love the afrobeat rhythms from them. Played some of their earlier work and from their new album that just dropped, Fu Chronicles.

Well before the end of the night people started dropping like flies. I know it’s late but it was sold out and Saturday night. I feel more people should have stayed till the end. Only real disappoint was no encore that night. Try as we might we couldn’t get the band back for another song. Maybe it was the thinned out crowd.

Antibalas

At the end of the set Amayo made a similar speech like Karl did the night before. I don’t remember the exact words but it was a group chant he starts that I have heard at a previous Antibalas show. Something like “love will overcome.” The point was more love from everyone in this world. Something we can always use more of.

An interesting venue to say the least. I can honestly say I have never seen a design quite like this one. Certainly a good multi use space for all types of events. Not really sure how well it works for a music venue but I would come back. I will skip POPgoji next time, not my thing. The True Loved kicked ass and Antibalas brought the house down with their African rhythms.


Antibalas
Saturday, February 22nd 2020
Stage 722 – Portland, OR

Sold Out

POPgoji from 9pm off at 9:41pm
The True Loves from 9:56pm off at 10:47pm

Set 1 starts at 11:16pm

  1. .
  2. Song played on the radio I recognize
  3. .
  4. Another one I know but not the name

  5. Set over at 12:50am

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Crystal Ballroom Friday, February 21st 2020

The PDX Jazz festival 2020 stared on Wednesday and first up was Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at Crystal Ballroom. Regular watcher of KDTU who plays some great funk and soul. Karl is a busy man so it’s always a pleasure seeing him swing through town.

I took a nap before the show that night and almost slept through it. I set an alarm but that didn’t matter. I eventually got hot and remembered I was still in my jeans and then quickly realized it was for a reason. I left my house at 8:45pm and drove as fast as safety would allow to the Crystal Ballroom. Thankfully it didn’t take long to get there and I found street parking close to the venue. I would normally walk but time was critical.

Getting into the Crystal Ballroom was much quicker this time around. This time the line didn’t wrap around the block, it barely made it out of the lobby. Still one at a time through the metal detector but this time just way fewer people than when seeing Yonder Mountain String Band in January. The line should have been an indication, the place wasn’t very busy. It was close to show time and I had no problem getting a prime spot in front of the stage. Even as the show started there was plenty of room to move around. You couldn’t go wild but certainly there was enough room to groove.

A really good set list even if I thought it was short one. I missed the opening act so that is certainly one reason I wished KDTU played longer. Good mix of some old songs and new stuff from Gnomes and Badgers. Such good funk, soul and groove. The band members really jell well together.

It seemed as soon as the set started it was over. The penultimate song I’m Your Biggest Fan led into what would be the final song of the show. As the groove got going on the segue it started to sound familiar. Very quickly I realized it was Jessica by the Allman Brothers Band. Nailed it! They played that song so well and gave it a great KDTU twist with all the horns and fat grooves. For Boogaloos we got a dance show as well.

It was such a high energy show that night. Karl ended the show with a small speech about the times we live in. He said something that stuck with me and I have repeated to many people already. It’s not important to be right but correct. We need to talk to each other in a civil way. When we do that we can solve any challenges we face.

While not as long a set as I would have liked it was an amazing night of music. I walked out of there and had such energy from the set. My soul felt better as well. It was filled with love and confident we could come together and make peace. The power of music really amazes me.


Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Friday, February 21st 2020
Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR

Set 1 starts at 9:26pm

  1. ?
  2. Shake It
  3. The Bridge
  4. What If You Knew I’d Let You Down
  5. Satisfied
  6. ?
  7. Everybody Knows That
  8. Under My Skin (?) >
  9. drum solo >
  10. Under My Skin (?)
  11. Change My Way
  12. Brother’s Keeper
  13. I’m Your Biggest Fan
  14. Jessica *
    11:07pm set over

Encore starts at 11:08pm

  1. Boogaloos
    House lights at 11:15pm

Snow Moon at Cape Disappointment

North Head Lighthouse on the cliff warning boaters.

Oh the winter months here in the pacific northwest. They are cold, rainy and you can go for days without seeing the sun. Honestly it can be depressing so when an opportunity presents itself to camp in winter I was in. Just getting outside for a night with friends and family, sit by the fire, it was something I needed.

Razor clams where in season and low tide coincided with a Saturday night. The Calizon’s were heading up and invited Jenny, I and a few others. I needed out of the house so I was in. Jenny was able to switch around a few things so it worked out that we both could go camping that weekend. Look up at the stars next to a warm fire.

Bobby booked camp sites at Cape Disappointment State Park next to the beach. the spot was large enough that we could pitch our tent and everyone had plenty of space. I couldn’t wait to leave my apartment and get some fresh air. Even better would be the salty ocean air which I rarely get to experience.

We couldn’t leave till early Saturday morning and the park is 2.5 hours away. We got on our way mid afternoon. For part of the trip to the coast it was pouring rain. I had been checking the weather the last week and it was going to be clear. We just had to get past a little rain on the way out but after that it was clear.

Before long we made it to Long Beach and met everyone at a scoop shop in town. I knew Ras and Amanda were coming but I was surprised to see Mark and his daughter. Everyone was sitting outside devouring ice cream when we walked up. We quickly said hello and headed to camp.

That night we got our own spot instead of doubling up with Bobby and Tracy. There were spaces next to everyone and we felt it was the least we could do. We were happy to be there so $30 for the night was a bargain. We quickly put up the tent and joined everyone at the camp fire. We didn’t have it lit but we where getting our chairs gathered for later in the evening.

Low tide was going to be around 6:30pm that night. As the sun started to set we put on our boots and headed down to the beach to hunt razor clams. Soon the sun set over the horizon produced a spectacular light show. As the stars stated to come out we got to digging.

Finding the little buggers is much harder than I expected. I still don’t know what I was looking for but with the help of Jenny I dug up two that night. She was an excellent spotter and I was quick with the shovel. I think collectively we caught 5 or 6 which isn’t that much. We were not going to feast at camp with what we caught that night.

North Head Lighthouse

The weather got cold quick when the sun disappeared. Not being very successful we headed back to camp to get a fire going. A fire was starting to sound real appealing. We spent hours that night around the fire cooking all sorts of stuff. Spam in a can in a can as Tyson pointed out. Hot dogs and even some hobo chili. It was awesome just hanging out with everyone by the fire under the stars. This is exactly what Jenny and I needed. Get back to nature for and recharge.

The next morning we packed up and did a hike in the park before heading home. We hiked to North Head Lighthouse which was a good hike. It was an out and back of only a few miles. The lighthouse has been there since 1898 and is still active today. Like all or certainly the majority of lighthouses in America this one is now completely automated.

After the hike we headed to Astoria for some coffee. We lucked out and found Columbia River Coffee Roasters right under the bridge. Standing in line I recognized the coffee bags. Grendel’s serves their coffee at their cafe. My cappuccino that day tasted just like it does at Grendel’s. We hung out here for a bit enjoying the passing scenery.

We squeezed every bit of time together we could that day. By the time we got to Portland we were hungry and I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. We went to Rams Head for a late lunch. I had a craving for a burger which I am happy to report was satisfied that afternoon.

A really great weekend hanging out with everyone at Cape Disappointment State Park. Sitting in front of the fire with the ocean waves in the back ground, roasting hotdogs looking up at the stars really was what we needed. I look forward to doing this again and simply getting out doors with Jenny more as the weather warms.