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.
My friend Jeremy was in town for the weekend and since he wasn’t leaving till Tuesday we decided to see Hudson at Newmark Theatre. I was thinking of seeing the show but when Jeremy said he was coming that weekend I knew we had to go. The really awesome thing was my ticket was free. My birthday isn’t till later but since Jeremy wouldn’t be around at that time tonights ticket was on him. We decided to celebrate a little early this year.
The day of the show I meet Jeremy at my apartment after he was out doing Portland stuff. We prepped and headed to downtown, first to grab some grub and then catch the show. This was more of a traditional show so the start time of 7:30 was honor. We grabbed dinner at the East Side Delicatessen just down the street before walking into the venue.
The venue is a little weird. Its appears to be a two block complex of various theaters for events. The Newmark Theatre reminds me the National Theatre in DC. About the same size, few hundred people at most, with three tiers of seating. We had two seats at the end of the aisle and honestly this was my only grip of the night. The “seats” were simple chairs that where the most uncomfortable pieces of crap I have ever spent two hours sitting in.
The venue was just about sold out and the crowd skewed older. I of course know John Medeski and John Scofield but Jack DeJohnette and Larry Grenadier are unknowns for me. They have an album out but I had not heard it before tonights performance. All I knew it had Medeski, Scofield and it would probably be straight ahead jazz. What it did end up having was several Jimi Hendrix covers which honestly I didn’t care much for. What I did enjoy was the improve jazz songs and compilations they did. That stuff was super heavy and awesome.
The show was 2 hours with encore but didn’t seem like it dragged on. The encore in fact was 20 minutes by itself which was awesome. All around a great show and I am happy we got a chance to see Medeski in an arrangement besides MMW. Not sure if Hudson will stick around or if this was a on shot deal but a great night of food, music and friends.
This past weekend I completed my cross country journey. I know that technically I already made it to the west coast and have actually been here for a couple of weeks. For me the journey wasn’t finished till I saw the pacific ocean for the first time. While I was in Newport, the further east on my journey, I saw the Atlantic from Fort Adams. This past weekend we headed to Cannon Beach along the Pacific over the Labor Day weekend.
This was just a day trip but a really cool beach town. We along with a ton of other people got of of town for the holiday. Traffic getting there was pretty bad but honestly it was expected. The town itself is a typical beach town in my opinion. It was packed with tourists, had little available parking, small hotels all over the place and typical beach shops. What I found to be different was the beach itself. Out here they are super wide and really cold. The only people I saw in the water had full wet suites, everyone else was ankle deep. The sand was also very different. Very fine and didn’t stick to anything if it wasn’t wet. The beach also didn’t have a lot of “junk” in it, just grains of sand which was refreshing.
I spent all afternoon on the beach which was nice. I was so exhausted and just happy to be there I just sat and watched the people. When the sun was shinning the temps and breeze off the water was nice. It wasn’t till late in the afternoon when the sun started to set that it got really hot which I am still getting use to. Everyone keep saying it was not your typical Oregon beach weather so I feel I lucked out on the weather. I didn’t leave my seat but there are tide pools and Haystack Rock to explore. This beach was also used in The Goonies movie so there is that little bit of nostalgia for me.
I have seen the Pacific, mission accomplished, move complete.
After my cross country journey I arrived in Vancouver to my step-sisters house on Thursday. The next day we packed up the car and headed to Walton Lake in the Ochoco National Forest for three nights of camping and to catch the total eclipse of the sun. Central Oregon was suppose to have some of the best watching as it is higher elevation with clear skies. With all the forest fires going on in the area I was surprised that besides Friday afternoon the entire weekend was clear of clouds and smoke.
Tracy and I arrived on Friday and the rest of the family arrived on Saturday. Bobby and the kids had been on a three week journey coming up from southern California seeing the sites and camping all the way to Walton Lake. It was great just spending the weekend hanging out and not doing much. After my 12 day adventure across the country relaxing in nature was exactly what the doctor order. I hiked up Round Mountain with Tracy and that had some spectacular 360 degree panoramic of the surrounding area. Very impress. We could actually see the music festival from the top of the mountain. I heard that 30,000 people attended the electronic festival and witnessed the eclipse. The rest of the time I spent sleeping, smoking cigar, cooking food, or down by the lake. Really great time there with everyone.
Come Monday it was time for the show we all came to witness. We secured a spot on the docks for our group and I spent all morning down there in anticipation. The eclipse started around 9:20am and totality didn’t happen till around 10:20. It was crazy seeing the entire area get darker as the sun was covered up. The temperature dropped noticeably during this time as well. You could feel the wind shift as the shadow tracked across the state.
I must say that during totality I had goose bumps for the entire 2:30 which was awesome. it got so dark and so cold during totality. We could finally take the glasses off and look directly at the sun which was awesome. We could clearly see the corona jetting out from the sun. I was impressed with how large it actually was. It was probably switch the size of the sun. As totality waned we got the see the diamond ring which another awesome aspect of totality. I wouldn’t say this was a life changing event by any means but it was so cool seeing totality in all its glory. Really made me appreciate nature and how wonderful it really is.
After the long weekend and 2:30 of totality it was all over. We hung out at the campsite for the rest of the afternoon thinking traffic would be horrible as everyone tried to leave at the same time. Thankfully there was no traffic so it just turned into a long drive getting home that night. After four hours and stop for dinner we where home. We all brought some stuff into the house and then I showered to clean three days of grim off me. That showered was amazing, almost as amazing as totality I have to say. Really an amazing experience and I was so glad I made it out to the west in time to see it.
Having a total eclipse cross the entire country is a rare event. I believe they are often in the middle of the ocean or only in very limited populated areas. Having it track across the entire country was a once in a few hundred years even from my understanding. Not sure if I will ever get to see one again but if the opportunity arises I will certainly make the effort. If you haven’t seen totality in person I would highly recommend making it at least once in your life. Really amazing stuff and makes you appreciate nature even more.