Tag Archives: Portland

Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group The Jack London Revue June 7th 2018

What started it all.

Everyday I walk to work. I take the same path and often I see the same folks. Its a nice routine I have in the morning and a good way to clear my head before I start my day. While I consider it trash I do look forward to seeing what new posters have been plastered around the neighborhood. Only in a city can this kind of advertising be tolerated and actual work at the same time.

This particular morning a new one caught my eye. It was for the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group. The way things looked and sounded The Jack London Revue was a classic jazz band playing at a club from the 60’s. With nothing better to do I decided to see a jazz show on a Thursday night. For not having much of a plan when I started things really worked out.

I was not to sure about the show so I keep things loose for the night. I walked to the venue and arrived just before 8pm. It was fleet week so I got to see the ships docked at sunset which was cool. Note, cash only cover charge which sucked. Another thing to understand is the venue really is in the basement of the building. You walk into a pool hall and in the back of the hall are stairs leading downstairs to the jazz club. I walked right past the entrance the first time because it is not clearly marked.

The Jack London Revue really does have that class small jazz club feel from the 60’s in New York City. Honestly the only thing that was missing was cigar smoke. The ceiling is low and unfinished yet painted black to dull the room. The lights are low which with the decor give the place a very relaxed and chill vibe. A low stage with the first few spots reserved for cocktail tables. The further back in the venue you got the more space there is for seating which I think is a good idea. Table service is offered and for the most part staff is respectful of the performance. By the second set things really started to break down however. Decent selection of beers and offer a full menu which is cool too.

Before the show even started I was already in love with the place. Not a large crowd which was great in my opinion. Things did fill out not long after the set started which was I am sure a good moral booster for the band. Not knowing how things would go I started with just a beer. If they sucked I didn’t want to get suckered into food too. Thankfully the band was pretty good so I stuck around for both sets. By the end of the night I had a couple beers and a sandwich which was ok, nothing special. I just loved the fact that I could get food, beer and listen to some good jazz in such an appropriate spot.

The music all night was great. The first set I thought was better then the second and mostly that was because of original songs. The first set seamed to have more of the band’s own material, most straight ahead jazz. The second set I believe had no original songs and way way more covers. Mostly of jazz classics but also pulling from a range of diverse genres. They also interacted more with the audience. Again with the classic jazz club vibe they asked where everyone was from and engaged those visiting from out of town. Come to find out this is their regular gig on Thursday nights at the Jack London Revue. Its good to know I have a dedicated place I can go to in the city for jazz.

As an added bonus for sticking around through both sets there was a free comedy show right after Mel Brown at 11pm. Since I was already there for the concert I stuck around for some comedy as well. All I will say about the comedy was you get what you pay for. After only three acts it was time for me to make my way home.

The venue is freaking amazing and the band was pretty good. Since this is a regular Thursday thing at The Jack London Revue I can see myself going back semi-regularly to catch a show and some free laughs.

 

Rebirth Brass Band Revolution Hall April 20th 2018

Rebirth Brass was one of many acts coming to town.

This show was kinda a list minute idea I had. As I was checking out what was coming to local venues I found that Soul’d Out was doing a multi venue music festival. One of those acts was the Rebirth Brass Band at the theater in my back yard, Revolution Hall. It was also a special night and a Friday on top of that so I just had to go.

After a regular day of work I got to enjoying the evening with a nice walk around the city. The weather was really starting to break and be enjoyable in the evening with the light being out later as well. I must have walked several miles around, lots of activity along the water and people out enjoying the beautiful weather.

I knew I would need fuel all night so I stopped at Danwei Canting for some street food. I loaded up on some spicy food. From here it was a short walk to the venue. When I walked in the lights were low and a few people milling on stage but nothing official. It seemed to me that some members were ready to start and others needed a few more minutes. The place was already pretty packed and the ticket taker suggested I try up stairs. I tried the floor and got a pretty good spot up front in the seated section near the sound board.

The show was really fun and a lot of energy.  They packed what was a small stage for the band with everyone and played their hearts out.  Not as much crowd involvement as the Antibalas but still lots of energy.  Seemed like a couple people in Portland have seen them perform live in NoLo at their regular gig which would be cool.

A really good night of booty shaking music. I guess my only real complaint is how long the show was.  I got there just before 10pm and didn’t see an opening act perform. I just thought they could have done two sets or at least kept playing. I mean I had time to stop at Voodoo Too for after show donuts and get home before it was even midnight. On a Friday no less. Despite that one hiccup everything else was great.

Rebirth Brass Band
Friday, April 20th 2018
Revolution Hall – Portland, OR

Set stars at 10:01pm
1. .
2. .
3. .
4. .
5. .
House lights at 11:27

Encore starts at 11:28pm
6. .
House lights at 11:31pm

 

Stickmen Brewing Co.

A gigantic brewery in an industrial area on the outskirts of town.

Another dreary Saturday afternoon so I decided to stop by a brewery. It all started because I needed a post office and all the ones in the city are closed on the weekend. I get it but it is inconvenient as hell. It means I have to travel to the burbs and if I am going that far I may as well make an afternoon of it.

I found Stickmen Brewing Co. in Tualatin which wasn’t far from the post office. This particular one I have been to before and has an automatic postal machine so they always have what I need. The brewery is in a large warehouse district and to be honest the place is to big. Their operation are already huge but the space they have, they can expand three times and still not fill it all. The ceilings must be fifty feet tall which is just bizarre to see a place so large.

The bar area isn’t as big as you would thing but its nice. Lots of benches in the place to foster meeting people and talking with them. They even have a nice large patio area outside with umbrellas so on nice days a good place to hang out. There is food onsite but its only pizza. Lots of different styles to choose from and the one I got was awesome.  It was a pear and Gorgonzola pizza which was really good. That is all they have but its really good. Bottles to go if you want to take something home with you.

Stickmen Purple Haze

This turned out to be a good afternoon of pregame. I managed to stick around for three beers which was awesome. The beer was nothing special, nothing blew my doors off or anything. But it was certainly nice just to hangout and relax while drinking beer. Later that afternoon I meet Bobby and Tracy at Church near my apartment. A friend of theirs was celebrating her birthday and they asked if I wanted to come along. Had a couple more beers here. It was great having some adult conversation.

I still needed to drive my car home but I took my time doing it. I walked through a boutique grocery store which was just about to close. Didn’t get a good luck around but had what I expected. Lots of specialty items and looks like some good prepared food too. Then I found The Pie Spot which had of all things, pecan pie. I don’t know what it is about the pacific northwest but they don’t make pecan pie up here and it kills me. I then saw chicken pot pie and got one of those for dinner. Both of these pies were really good and I highly recommend them if you are looking for something to eat in the area.

Antibalas Wonder Ballroom March 17th 2018

Everything you need to know in one sign.

Since seeing the Antibalas open for MMW so many years ago at the 9:30 Club I have wanted to see them again.  If I am correct they are from Ontario so east coast is harder for them to put a tour together.  I lucked out when I moved to Portland and caught their stop at the Wonder Ballroom on their recent swing through the northwest to ended their winter tour.

The show didn’t start till 8pm and for some reason I thought Antibalas would go on at 8 and play two sets.  Instead they had an opening act and they played one long ass set.  My timing was perfect when I arrived.  I rolled right up into the place and within 5 minutes the 1939 ensemble was taking the stage.  Needless to say I got really close since no one was in the place that early.  These guys were really enjoying themselves on stage and into the music.  They did some serious pre-game and where spot on for the night.  An interesting mix of instruments and music.

After a short break Antibalas took the stage and killed it.  Well with the exception of the first song or two, something like that.  The start was just a little weird, you had to be there but after that hiccup they where off like a rocket.  Because I arrived so early I was really close till the encore so I had a great view of the band.  It was amazing to see all these guys on this tiny little stage playing their hearts out.

The flow of the music and the rythm all night where great.  The crowd was really into the music and it was weird but at times the music was very relative to whats going on today.  It seemed like a political rally at times, it was great.  Marcus kept getting the crowd to chant between songs about love.  The world could certainly use more peace and love.  Such a great show and performance by the band.  Very happy I was able to make it that night.

This tour was in support of their new album.  Living in the pacific north west I hope I can see them more regularly then when they happen to release a new album.  Such energy and a vibe from the band and crowd.  The two that night where in perfect sync.

 

Antibalas
Thursday, March 15th 2018
Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR

1939 ensemble opened

Show starts at 9:12pm
1. ….
2. Dirty Money
3. .
4. .
5. Gold Rush
6. .
Set over at 10:50pm

Encore starts at 10:52pm
10. .
11. .
12. ?
House lights at 11:14pm

 

Dark Star Orchestra Roseland Theater February 9th 2018

Dark Star is another band that I haven’t seen in a long time and living out west now when bands I love come through town I make it a point to see them. I get to keep up with my favorite bands, explore the city I live in and start checking out the local music scene. So when Dark Star Orchestra announced two nights at the Roseland Theater I was execited. I don’t know how long its been but to long.

A well curated collection of bottles.

Night one was Friday and a co-worker of mine and I went to the show. We planned on a late night of drinking and no driving. We got together at 6 and headed to The Upper Lip for a few glasses before heading to the show. This was a great second story place Derek found. A quite and low key place but a great curated selection of bottles and draft beer. I loved it for the selection but also just the atmosphere. Not a lot of hustle and bustle, you could still talk to your friends and the decor was great. Wood and brick all over the place.

After a few drinks we headed to the venue for two sets. I was hoping for a cover performance but Friday ended up being an original set which was good. The venue is oddly designed. It’s two stories with the main stage on the second floor.  There is a small balcony that rings the stage as well. On the first floor is a smaller stage, a big bar and a general area to relax during the show and get away for a few minutes. The stage is only a few feet off the ground too. Seems very small and intimate when you are there but it is loud as all get out because of the small size.

The show was really great with a good mix of songs and styles. Derek and I kept getting beers during the first set and milling around in the back where there was a little more space. Since we arrived late neither of us felt the need to push our way through the crowd. Set break came and we needed one too. The venue was hot and muggy so we stepped outside for a smoke and to chill with everyone else. I love smokers, such friendly people.

Set two was just as good as the first. I for one was done drinking that night. We worked our way up pretty close to the stage for set two. We posted up in the back again and I got to dancing. It was the weirdest thing as I was dancing all of a sudden a woman’s starts dancing with me. She even kissed me and just like that she was gone. Strange folk here in Portland. It wasn’t long after the second set started that Derek had to head home for the night. I honestly wasn’t that far behind him. As the set went on I was getting more and more tired. All the alcohol was starting to catch up with me. I went down stairs for a few minutes but eventually decided to walk home. Unfortunately security took my cannabis on the way in so I didn’t have anything to smoke but it was fine. The weather was good and I needed the fresh air.

Unfortunately I drank to much that night and was sick all day Saturday. Like so sick I never got out of bed and slept through the second show. I was dissappointed I missed it but this just reminds me how much I don’t like to drink to excess.

Despite being sick all day Saturday and missing the second night, the Friday show was still a great one and so much fun. The beer was good, the music was good and the company was good. Don’t know how I feel yet about the Roseland Theater but I will certainly see DSO again when they roll through town.

 

Dark Star Orchestra
Friday, February 9th 2018
Roseland Theater – Portland, OR

Set One
The Wheel >
Johnny B. Goode
Loose Lucy
Passenger Mission In The Rain
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Mama Tried >
Mexicali Blues
We Can Run
Shakedown Street

Set Two
Man Smart (Woman Smarter) >
Touch Of Grey >
Throwing Stones >
Terrapin Station >
drums >
Gimme Some Lovin’ >
Other One (tease) >
I Need A Miracle >
Standing On The Moon >
Viola Lee Blues

Filler
You Never Can Tell (C’est La Vie)