Tag Archives: Wonder Ballroom

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

 

The New Mastersounds Wonder Ballroom November 7th 2017

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.

Some really good BBQ at Russell’s. The pork was a little dry but the flavor was outstanding.

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.