Concert musings

I recently saw Blind Pilot in concert here in town. To be honest, I really didn’t know their music that well – I’ve heard “One Red Thread” a couple times, but I never paid attention to who was singing – but because they’re a local band, I of course had to go see them. The lead singer and bass player are both from Astoria, so their climb to success has been a joy for everyone in town.

The concert was great.
However, the venue choice (The Liberty Theater) was poor.
It is a beautiful theatre, I can understand why Blind Pilot would want to start their national tour off there – but I feel the Events Center would have made the concert much more enjoyable for everyone.
I know it shouldn’t, but it always amazes me how much the venue can influence a performance. I’ve danced my whole life and went to a performing arts high school – I think it would be impossible to count the number of times I’ve been on stage performing or backstage working. As a performer and techie, I know that a venue can make or break the fluidity of a performance. But I somehow always forget that when I’m an audience member.

There were two opening bands for the show and neither were a good choice for the space. The first, a local rock-a-billy band, cries out for you to dance. You can’t listen to them and sit still. However, The Liberty has no dance space. So for about twenty minutes, we had to sit and feel awkward. After a short break a local poet did a reading. At this point I needed to get up and move, so I went downstairs to visit friends from Fort George Brewery who were pouring for the event; I can’t comment on how the venue treated him, but I’m sure it was a poor space.
The second band, Justin Power and [a member of] the Portland Cello Project [plus a random other guy], were completely lost in the theatre. I would love to see the trio again in a coffee shop (maybe at Coffee Girl?). I kind of got a Death Cab For Cutie/Album Leaf vibe off of them, but that may be in part due to the conversation Aleesha and I were having at the time regarding indie bands and Ben Gibbard. They were not helped by the sound guys, who failed to balance Justin’s mic with his mandolin until the second to last song, but I would definitely buy their cd if I weren’t perpetually broke.

At 10pm, Blind Pilot finally took the stage. They played for less than an hour – their cd, 3 Rounds & A Sound, only has 11 tracks – which would be fine if I hadn’t just spent an hour and a half waiting to see them (I know, right?).
They sounded fantastic, and aside from rude audience members who didn’t know how to adjust their behavior for the venue (another reason it should’ve been at the Events Center), it was a really, really good concert. I discovered I had been making coffee for the drummer (in the hat) all week (what is it with me and drummers?), which was kind of awesome.

Speaking of awesome concerts and venues, The Explorer and I recently saw Old Crow Medicine Show at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. They were absolutely fantastic.
When I was younger I always loved country music. My parents thought it was odd, since they didn’t listen to it. Even when I was a baby in New York country music made me want to dance. I stopped listening to it when we moved to Virginia, because being the only white girl in my fourth grade class was bad enough, I didn’t need to add “hick” to their description of me. My mister loves bluegrass and so I’ve been listening to it pretty often for the past bit. I rediscovered how much I love it! We saw Yonder Mountain String Band in Eugene with his brother last April and I loved them. We spent a weekend in July at Northwest String Summit and it was amazing.
The Old Crow show was one of the best ones I’ve been to. They gave 100%, every single song. There wasn’t an opening band. The Tequila Sunrises were delicious and the bartender said I have an amazing smile. We saw a guy get dragged out of the room before the concert even started. I danced with my baby. And the floor moved.
That’s right – the floor moves. One of my coworkers kept telling me I needed to see a show at the Crystal Ballroom because the floor moves. I didn’t really get what she meant. Until I saw a show there. It’s a sprung floor, and probably a deeply sprung one at that. I’m used to sprung dance floors, but this one bounced more than a normal dance floor does. It was awesome! We never made it to the center of the room where it moves the most, but even from the border it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

A petty thing that makes me giggle: I’ve seen more shows in the past nine months than I did the entire 2.5 years I was with my music major ex. And most of the best ones I’ve seen have been Pacific Northwest bands, even though that same certain ex claims there isn’t a music scene here anymore. heh


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