Brian Wahlstrom's official title at GigTown is "Guy in the Tie". He wears lots of different 'ties', being an opera singer, piano bar musician, punk rocker, and overall utility-man for the GigTown team. That said, he never wears an actual tie :) Brian is helping GigTown in a multitude of ways, and currently he's taking "Local Music on Tour" while playing keyboard with and opening for Joey Cape of the renowned punk rock band, Lagwagon. During the tour (which is hitting 27 cities in the US and Canada in just over a month) Brian is keeping an eye and ear on local music. It's been amazing watching musicians from all over the nation sign up for GigTown and we love seeing the differences in style and sound in different cities. Now Brian gets to experience some of that first hand, and will report back with his findings. So without further ado, let's hear from Brian:
Local Music on Tour - Portland Edition:
In Portland, local rules. Music, art, beer, wine, food, literature - anything you consume, Portland makes it themselves. It's a city where beautiful people make beautiful things. I’m writing this from one of my favorite breakfast spots, Radio Room, in Alberta. The food here is unbelievable. When you walk in there is a vending machine that says “This Machine Dispenses Local Art”. You put in a token, which can be bought at the bar for $2, and you get a little care package hand-made, by a local artist.
Last night we played at the Hawthorne Theater. It was our first show of the tour, which is always stressful. You never know what’s gonna happen the first night. New songs, new set list and new chemistry, it’s always kinda weird. The only thing that isn’t new, is the socks I left in the backseat of the van on the last tour….
Despite the variables, last night was a great show. Since Portland is made up of some of the nicest people on the planet, we were very lucky to have played here on day one. Our old friend Jasper was doing front of house and it sounded amazing. We kind of made a joke in the beginning, “thanks for letting us do our rehearsal here”, and everyone was super cool and let us iron out some kinks.
After the show I was chatting to a buddy who is pretty deep into the jazz scene. He goes to two to three shows a week. I picked up the Vortex magazine for the ride to Seattle, and holy crap, You have a lot going on, PDX!! With all the local live shows happening around here, we're gonna have to double up on server space! Next time I come through, I'm probably staying for good. I love Portland.
Current area favorites...
Music: Betty and the Boy
Booze: Breakside Pilsner
Bar: Lost and Found