05|20|09   US Tour: Dunes – Portland, OR (April 20th, Day 19)

The Dunes in Portland

I had been looking forward to Portland for quite some time now. Everyone I met, who had spent time there, seemed to adore it. It’s liberal, quite pretty, has a great music scene, it’s mellow and bohemian, and yet still metropolitan. When I started booking the tour back in November of last year, I was having a tough time, though, getting anything at all booked. I must have sent out 25 emails and all I got back was deafening silence. You can imagine, then, how stoked I was when my friend Andy from Actors&Actresses suggested I get in touch with a good friend of his, who worked at a cool little club in Portland, called the Dunes.

I got in touch with her, she liked our music, and so we booked the date. Or so we thought…

A week or so before we were due to arrive in Portland, I visited their website to double-check the address and noticed we weren’t listed in their calendar. “Oh dear, that can’t be good news”, I thought. I then proceeded to email the girl numerous times, wrote to her myspace band account, but received no answer. In a bit of a panic I then wrote to Andy to see if he still had a line of contact open to his friend, but he, too, heard nothing. It appeared the date was a goner.

Not only had our Portland date been replaced with a dance party, but our Seattle date at the High Dive, too, had fallen through, as I had foolishly and mistakenly booked the 15th of May instead of the 15th of April, and was, thus, forced to cancel the Seattle show. Moreover, at this point in time, I hadn’t even managed to get in touch with Colleen, with whom we were meant to stay with in Olympia. I was, in short, staring at a gaping hole in our calendar: 6-10 days with no shows booked between Columbus and San Francisco.

Lucky for us, then, that we were about to catch a few last-minute breaks! First off, Andy emailed me through the number of another guy who worked at the Dunes with instructions to call the guy about an alternate date, which promptly resulted in us being added to a last-minute bill on Monday night. The only issue with this was that we had to be in San Francisco on Tuesday and it was an 11-12 hour drive. The guy, however, assured us it could be done (he had played San Francisco and Seattle back to back, which is farther yet), and after talking it over with Evan, we decided to go ahead with the new date!

I figured whilst on the phone, I might as well call through to Colleen, as well, and not only was she still happy to let us crash at her place for a few nights, but she even offered to add us to a bill she was playing the day after, as well! In the end, we spent five days in Olympia and played two shows there, before heading down to Portland for our Monday night show. Initially it was just going to be Portland and Seattle, then it looked like we had zero shows, now we had a Portland show and two gigs in Olympia. Epic relief!

Anyhow, Portland ended up being pretty sweet, although we didn’t get to see nearly enough of it. Unfortunately, though, the show was a total bust. There were four bands on the bill, and the venue never really picked up much of a crowd throughout the night – it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t fun either. Sound issues and electrical problems, too, didn’t help matters. We had a massive ground loop going somewhere between our gear and the PA (hummmmmmm), and after lifting the ground via our DI boxes, I started getting massive electric shocks whenever my hands touched the strings of my guitar whilst my lips touched the mic. Hilarious. Somehow the electricity decided to earth itself via my face. Sigh. Eventually, we decided to switch to our own PA, which solved the shock issue, but our PA was seriously under-powered for the venue, and so we never really got off the ground sonically.

After sharing a few beers with one of the other bands, Evan and I loaded in and hit the highway. We drove through most of the night, but finally folded to exhaustion and decided to pull over to a rest stop, where, sitting upright in the front seats, we caught an hour of sleep before heading on.

In the end, we arrived in San Francisco around 5 PM, only to find that our show there was most likely not even going to happen. I was seriously ready to nuke the west coast…

Yay! Check out the new Enright House Shop I just finished making! Even if you’re not the type of person who buys music anymore, do take a look at how pretty and shiny it is! :)

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