Frontalot Tour Diary Day 40: Oregon, Baby!

BFFS 4EVAAs I sit here in the van about 40 miles outside of Portland, filling Vanna up with gas and listening to the saucy lyrics and thumping electro beats of Fischerspooner – for which one of my former Northport classmates, Gia Mele, is a dancer – I find myself reflecting on just how much we are going to miss the west coast.  Dramatic vistas, vast oceanic expanses and a culture that fundamentally embraces weirdness in all its many forms are but a few of the perks of this side of the  country.  Another perk: beach house getaways!  At least, it’s a perk if you know Mo McFeely, ace librarian and Trivial Pursuit master.  Located in the lovely seaside hamlet of Manzanita, our sandy abode – named Spindrift – was bequeathed to the employees of the Portland Public Library by a wealthy bibliophile in 1907 so that they may forever have a place to rest their weary bones.  And have wild librarian parties.  Sadly, all we did was make dinner and go to bed early.  But still!  We needed the rest.  Thank you, Mo!  You rule.

The next morning was filled with a tasty breakfast, long walks on the beach, and epic feats of Jenga architecture.  We also, as previously inferred, played a single-elimination game of Trivial Pursuit during which Mo dominated 4 out of 6 categories.  I managed to eke out one win, thanks to my deep culinary knowledge. Q: What fungus is used to make bread? Me: Uhhh… umm… yeast? It sort of made up for me not knowing that the only major American sport to feature clowns was rodeo, though I always thought it was more of a carnival attraction than a sport.  Clearly I am not an academic.

I guess that's better than 2nd hold on an open mic...We subsequently arrived in Portland without incident.  Our venue for the evening, Dante’s, was large and well-appointed, with a green room, a large stage and two separate elevated platforms for sexy dancing, though I hear that such platforms are commonplace in the stripper capital of the country.  I do have to complain about something, though – and I’m not burning out here, people!  The schedule, as related to us by the venue, was 6pm load-in, 7pm door.  Now, for those of you who don’t play lots of shows, it may not be apparent that such a schedule is untenable.  We do, though, so we showed up at 5pm and loaded in, fully expecting the club’s sound guy to arrive at 6.  He didn’t show up until 6:45, which meant we didn’t soundcheck until 7:20, at which point doors were open and fans were trickling in.

Here’s a truism for you: NOBODY LIKES TO SOUNDCHECK IN FRONT OF THE AUDIENCE.  It’s unprofessional, uncomfortable and prematurely breaks the fourth wall.  Shame on you, Dante’s sound guy, for showing up so late.  Next time we come through you better arrive on time or we’re going to write a mean nerd rap song about you and play it for the 160+ people who showed up to see us.  That’s right: yay Portland nerds!  You brought it and brought it hard.  The pre-show grumps melted away as we danced and played and lost electrolytes.  Another fantastic show, it was, and a great way to close out the west coast leg of our tour.  I even got to perform “Superstition” with the band that followed us: Karaoke From Hell, the oldest live karaoke band in the States.  I got a cool reception from the regulars, though, perhaps because I don’t have an ironic moustache.

Notables abounded at the gig: Matt Haughey, founder of Metafilter; Andy Baio, CTO of revolutionary crowd-funding site; and PAX enforcers extraordinaire Angel and Ugmar, whom we hadn’t seen since Boston.  We also were introduced – repeatedly – to a crack addict who hung around the loading dock, asking people if he could ask them a question.  The resounding answer: NO.  This did not deter him.  God bless the persistence of strangers!  At least he made my hair look tidy by comparison.

Brandon tests the structural integrity of my Jenga masterpieceWe stayed last night at Andy’s house, where he and his wife Amy were gracious enough to put us up for the evening.  How did I repay this favor?  By flooding his basement while I took a shower.  At least, that’s what we assumed to be the reason up to and including the point at which I went to bed, resulting in a series of nightmares during which I had to use all of my tour earnings to pay the deductible on his homeowner’s insurance policy.  Attention kids: this is what happens to your imagination when you become an adult. This morning, while dodging flying plastic discs fired by his ace marksman son Elliott, I learned that it was in fact the combination of washing machine and shower that caused the incident.  Phew!  I’d really hate to make another bad first impression.  Thank you, Andy, Amy and Elliott!  You were gracious hosts and swell people.

We’re now heading eastward on the 84 towards our eventual destination of Rock Island, IL where we will play the Rock Island Brewing Company for the late night crowd at 1am on May 13.  Cover is $4.  We had a small incident with the police – amicably resolved -  on the way out of PDX which I won’t recount here out of deference to my loyal Twitter followers.  Become one now! Or wait the interminable wait for my next tour diary entry.  THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

2 Responses to “Frontalot Tour Diary Day 40: Oregon, Baby!”

  1. That Dee Girl

    Ah, Portland, home of the stripper platform! If I’d been there for that show, you best believe I’d have been dancin’ on one of the platforms in a sexy Leia outfit! Alas, I do not live in Portland. :(

  2. Ken's Mom

    Have a safe trip coming East :)