Monthly Archives: April 2016

#40. NE Dekum and Durham Apr 9, 2016 - 6:49 pm

After my last outing at a reliably friendly location, I wanted to play in an unfamiliar spot. I’ve had my eye on the Dekum neighborhood for a while, and this night I took that leap into the unknown, on NE Dekum near Durham.

I’ve found Portland to be mostly accommodating to street music, so I wasn’t too worried about, say, getting arrested (which has been an actual problem in other cities). But I also didn’t want to be a nuisance to people enjoying their evening outside at the bar across the street, or even the folks running the bike shop at the spot I settled on.

On arrival, I tentatively walked over to Upcycles to make sure they were closed, and indeed they had been closed for nearly an hour. But as I started to set up, a couple of guys came out of the shop–the owner and a friend–to enjoy a cool beverage on the sidewalk. I told them I intended to play some music and hoped it wouldn’t bother them, and they said to let it rip!

Thus encouraged, I began to play. My spot was across the street from , and evidently within earshot of, the Breakside brew pub where a lot of people were dining and imbibing in the summery evening air. So I wasn’t too surprised to see people getting up and coming across the street toward me.

But they didn’t actually reach me, as they were only going into the marijuana dispensary next to the bike shop, which was not only still open, but doing brisk business on a Saturday night. I thought I might get some of them on the way out, but it’s a funny thing about marijuana buyers: they don’t seem to linger once they’ve got their merchandise, they simply speed off into the night.

But a few people did hang around. Mainly Sra. Demasiado and some other friends, but also a few random baby-stroller pushers. And the guys from Upcycles stayed for the duration.

About half-way through my time, I saw in the corner of my eye a man wearing some kind of military regalia that made him look vaguely law-enforcing. And although I didn’t fear arrest, I have been asked by police to please move along and stop bothering everyone. As the man got closer, I still couldn’t tell if this was some kind of cop on a beat about to shut me down, until he walked past me…and into the dispensary!

And that’s about how the show went. At the very end, while I was packing up, a person came across the street from Breakdside, not for weed, but to tell me he really enjoyed the music, and it sounded great all the way across the street.

So after all my doubts and fears about playing in an unfamiliar location, just that one person liking it makes me think of it as a successful outing. And that’s all I need to want to play again soon.

#39. Alberta and 21st Ave. Apr 1, 2016 - 6:52 pm

First show of the year!

Last year’s weather was much more accommodating to playing music on the street, so that by April I’d already played quite a few shows. This year has been more of the usual Portland weather, and it wasn’t until actual spring time that I could dare to venture outdoors with my kit.

And because it was such a consistent location for me last year, it was natural to return to my most frequented spot to kick off the 2016 one-man-banding season. So there I found myself, on one of the first nice Friday evenings of the year, playing in front of the furniture upholsterers shop on Alberta.

I got kind of a slow start, but then, so did the passers-by. It took a while for anyone to even notice me. There I was, fully decked out, playing to empty benches. It was just like last year!

Although I’ve been practicing in the basement all through the cold rainy winter, there was definitely a little rust in the legs, and I wasn’t even sure how long those legs would hold out. But I set myself the goal of playing until sundown and happily, I managed to stay on my feet until dusk.

And a few people did hang out for a while here and there. Mostly parents with kids, even though I don’t think of my music as particularly kid-friendly. In fact, if I were aiming for non-threatening pure entertainment that’s fun for the whole family, I wouldn’t play obscure sidewalks on Friday nights, I’d be at farmers markets and such.

But an audience is an audience, and I’m grateful for the chance to bother someone with my ideas for a while. And I hope some of those kids grow up to do the same.

Note: I’m going to stop including maps in my posts, which makes them impossibly huge to read on mobile devices. Instead, I’ll just link to a map for the curious.