I just realized that in my blog hiatus I had forgotten to share some pictures and stories from a few weeks ago, when the Portland Folk Festival was happening here in town. IrishBand played a sweat-drenched set that the reviewer from WeeklyAlternativeNewspaper favorably compared to a “grange hall punk show” that was “a fine balance of exactitude and slop,” which sounds about right. That’s pretty much our modus operandi. Our friend Dr. Something from Crappy Indie Music was there, and she sketched us, as well as the other two bands who played that night. Totally amazing! (I’m the one with the accordion, by the way.) She seems to have a thing for our rhythm section, and who can blame her? They’re strapping young lads, as you can see. I love the way she made each of us look like our real selves, particularly Drummer and Violinist.
That was one of the most rockin’ and fun shows we’ve ever had, quite honestly, and certainly one of the sweatiest. My tie was still damp the next morning.
Another cool thing about that night of the Folk Festival was that a couple of us got the opportunity to see a tremendous new documentary called Roll Out, Cowboy, which is about Chris Sand, a.k.a. Sandman the Rappin’ Cowboy. It’s a very well done, sympathetic, and touching story about his interesting, bucolic, and somewhat disparate life. I got to meet the filmmaker, Elizabeth, at the screening, who returned the favor by coming to our show later that evening. Next time she’s in town, she said, she’d like to do a short interview film about us. Naturally, we’re going to jump at that opportunity.
I don’t quite remember the chronology of everything, since in addition to all this, I had a ton of other things happening, including a huge birthday party for at least four friends and a gig/birthday party all in the same weekend, so it’s a bit of a blur. Be that as it may, I’m gonna give it a shot. My friend John and I got to see Sea of Bees downtown at Backspace, and we both kinda fell in love with them. I particularly fell in love with the lead guitarist, who was a beautiful blonde girl, and a very cool and tasteful guitarist to boot, which is always nice. Their show was great and very ‘low-fi’, but the CD is very polished and tight in a way that the show was not. Both incarnations are excellent, and I highly recommend either or both.
John and I also made it a point to catch the inimitable Dan Bern on Misssissippi Street, doing a set of his childrens’ songs, after which we kidnapped him and took him to the food carts a bit farther on Mississippi to catch up and talk. John got sushi, while Dan and I opted for some deliciousness from Native Bowl. I don’t know if you remember this or not (and due to the blogging hiatus, I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t), I got the opportunity to play with Dan when he was in town about six months ago, thanks in a large part to John. I played accordion and sang harmonies, until one of my accordion straps broke (which made it unplayable), so I set it down and turned around to jump behind the piano instead. Here’s a blurry picture; the blob in front with the guitar is Dan, and the blob sitting at the piano is me. I think this picture was taken during the song “God Said No”, which I thought was particularly beautiful that night.
Another huge highlight of the festival was Matt Keating, a guy with whom I was not previously familiar, although he had appeared on John’s old radio show (which has since found a new lease on life in podcast form, thanks to the up-and-coming KZME) once or twice a few years back, so the two of them were friends already. John and I arrived at the Jade Lounge at the appointed time, to find that we and Matt’s family were the only ones in attendance. The bartender told us that they had pushed back the performance by an hour, so the group of us decided to eat dinner and hang out together. With lots of other families, this would have been awkward at best, but Matt’s family is so outgoing and fun that we felt completely welcome and at ease. After a while, we somewhat hilariously split off by gender; Matt, John and I discussed music and things at our own table, and Matt’s female family members talked about whatever ‘girly’ stuff they talked about. :)
Matt was scheduled to be on John’s newer radio show later that night, and since we’d all had such a great time at dinner, John proposed that I bring my accordion to the station and accompany Matt, despite having only heard the three songs I’d heard at his gig. Matt was game to let me sit in, and showing up with an instrument and improvising is a hobby of mine, so I was excited too. It turned out great, and Matt even invited me to play a show with him later that week, with a guitarist friend of his, John Vecchiarelli (who is an amazing and talented songwriter in his own right) on snare drum, and me on accordion. Matt called our impromptu band Freedom Tickler, which is just plain brilliant.
See what happens when I don’t blog for a while? It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about, I just haven’t felt like writing, and I haven’t had two spare seconds to rub together in order to process all the things that have been happening.
In other news, keep your eyes on this space for the short film in which my friend Danielle and I acted. It should be edited and available for viewing (and hopefully for sharing) within the next week or so. I’m really excited to see that.