This week I traveled down to Portland, Oregon, to the tiny club called The Secret Society, a well-apponted 1907 Victorian-era venue modeled loosely on the theme of the 1920s speakeasy. Patrons walk up a steep flight of stairs into a dimly lit small theatre with stage, bar, and tables along the walls. Nicole Reynolds opened for Chris. It was a sold-out evening in the town Chris now calls home. I reviewed her latest record, “How I Learned to See in the Dark,” both here on my blog as well as for Indie Street, my cool music conspirators in Anacortes, Washington. I’m biased. I love the songwriting of Chris Pureka: stylish, smart storytelling with a signature smokey voice.
Last week Colin Meloy wrapped up his solo tour in Seattle, at the Neptune Theatre. I’ve yet to see The Decemberists live, but I expected something more serious from their frontman, I suppose. Much of his set is made up of serious Decemberists’ songs, and were performed with great sensitively and feeling. He kept up his lively comedic banter with the audience between songs, which seemed a bit awkward somehow.
It wasn’t a great night for me, so maybe my memory is a bit shaded by my frustration. The security people verbally roughed me up a bit for taking too many pictures. I suspect they confused me with someone else (they claimed they warned me and I ignored them, that I was hiding my gear, which they had not, and I was not). I walk into every show with a camera around my neck for all to see, and my press credentials.
Either way, it was disappointing. I left long before Mr. Meloy finished his evening. Agro ruins shows for me. With music sales dropping across the board, including digital downloads for the first time, I assume recording artists want as much media exposure as they can get from photo journalists and music zines like Indie Street, and my blog. Heavy handed venue staff focusing on working journalists rather than drunken bar patrons (and there were quite a few, surprisingly, for a Colin Meloy acoustic show) in my opinion is misplaced rage, and unprofessional.
I’d sit down and write them a stern appeal, but while I was in line at the venue Mr. Meloy walked up to the door alone, knocked, and had to say his name before the doorman would let him in. So I figure why bother attempting to open a dialogue with venue staff who aren’t even sure who the performers are, let alone hardworking, faceless journalist prols like me.
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, live at the neptune in Seattle last week.
Thao (Nguyen) and the Get Down Stay Down playing live at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle last week.