This past weekend I had my first show in Portland, Oregon. With limited funds and knowing I was going to play two consecutive days, I decided to give this new movement called the Airbnb a try. Airbnb is basically where someone who has an extra room in their house rents it out for a night. This usually is very cost effective given that you are daring enough to stay at a stranger’s house. Anyway, I looked through the places to stay and found this really cool bus for rent. For only fifty dollars a night it seemed like a good deal and I wanted to make the most of my experience and keep true to the expression “keep Portland weird”. Before my first show on Friday night, I met with the owner of the bus and was given a key so that I could come and go as I pleased. With the key in hand I headed to my show at the Artichoke music venue.
Pulling up to the music venue I noticed that the lights were off and the doors were locked. I was a bit early and thought maybe I was too early and the owners weren’t there yet. It wasn’t until about 6:45 (30 minutes after I initially got there) I noticed people walking around back. I grabbed my guitars and low and behold there was another entrance to the venue called the Artichoke Cafe. I walked in and was greeted by a man named Don. He escorted me to a green room where I tuned my guitar and met all the other acts performing.
A few of my Portland friends made it out to my show and so I talked with them until the first act when on.
When I went on Don, the announcer, gave me a great opening speech. A little nervous, I began to play my first song “Irish Lullabies”. After a few measures I began to relax and get into the groove of things. I finished up and the crowd exploded with applause. It was amazing…I began my little skit where I tell the stories behind my lyrics then sing the songs associated with those stories. When I did “Badada” I told the crowed they should sing along with me and guess what… they did!! It was so much fun. Even better, it was maybe 10 people shy of being a sold out show for the venue. Anyway, I finished up my set and explained to everyone that I have free stickers and an email list for people to join if wanted. As I walked off the stage, I was greeted with smiling faces telling me how much they enjoyed my songs and I even had a few sign my email list.
After the show I talked with the host, Don, and the other acts and left to grab a slice a pizza at a 24 hour pizza place close to the venue. I drove to my bus and called it a night.
Saturday is a day I will always remember, and this is why. When I woke up, I found out I needed to use the main house bathroom which turned out to be a daycare facility. After I finished getting ready up for the day, I found my way back to the bus. While in the bus, I looked out the window and saw some kids trying to chain me in. Luckily, I was able to startle them before they succeeded.
I needed to get some computer work done and also checked out of my “room” so I packed up my things and found an internet cafe. Once there, I bought a coffee and logged into the internet. I worked for about 2 hours.
Well, feeling the need to explore the city, I made my way back to my car. I started it and it wouldn’t start. I popped the hood to find my timing belt had basically disintegrated. I called my insurance and I got a tow truck to the nearest BMW service station. I’m told I had to wait two hours before they can get to me. I decided to grab lunch and a beer. I called my family to let them know what was going on and also my friend to try arrange a ride to my show that night.
I got to the shop with my car and talked to one of the service reps only to have them tell me they can’t work on it until Monday! That’s when I decided: well it’s just a belt I can fix that, right? Wrong. My friend’s husband and I worked on it for almost two hours and finally wrestled the belt on. With a feeling of pride, I start it up and was able to make my way back to my friend’s house only for the engine to stall out on the freeway. My heart sank. I had no idea what would cause this. The dashboard lit up with different icons. I called another tow truck, got my car back to BMW, dropped off the keys and got a ride back to my friend’s house. I really want to express that even though my luck wasn’t at it’s best that day, I laced my boots up and went to my show at the Jade lounge. I felt incredibly thankful for my two friends and family (over the phone line) helping/supporting me in my time of trouble.
As I arrive to the Jade Lounge I noticed that people were already playing. I was a little worried. I walked in with my guitars and made my way to the bar to ask if I was in the right place. They assured me it was and that they normally have two shows on Saturday. Feeling better about that, I remembered that there was suppose to be a local act opening for me. Well, 8:00 PM came around and there wasn’t any local act so I asked if it was ok if I went on and played until I couldn’t. With their permission, I set up my equipment and began my set. I put my heart into that set. With everything that had happened, I just wanted to drown myself in my music and give these people the best show I could. I believe that I accomplished that. Why? Only because the best compliment you can have is when the bartender (who hears music almost every day) says how beautiful my music and voice were. When 10:00 PM came around I got a ride back to my friend’s house to call it a night.
Yes, there is one more day. My mom called me saying that she arranged a rental car for me. So, I get up and head over there only to find out they can’t give me a rental car because I have to have a credit card and they don’t accept a debit card unless I have three forms of ID. Well, I don’t carry that much because I’m worried of losing my wallet. After trying two other rental places, I went back to the first rental place and asked if there was anything they could do. They replied with a no. To add to it all, I found out that my car would’t be an easy fix and could be a week minimum until it could be fixed. With my heart sinking deeper in my chest, I called my mom and she said I should stay with the car. But what did I do instead? I bought a train ticket, called my girlfriend to come pick me up in Seattle, and get the heck out of dodge. Besides, I’d never been on a train before and I was fortunate enough to get bumped up to business class (which is the best class).
Now, as I write this blog post, I have a smile on my face. I’m sitting in a really nice recliner, Pepsi in my cup holder, gazing up every now and then watching the mountains and ocean fly by knowing that I’m going to make it home.
Until my next post, thanks for reading!