MATT SULLIVAN TOURS THE WEST COAST WITH RODRIGUEZ – DAY 4: Portland

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Seemingly this tour just keeps getting better and better.  Portland, Oregon; Rodriguez covering Bobby D; Mexican food in a Winchell’s drive-through; The Fresh and Onlys and a whole lot more.

Only one man can tell this epic story: Matt Sullivan.

We bow in your undulating presence.

Still reeling from the night before. Rodriguez and band seriously slayed Seattle. It was a glorious evening to say the least. This next morning once we got rolling, everyone was mighty hungry, so I took Rodriguez and keyboardist/trumpet player Marc Capelle (the Fresh & Only’s drove separately in their van) to my favorite Seattle food joint, the delicious Rancho Bravo Tacos, a tiny taco truck located in the Winchell’s parking lot in Wallingford. Heavy munching ensued. The three of us couldn’t have been happier. Thank you Rancho Bravo! One last thing before we cruised south on I-5… a quick stop by Fuel Coffee to pick up some much needed caffeine and donuts from the world’s greatest barista, good friend to Not-An-Intern-Noah-Sanders, and former Light In The Attic intern… Pete Arensdorf. And bartender supreme Dave from Al’s Tavern was in the house! The heavens were aligned.

Three hours to Portland… trapped in a car with both Rodriguez and Marc resulted in three hours of perma-laughter. Maybe you had to be there but I can’t think of two funnier individuals.

We landed in Portland for the 4 PM sound-check at the Doug Fir – imagine an old school log cabin intertwined with the futurism of Blade Runner. The spot is a venue-hotel-bar-diner. It’s one of the cooler diner/bars on the planet. After sound-check, Rodriguez and I headed over to Jackpot Records for a 6 PM signing. I’ve been a big fan of this store for years now. There really aren’t too many better shops in the country. And who were the first two fans waiting in line to meet Rodriguez? Two lovely South Africans. Forget Elvis. They are meeting Rodriguez! A big thanks to Isaac and all at Jackpot, especially for the t-shirt and record bag which Rodriguez wore with pride. He immediately put on the shirt and we snapped some photos. Who knew Rodriguez would look so good in turquoise blue?! Next we chilled at the hotel. Having Rodriguez’s hotel room 100 feet from the stage is a godsend. You have no idea! Understandably, the man likes to chill before the big gig and this isn’t so easy when the hotel tends to be not so convenient. The Doug Fir/Jupiter Hotel know how to do it right. I tried to catch up on email but the time flew by and watching bad cable TV didn’t help.

Tonight’s show had a surprise opening set from the Fresh & Only’s – Rodriguez’s back-up band on the tour. Their record is one of the best of the year and they’ve already got albums 2 and 3 on the way. Rodriguez hit the stage around 11 with “Inner City Blues” – such the perfect opener. Portland residents Garth Klippert, Nate Lumbard, and Toussaint Perrault held down the horns. Bless their hearts. They sounded badass. The after-party went deep into the wee hours with Rodriguez playing some wicked covers in his hotel room to a number of jaw dropping “young bloods” (as the man so nicely puts it) – Saving All My Love, Like A Rolling Stone, I’m So In Love With You… Never ceases to amaze me what he pulls out of the bag.

On a random note, anyone out there ever heard of “an ergonomically shaped water-reducing soap bar”? Me neither until my lavish stay at the Jupiter. There is literally no center in the bar of soap. The box says it “has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars”. It doesn’t make much sense but little things go far.

Until tomorrow…

One Response to “MATT SULLIVAN TOURS THE WEST COAST WITH RODRIGUEZ – DAY 4: Portland”

  1. Attention Matt Sullivan
    Dear Matt,
    My name is Billy Barner. I understand you’ve been working on a documentary of North West funk, soul and R&B acts. I am a founding member and I ( along with the late Tyrone Jones) was co-leader of Jonah’s Whale from the early 1970′s through 1995. Jonah’s Whale had a local hit record called “WHY” in 1972 and was a force to be reckoned with for 2 1/2 decades. We were one of the first “black and white” funk bands to break into the major northwest club circuit in the 70′s. We played all up and down the West Coast, Canada, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Reno. I have archives of photos and studio/live recordings that you may be interested in. Please visit the “ARCHIVES” page at my website http://www.billythepocket.com. Then please contact me. I would love to spend some time and share more of the story about Jonah’s Whale with you. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Billy Barner

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