When receiving emails from the Blue Room Bar in Portland, they would include the tag, “Cartlandia”. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant until I arrived to play my first gig there last night. The Blue Room Bar borders a lot filled with at least a dozen or more foodcarts, offering all manner of culinary delights. There was a crepery, various purveyors of tacos, sandwiches, ethnic foods (both traditional and fusion-inspired), and much more. Sitting at the front of the lot, streetside, was a cart for Voodoo donuts. My wife and I had been hearing about Voodoo donuts long before we ever first visited Portland, so now was my chance to sample their wares. I picked up a “Triple Chocolate Delight” (chocolate donut with chocolate icing and a sprinkling of Cocoa Puffs) for Pony, and settled for a somewhat more conventional raspberry jelly-filled, powdered donut for myself, then tucked them into the car to take home after the gig.
The Blue Room Bar itself is a fairly spacious place, with a stage that could comfortably handle a four or five-piece band (so more than enough room for a solo singer/songwriter/guitarist). They have a decent house sound system, with mains and monitors and a 12-channel mixer/amplifier, and some pretty fine house stage lights. I had given myself ample travel time and arrived with more than an hour to get set up and settled in.
It was a good night.
There were the folks trying to decide which of my CD’s they wanted to buy (and me playing tunes featured on each of the CD’s, to give them some sense of their options). There was the guy who called his brother (a fine guitarist in his own right, I was told), so that he could hold the cellphone in front of me and give his brother a good listen of what I was playing. I felt the spirit of St. Steve Goodman upon me last night. I was very much “in the moment”; making each song ring and shine through the room. It was one of those natural highs that one hopes for with each and every gig.
Annika, the bartender, told me how much she had enjoyed my playing, and that she was going to let the owners know. I look forward to returning to the Blue Room Bar. And next time, maybe Pony will come along, so that we can both enjoy some of the delights of Cartlandia before my show.