Thursday, May 26, 2011

Live Music: Mississippi Ave.

Mississippi Pizza Pub's Atlantis Lounge w/Boy & Bean

Last week I fairly spontaneously purchased tickets to see Joan as Policewoman at Mississippi Studios for last Saturday night. Chuck pretty quickly agreed we should go since it had been too long since our last show and he declared we could check out a place with vegan pizza over there that he's been wanted to visit for a while, Mississippi Pizza Pub. We great pizza and beer there, the place was crowded but laid back, and about half way through our meal there was entertainment. Local swing jazz trio Boy & Bean (note that their site plays music upon opening), pictured above, made us want to spend all of our weekends on Mississippi Ave. 

Mississippi Studios

Mississippi Studios is a recently renovated venue; work was completed in 2009.  Local architects Sum Design Studio designed the space which features steel and glulam beams, red walls & old theater seats. It's also decorated with re-purposed drums as lights behind the stage, and old light fixtures, a reminder that the rebuilding center is right down the street. You can just barely make them out in this picture, on the left, but I really liked the chipboard guitars hanging on the wall...after years in architecture school it almost seems like something I'd enjoy making, but on second thought they look like a heck of a lot of hard work, involving intense cutting and gluing. Very impressive

I suppose because I've seen that so many musicians I like have played there since we moved here, it fell pretty high up on my list of Portland music venues to check out. (We definitely need to check out the Doug Fir soon though.) It was smaller than I was expecting, which was great. The first opening band (local group Themes) played on a nice rug on the floor in front of the stage.  This made for a very quick transition time between acts, and a night filled with lots of music. The second opening act was Bhi Bhiman from San Francisco, who took the stage alone with his guitar, almost crowded out by Joan's equipment. His guitar skills and songwriting impressed us.

And then Joan Wasser is just very cool. Her outfit was all black, with open strips in the back. It seemed like she was having a great time. She even mentioned that Mississippi Ave was "dangerous" because of all of the cute shops and she was glad she didn't have more time to spend on it. I think the highlight of the show, for me was the performance of their song "Save Me" which was dedicated to the rapture. 

We had a weekend full of music! There's always live music at the PSU farmer's markets. And friday night we went to Al's Den at the newly completed Crystal Hotel to check out more free music, Brian Bonz. That's also a really cool space with really good music. A little closer to where we live too, but Mississippi Ave. is too cool not to go back often.