You know what's great? Our Music Residency Series at Al's Den. I'm not just saying this because it's my job to photograph them -- I have seen some of my favorite acoustic, live music in Portland there (and it's only been open since May ‘11). I knew this tiny room had a hold on me during the Crystal Hotel's opening when Lewi Longmire, Evan Way, and Mike Midlow started singing Neil Young covers -- swoon.
The residencies are the perfect concept for the tightly knit group of Portland musicians: you never know who is going to stop in and play. Recently, I was watching Drew Grow play there when his friend and musicianKelli Schaefer stopped in. She of course joined him on stage for a few songs. The overall feel of the residencies are really relaxed and spontaneous. You feel like you're at a friends house (who has a bar) and they are just playing around, trying out new things, covering some classics and you're there to watch/listen to the magic unfold.
This week, Drew Grow is playing, and he is bringing in all sorts of folks to join him on stage, from extremely talented Kelli Schaefer, to local poet Paul Mazier, and why not throw in former Sleater-Kinney member Janet Weiss for good measure?
Do yourself a favor and go check out a residency -- the next one is Sean Flinn, December 11-17. And in the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos from past residencies. Enjoy!
Drew Grow with guests
Parson Red Heads perform with Evan Way