Perhaps you're thinking, Hey, I should go out and celebrate Ruby's birthday tonight. After all, pints of Ruby are a mere $2.50 all across McMenamins-land. You would be thinking correctly, friend. Ruby's big day is one of the most popular we have. The air around us carries with it the same zingy crackle as Ruby's raspberry infusion. The beer's a-flowin', the smiles are...smiling, and the music's jinglin', janglin', rippin', and roarin'.
Music? You say. Why, of course! What's a birthday without music? And you would be right. You're a smart person, friend, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Of course, a smart person such as yourself likes to know what they're getting into, amirite? We can respect that. So why don't we give a you the lowdown on what we've got going on tonight, McKingdom-wide, so you can find just the right tunes to pair with our Raspberry Goddess. Below is our handy guide:
Lola's Room: Polecat (as part of The Great Northwest Music Tour)
7 p.m. 21+
It's not just Ruby tonight: The Lola's stop for each Great Northwest Music Tour band is a special treat -we have free passed appetizers (from Zeus Café, so we're not just talkin' tots here), plus a generous sampling of a special-release beer. Tonight's brew: IMPERIAL RUBY. Oh, and I'll be interviewing the band, live and in person. It feels less like an anonymous show and more like an intimate gathering in your living room.
All of which is fun, but when Polecat is on the bill, well, we're taking this sucker into the stratosphere. Although they are built on the pillars of bluegrass -think the soft scratch of brush-based drumming, rippling guitar lines, and deep, snake-y fiddle play-I hesitate to confine them to the specifics of the genre. Primary songwriter Aaron Guest works some kind of magical alchemy that melds Americana, rock, Celtic, reggae and blues into a coherent and unique whole.
Edgefield Winery: Michelle Van Kleef
7 p.m. 21+
A former member of Calobo and the lead singer of Mackabella, Michelle is just straight-up cool. She can sashay from raspy-voiced rocker to acoustic singer-songwriter-type in less time than it takes to put a needle on a record. I especially dig her song "Paint You Red," a tune that starts off almost jazzy, but then slides into rock instrumentation with just a hint of island beats. On top of which, of course, you'll find Van Kleef's well-honed vocals.
Rock Creek Tavern: Billy D
7 p.m. All ages until 10 p.m.
I know this guy from New Mexico, and he always packs the house. Don't even bother getting a chair, because the minute his hands touch his guitar strings, things are off and running, and you will not stop dancing. We're talking a saucy brand of hip-shake-inducing blues, soul, and rock that will win over even the most languid of wallflowers.
Father Luke's Room: Left Coast Country
7 p.m. All ages.
Take two parts Bill Monroe and one part Townes Van Zandt. Add a five-part harmony blend and cut with hard-driving melodies. Top with whiskey. Serve.
Crystal Ballroom: Drive-By Truckers
8 p.m. doors; 9 p.m. show. All ages. Tickets are still available!
The Truckers will bowl you over with their bang-bang, hard-charging lick-laden rock. This is country-tinged rock with just an inference of rockabilly, but you won't have time to notice because you'll be dancing so hard. I predict your evening will go like this: Dance. Sweat. Ruby. Repeat.
White Eagle: Unfiltered Showcase, with The Wishermen, the Magic Beets, and Nick Sweet
8:30 p.m. 21+
Whoa! I actually had not heard this band until recently, and they are one of my new favorites. It's super-cool to see some young guns take on jazz, and to take it in such unexpected -yet accessible-directions. These fellows write their own compositions (which is fine with me -I love me some Mingus, but can we get something new up in this piece??); I'm particularly fond of the mellow (not in a smooth jazz, kinda way; more a slow groove kinda way) "Scarf of My Dreams," by the band's guitarist, Grant Sayler. If you're in the mood for something different, this is the place to be.
That's what we've got on, er, tap tonight, folks. We hope to see you out getting your Ruby groove on!