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McMenamins Music

1332 W. Burnside, Portland, OR 97209

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Emporium presents

Lewis Watson

Will West

Buy Tickets

6:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show
$15 advance, $17 day of show
All ages welcome

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Lewis Watson

You can tell how much Lewis Watson has changed by his hair. Gone is the heavy, forward-swept fringe that was his trademark in his teens, when he was signed on the strength of a single, self-released EP and wrote much of his acclaimed debut album, 2014's The Morning. In its place are long locks he recently dyed from dark to white - not to shock, but in part to signal a new start.

"I've always wanted white hair," says Lewis. "So I thought, why not? I'm finally in a position to make my own decisions, and not just about my music. The biggest change I've made is taking control of my career. Everything I do, everything you see comes from me."
Midnight, the Oxford singer's sensational second album, is testament to that change. Written and recorded entirely under his own stream, with friends as collaborators it's a sonic leap on from his largely acoustic debut - bigger, bolder, beautifully textured and more experimental, but still as brutally honest and achingly intimate as his bewitching early EPs.


"It's an evolution from my first album," says Lewis. "It's grander, heavier and more electronic. I still like acoustic music - and there are some quieter songs on there - but I also love Death Cab For Cutie, Bombay Bicycle Club and Bon Iver. It is a big change, but it's still me. Maybe me with added spice."


Recorded in just three weeks last summer at The Vale in Warwickshire and produced by Lewis' close friend Anthony West of Oh Wonder, Midnight was made without any label involvement. In fact, it wasn't until Zane Lowe premiered gritty, drums-driven first single ‘Maybe We're Home' on his radio show in January that anyone outside Lewis' circle had heard his new material.


"It was crucial for me that these songs sounded exactly as I imagined them," says Lewis. "I didn't want any outside input. In the past, I've been forced to write with people I didn't know and work with producers I had nothing in common with. I'm still incredibly proud of The Morning. It will always be special because it's my debut, but it was a bit of a Frankenstein. The songs were recorded with a half a dozen producers in six or seven studios over the course of two years. We made Midnight in a bubble, so it's much more coherent. Every track has my stamp on every aspect. It's a snapshot of where and who I am right now."


As soon as ‘Maybe We're Home' hit the airwaves, labels came calling. Having left his deal with Warners after their delay in releasing his debut, Lewis was cautious, but when Cooking Vinyl, on both sides of the Atlantic, made an offer, he accepted.
"The musician City & Colour, who is on their roster, is the reason I took up music," says Lewis. "He was and still is a big influence. He's a career musician with a huge cult following who makes his own decisions. My aim is to sing for a living for the rest of my life, so the deal had to be right. And so far, it's gone like a dream."


Key to Midnight is the stately, stirring, Snow Patrol-esque ‘Deep The Water', the first song Lewis wrote for the album after a self-imposed six months away from making music in 2015. "I was still playing shows," says Lewis. "We toured the States and Australia and played a fantastic festival in the Philippines, but for a full six months, I stopped writing songs. I'd grown to dislike the process, which was heart breaking for me because I've loved songwriting since I picked up a guitar aged 16. But I needed a break, to be reinvigorated, to learn to love it all over again. I took a step back for as long as possible to see what would change."


That summer, Lewis found out. He got together with Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht just to jam and discuss ideas, but straight away songs started to flow. The first was ‘Deep The Water' but in a matter of days, they had completed five songs, among them the album's sweet, spine-tingling, strings-soaked highlight ‘Hello Hello' and the epic ‘Little Light' an emotionally-exposed love letter to Lewis' girlfriend of five years.
"I'm loathe to use the word magical, but it really was," laughs Lewis. "It was a joyous, organic experience. ‘Deep The Water' came flooding out of me on the first day and lifted this immense weight from my shoulders. I'd worried I might not be able to write, but I couldn't stop. For the first time, there was no one shoving words in my direction or making suggestions."


‘Deep The Water' is one of several songs on Midnight about a relationship gone wrong, but it's also about survival."It's about giving the most and receiving the least," explains Lewis. "It's based on an experience I've had of loving someone who expects you to come running when they need you, but gives nothing back. But like most of my songs, it's a sentiment that can apply to different situations. It's about being used, whether that's at work or by a friend or a lover, the emotion is the same."


The two oldest tracks on the album are the dreamy ‘LA Song' and the rootsy, Springsteen-referencing ‘When The Water Meets The Mountains', both originally intended for Lewis' debut, but since reinvented.


"The deluxe version of The Morning included a demo of ‘LA Song', so you can hear how much it's evolved," says Lewis. "It's now built from bass chords with floaty electric guitar on top. The whole album is rich in textures and atmosphere. ‘Give Me Life', for example, has 28 guitar parts, but a lot of those are just layers and textures. I've discovered that songs aren't simply about chords and a melody. Sometimes what's not playing is as important as what is."


Another change is Lewis' first recorded duet, on the spectral ‘Slumber' featuring Lucy Rose, whom Lewis first heard at college and has been angling to work with ever since. The gorgeous melancholy there is touched on elsewhere in the likes of ‘Forever' which is simultaneously Midnight's poppiest song, but also one of its saddest.


"I've always wanted to write a really sad, upbeat song," says Lewis. "It's about the frustration of being in a relationship that's not working, despite you both wanting it to. The setting is so upbeat and instant, it tricks you in to thinking it's happy until you really listen to the lyrics."


The album closes with the secret title track, a Joel Pott co-write featuring Josephine on piano that returns Lewis to the stripped-back beauty of his early releases. Whilst hidden from the tracklisting it's deeply revealing of an artist coming full circle, fulfilling his early promise while expanding his palette in ever more vibrant ways - something reflected in the striking album artwork commissioned from renowned Canadian painter Andrew Salgado, one of Lewis' favourite artists.


"I studied art at school and cheekily emailed him with an idea," says Lewis. "He said he admired my gusto and agreed."


So what does the artwork tell us about the music contained on Midnight, and more specifically about its creator? "It's an incredible, heavily textured painting of me," Lewis explains. "It's not at all clear, so it's me, but it's not me. Or maybe it's a different me, one you weren't expecting."


And that's the perfect image for the album, because with Midnight Lewis Watson has not just evolved but been reborn, creating magic with a new sound, a new look and a new career stretching ahead. This time there is no doubt - like his heroes, Lewis will be making music for the rest of his life.

 

Website:
http://lewiswatsonmusic.com/

Will West

Will West

Carolina-born songwriter Will West performs with a rotation of acoustic musicians called The Friendly Strangers, featuring an array of fantastic Portland players on banjo, cello, mandolin, horns, percussion and other surprises. Together they create a signature acoustic sound blending Old Time Roots and Folk Influences with Modern Inspirations & Positive Vibes. They tend to improvise and experiment, and they have a great time doing it.

Will West & The Friendly Strangers are cruising along after the release of their 2nd album called "Sunshine" in July 2012.  Performing in various  Northwest Festivals & Outdoor Concert Series during the Summer of 2012.  Songs have been featured on KNRK 94.7, KINK fm 101.9 and KZME 107.1 in the Portland area.  
 They released their debut album called "Take this Moment" in January of 2011.  The song "Understand" was featured on the KINK FM Local's Only  CD  Volume 4 in the summer of 2011. The album was nominated for "Album of the Year" by the 2012 Portland Music Awards and it has recently launched as a station on Pandora Radio.

The son of a fiddle player, West cites Old-Time Bluegrass, Blues and Heavy Metal music as some of his early influences. West moved to Portland in the summertime of 2002 and began cutting his teeth as a performer at Open-Mics and busking in Northwest Portland. He picked up his first formal gigs in 2004 and has been on a steady rise in the vibrant Northwest Music scene.

Will West has also released 3 solo albums and several limited press EP's. 
"to inspire" by Will West (live & lo-fi) ~ April 2009.  A collection of live studio recordings and home studio work by Will West and guest bandmates. (limited press)
"Shine" by Will West ~ April 2007.  Will's debut studio album. Recorded with Rob Stroup at 8 Ball Studio in Portland, Oregon.
"Reconstruction" by Will West ~ Jan 2004.  A collection of intimate acoustic recording of Will West at Ethos Studio in Portland, Oregon.

Their live performances continue to evolve and change. As a solo performer or with variations of a band, West pulls off fantastic acoustic guitar playing with smoothly delivered vocals and harmonica. Each show is an experience and it's all about the vibe...

website:
http://www.willwestmusic.com/

MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/willsmusic

Events

About Lola's Room

An oasis below the Crystal

The little sister of the historic Crystal Ballroom, Lola's Room is located on the second floor, directly below the Crystal. If you're a fan of DJ'd dance events, raging local rock showcases or intimate seated performances, then take a moment and bookmark this page.

The navigation menu at left is your roadmap to Lola's Room and the other offerings at the corner of 14th & Burnside. Check out what's coming up on the Events Calendar, let us host your next party or simply investigate our brewery, artwork and history.

A night at Lola's Room should always include a stop by Ringlers Pub or Ringlers Annex, where the vibe will fit your mood -- great pub fare, handcrafted beverages, engaging conversation, a good pool game, a rowdy party or a groovy DJ in a dimmed setting.

Never stop exploring! This website is a continual work in progress, and will develop over time. Watch for photo tours, sound samples from upcoming acts and much more. Meanwhile, be our guest, wander and enjoy!

Looking for your Crystal Ballroom and/or Lola's Room Passport Stamps?

A Crystal Ballroom, Lola’s Room & Crystal Brewery Tour occurs daily at 2 p.m. - meet at Ringlers Pub (street level below the Crystal Ballroom.) The tour takes about half an hour to complete. Any questions may be directed to the Crystal box office, 503-225-0047.

If you cannot make the tour, stamps for the Crystal Ballroom and Lola’s Room are also available when you see a show. The shows can be ticketed or free – as long as you’re attending an event in the venue, you can get that room’s stamp. Please note that if you’re attending an event in the Crystal Ballroom, you will need to attend a separate event in Lola’s Room to get the Lola’s stamp and vice versa. Stamps are always exclusively available in their own venue. 
 
Please note: Due to private events, concert setup needs and brewers’ schedules, not all spaces are guaranteed to be available to tour daily, but our staff will give it our best shot and show you the spaces that we can.

Explore the Crystal Blocks

Our Crystal Hotel and legendary Crystal Ballroom are just across the street from each other, each offering their own unique spaces for live music, Northwest style fare and McMenamins hand crafted beverages.  Explore these properties and all they have to offer. 

Crystal Ballroom Property

Crystal Ballroom  Lola's Room  Ringlers Pub  Crystal Brewery

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Crystal Hotel  Al's Den  Ringlers Annex  Zeus Cafe

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