Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Portland faced with Double Trouble!

Double Trouble besieged another city this past week -- thanks to the brand of musical mischief wrecked by the gorgeous duo, Christopher Dallman and Aiden James.

Here is a review of the Portland gig by Raine!




I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Christopher Dallman at the Alberta Street Pub in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, March 27th.

I will try not to make my review sound like an outright plagiarism of Elizabeth's previous review but other than a few minor differences such as venue and conversation topics my experience was much the same.

From your description the Alberta Street Pub in Portland is very similar to the Skylark Club in Seattle. It’s a very small and intimate venue. As you walk in the door the entrance splits in two directions, to the left is a room where the bar is located and to the right is another room with a tiny stage. Small tables and chairs line the walls and a row of what appear to be church pews line the center of the room. Now these may look like church pews but they are far more comfortable than any church pew I ever sat on as a child.

My son Jim accompanied me to the show and we ran into a spot of bad luck getting there, first we got lost looking for the venue and went about 30 blocks too far and then when we finally found the pub the ticket machine in the paid parking lot jammed and wouldn’t give us our ticket. By the time we made it into the venue Chris was already half way through his set but the moment I walked through the door of the pub and heard Christopher’s sweet voice filling the venue I smiled and turned to Jim and whispered, “That’s Chris.”

Jim told me to go on in while he went back out to my truck and wrote a note for the parking lot vendors explaining that the ticket machine had jammed and that we had indeed paid for our parking.

The first thing I did upon entering was stop at the table that was set up next to the entrance and buy copies of “Race The Light” and “Never Was” which I have been wanting for quite a while. Being in a unfamiliar place all alone with Jim being outside at the truck and the only other living soul in the room I was familiar with was Chris from our online communications through Twitter and Myspace over the past few months I felt a little awkward and uncomfortable so I stood by myself at the back of the room enjoying Christopher’s music and awaiting Jim’s return.

Little did I realize I would have such a long wait. It was taking Jim forever to come back inside and eventually I began to feel even more awkward standing there so I took a seat at the end of the last pew and enjoyed the rest of Christopher’s set. I had no idea what to expect or if I would even get a chance to meet Chris at all but at the end of his set Chris announced that there would be a 10 minute break and then left the stage, he was coming right down the aisle towards me and when he saw me he smiled and stopped and thanked me for coming. I asked him if he knew who I was and he looked a little puzzled until I said, “I’m Raine.” Then his smile widened and he reached out and gave me the most warm and wonderful hug. Just as Elizabeth described in her review, it was much more like being reunited with an old and very dear friend rather than a first time face to face meeting. He thanked me again for coming and I told him I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. After Chris and I parted company I went back outside to find out what was taking Jim so long and found him just finishing up the note for the parking vendor. He explained that he had trouble finding a pen and that was what had taken so long. Jim and I went back into the pub and were about to get our drinks when Chris passed us on his way out the door. He stopped and told us he was stepping out for some fresh air so we said we would join him.

We stood outside the pub and talked about Portland, its weather and inhabitants in comparison to my hometown of Los Angeles and its weather and inhabitants, we also discussed San Francisco and the show he and Aiden had just done there as well as other subjects that were more along the lines of “getting to know you better” type of subjects which I won’t bore you with by going into detail.

Far too soon it was time to go back inside as Aiden’s set was about to begin. Jim and I went to the bar and got our drinks and then returned to the other side of the venue to be blown away by Aiden’s performance. We found a small uninhabited table at the back of the room right in front of the sound booth and sat down. Chris sat at the front of the room at the end of the first pew.

Aiden’s performance was just as wonderful as Christopher’s, his voice just as soulful and mellow, his lyrics meaningful. My favorite song is the unreleased “On My Sleeve” as it struck a chord with me through the songs lyrics and Aiden’s personal description of what inspired the song. Like Aiden explained about himself, I too tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and just as he described it is one of my greatest attributes as well as one my biggest flaws so this song struck deep with me.

Although Aiden seems a quieter and a bit more reserved than Chris, although this could have just been due to the fact that Aiden and I have had no previous contact online so to him I was a complete stranger, nonetheless Aiden has a charming wit and sense of humor. When he wasn’t wowing the audience with his music he had the entire room cracking up with his wit and humor.

Okay, now back to the music. As I already stated Aiden’s voice is just as soulful and mellow as Christopher’s, they compliment each other so well and when they both take the stage and sing together it is purely magical. I would love to see these two amazing artists and friends collaborate on a project together, I’m certain it would be absolutely incredible! (“hint, hint to Chris and Aiden.”)

Funny story time; at one point during Aiden’s set the natural born klutz in me decided to rear its ugly head and I tripped over a table and knocked a (thankfully capped) bottle of water on the floor right in front of Chris! Oh my God! How embarrassing is that?! I just did what I always do in embarrassing situations and laughed it off. I mean, what else can you do other than take it with a grain of humor and move on? It’s not like life gives you an instant “do over” though sometimes I certainly wish it did. So I leaned over to Chris and joked, “That’s pretty bad for someone who’s only had one beer.” Chris immediately put me at ease and although I still felt embarrassed for the disruption during Aiden’s set, I didn’t feel nearly as foolish. (“Please forgive me for the disruption during your set Aiden you were truly wonderful Saturday night.”)

After the show Chris and Aiden were both standing at the back of the room meeting fans and signing their CD’s for people. Jim and I made our way over and I bought both of Aiden’s CD’s “On the Run” and “Aiden James, Live at Tin Angel” because after hearing Aiden’s music he just acquired two new fans in the form of Jim and I. Chris and Aiden both signed their CD’s and then Jim and I escaped the crowd and stepped outside to give others a chance to meet and talk to these two very charming and extremely gifted artists.

While Jim and I were standing outside the pub talking about what we were going to do now that the gig was over Chris came out with his equipment to load it into his car, Jim asked if he could help Chris carry anything but Chris said he had everything alright and that his car was close which to my surprise was parked just a few feet from where Jim and I were standing. Chris loaded his equipment into the trunk and then stepped over to talk to us for a few more minutes before we left. Once again he thanked us for being there and again I told him I wouldn’t have missed it. We gave him our best wishes and a small gift we had brought for him, we said our goodbyes and he gave me another one of his warm and genuine hugs and then gave Jim a hug as well.

I feel like the English language is inadequate to fully describe just how warm, friendly, genuine as well as incredibly talented Christopher Dallman is, he is truly an incredible and amazing artist and a genuinely warm and wonderful human being and I feel sincerely fortunate for having the honor and pleasure of having met him. Portland loves you Chris! Come back again soon!

Note: Pics by Bounmy Sayasane

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