If you were to take a poll of men and women under the age of forty who grew up in or around the Portland/Metro area, you’d probably find that half of them have spent at least some time playing in a band.
I am one those fifty percenters.
I played in a few bands, did some small tours, made a couple of long forgotten EP’s.
So, when I found out my friend and his band were playing at the Doug Fir Lounge, the jealousy didn’t stem from the fact that he was in a band; it stemmed from the fact that he was playing the Doug Fir, a bar that is decidedly not a dive and a bar which is uber selective when choosing who performs on their fabulous stage.
Conveniently located on Burnside’s lower east side, Doug Fir offers a classy music venue adjacent to a hotel run by the owners of the Doug Fir. This makes it easy to ensure safety if one overindulges while enjoying the terrific environs of the Doug. From my home in cedar Hills, it’s a MAX ride and a quick bus transfer away.
My wife’s never been here before, and she’s usually reluctant to accompany me to concerts because they get loud and her feet get tired from standing. The walls are lined with real logs. It looks like an underground log cabin. Additionally, there’s a mirror behind the bar and along some of the side walls that make the small room seem huge. There’s plentiful comfortable seating throughout.The lighting is dim but not overly dark. It’s quiet and the crowd is diverse. The obligatory hipsters stand around and sip PBR’s and show off their latest tattoos.
“This is cozy,” she says.
The house lights go dim, a purple and red hue lights the stage. My friend walks out with his band and begins to play. The music is good old fashioned rock n roll with hints of blues and emo. Very eclectic and weird. Accessible yet just a little askew. Very Portland. Oddly enough, I can make out every word. The sound man is quite skilled The volume is loud but not overpowering and, unlike at many other Portland area bars, when their set is over, there is no ringing in the ears, just a pleasant hum, reverberating with good tunes, good brew and good people.
We go and greet my buddy, who shows us the fabulous green room, further fueling my hidden jealousy and then my wife and I hop on the bus, transfer to the Max and are back home in our cozy cedar hills condo in less than half an hour.
By Justin Price