2 shows that happened 2 months ago. Calvin Johnson makes an appearance

Time flies, it’s already been a while since these shows happened but I wanted to say a few words about them.

First, on December 11 I went down to Portland to play at my friend Steve’s wife Kelli’s 30th birthday party. Steve rented the basement of a club called the Blue Monk, which is usually a jazz/blues club, and has a stage and PA and all that. And a buffet, naturally. The party was a mixed bunch, and for the most part strangers to me: friends and family of the birthday girl, old people, some kids, and then some musicians. It was a night of solo indie pop/folk performers, and (somewhat bizarrely) the headliner was Calvin Johnson (of Beat Happening, K Records fame).

Us openers played short sets.. I played 5 songs, which were fun for ¬†me as they came from 5 different projects: 1 song each from my first album, from give/sell, from mississippi painful, from an invitation to love, and then a new one. In all other ways my set was, let’s say, inconsistent with the idea of party/dinner music. But! It was short, and a few people were into it, and the other acts were in the same boat.

Except Calvin Johnson, who happens to be a consummate performer. He was able to get the buffet crowd interested and involved in his performance. And he was great, playing from his solo albums. Here’s a picture from my phone, you can kind of tell who it is:

Later on there was a ¬†raffle and I won a Beat Happening LP. I had him sign it. I also drank all my drink tickets and napped through the drive home. A perfect trip! Here’s the album:


The week after, on December 16, I played at the Ball of Wax Volume 18 release party. That show was great for short attention spans.. lots of bands but they were constantly changing.. there’s a write-up for it here:


What was particularly fun about this show was our group’s configuration — Open Choir Fire, Seth Howard/Rosyvelt and myself were one of the composite bands — and it was the first time I’d played with that many people at the same time. It’s a big fad right now to have these big 7-or-more-member bands and I think I see why. Big sound and less pressure.

Check out the Ball of Wax 18 webpage here:


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