Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Determined to see a show in Portland

The second leg of my trip to the Pacific Northwest is in the beautiful city of Portland. (I've seen quite a bit in my short time here, but I'll save the details and pics for a later post.) Even though my nights here are not particularly good ones for going out on the town, I was determined to see a show to get a glimpse of the city's supposedly rich music scene. The pickings were slim for this Monday evening: a Henry Rollins spoken-word performance for $26.50 or a young local singer-songwriter named Mya Elaine for $0.00. No offense to Mr. Rollins, but I think I chose wisely.

I walked to the venue, the White Eagle Saloon, from my hostel. Portland gets props for being such a pedestrian-friendly city. I walked across the entirety of downtown, over a large drawbridge, and along a highway in the dark and managed to not get myself killed. 

I got a late start after helping an Australian-sounding Londoner hostel-mate top off his phone credit, so I missed a good bit of Mya Elaine's set. When I joined the audience, there were only about five other people watching her play, and four of them turned out to be friends of hers. This was baffling, because she was pretty damn good.

She performed solo with her acoustic guitar. Her songs were folksy/bluesy, her guitar-work was crisp, and her voice was sweet and versatile. She reminded me a little of Iron & Wine, Jewel, and David Gray. It's not like she has a growndbreaking sound, but she played her songs confidently and beautifully. 

Unfortunately her recordings on her MySpace page don't do her justice. I'd just recommend seeing her play if you happen to be in Portland at the right time. The price will probably be right, and Henry Rollins probably won't be there.

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