Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ella Street Social Club

Good morning, friends, & welcome to this week’s edition of Rose City Wednesday.

Today’s story begins on Twitter. Now if you know me, you know I’m a big fan of Twitter—I find it an exciting form of social media, & more importantly, I’ve met some really wonderful people there—in fact, one of this blog’s regular poetry contributors, Barbie Angell, is a great virtual friend who I first got to know thru Twitter.  But while I’ve met some wonderful folks that I first knew thru blogging in person, I hadn't yet met anyone I only know thru Twitter—that is, until last Sunday evening.

For quite some time I’ve followed the Twitter stream of guitarist/songwriter Daryl Shawn, & had also heard enough of his music online to know that in addition to being someone with interesting observations, he also has some very sophisticated guitar chops & a really interesting musical vision. Daryl contacted me a little while back & told me he’d be playing in Portland on Sunday March 18th at a venue called Ella Street Social Club, & invited me to come out for the show.

& this is of course, where we move from Twitter to Portland. Turns out Ella Street is rather unassuming, but fun & casual venue in the Southwest—well technically in the Southwest, but less than a full block from West Burnside, on 714 SW 20th Place. Ella Street has the feel of place where people like to hang out—not spiffy, but a great lived-in, or more to the point, partied-in, spot. The venue isn't large; there’s a jukebox in the corner, art on the walls (the current art includes paintings of pop stars from Jim Morrison to Bruce Lee, as well as some paintings inspired by comics, & rather amazing graffiti in the men’s room (I can’t speak for the distaff side.)  At $5 for a show, the cover charge is more than reasonable, & from what I see from online reviews, it’s a grand place to have a drink or three—since I’m a non alcohol drinker, I can’t speak to that, but I was treated to a club soda by the very nice young lady tending bar.

The building that houses Ella Street is unusual—& it wasn’t until I read one of the online reviews that the design all made sense—the Pennoyer Building, in which the club is housed, used to be a mortuary! Ella Street itself is accessed by a side door, however, as you can see in the photo leading off the post.

Other pluses? The sound in terms of acoustics was good, & the mix was handled well—I felt that Shawn’s really energetic & formidable playing were set off well by the space itself & the sound system. I would have liked to stay for the other two acts, but sadly, public transportation isn’t a fast way to travel, & Sunday night the service is somewhat limited. In this case, it was a train ride followed by a bus ride home, & I arrived back in North Portland only shortly before turning into a pumpkin.

If you’re local, I’d suggest giving Ella Street Social Club a try. You can find their entertainment calendar here, or you can “like” them on Facebook. I’ll definitely check them out again.

& please check out Daryl Shawn’s site; this guy is a serious musician who deserves more listeners.  A link to his music is here, & this page has links to his cds & mp3 on Amazon, iTunes & elsewhere. Here’s a couple of video clips of Daryl Shawn to give you an idea, but keep in mind these are definitely very “low fi” in comparison with what you’ll hear on his recordings—or live if he happens to come thru your town!  His current touring schedule, as well as info on past shows & other news can be found at this link.  Excellent guitarist & songwriter &
—as I've found when meeting people I'd previously known online, Daryl Shawn seems like a real good guy, too.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Photos all link to their source


  1. A mortuary, eh? I'm surprised it wasn't turned into a club for Goths!

    Sounds like a fun night, and great that you had the chance to meet a "virtual" friend.

    I turn into a pumpkin around 11:00 p.m. most nights. It used to be more like 2:00 or 3:00, but that was when I was just a pepper squash! (*groan)

  2. I listened to Interstate a few times while working. It's both restless and relaxing and was played very well; I enjoyed it.

  3. Hi Kat & HKatz!

    Kat: It seemed so obvious what the building had originally been when I read that, but the night I was there I just thought it seemed odd in a way I couldn't place. Actually from what I read, there was at least one bar there before Ella Street. It's 9:20 right now, & I'm already becoming very pumpkin like! & I used to be such a night owl.

    HKatz: Yes, I think "Interstate" was the first thing I heard by Daryl Shawn. He's a very proficient fingerstyle guitarist, & his classical training is obvious. Glad you liked it!


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