There is a gigantic learning curve associated with moving to a new city, particularly one halfway across the country. This curve extends to every part of daily life. There is a different rhythm, a different drumbeat, a different well … everything.
And so it goes with a city’s live music scene. New Orleans is a spontaneous city. You can pop inside any number of jazz clubs and see a great show any night of the week. As for national touring acts, particularly those of the indie variety, the city can be hit or miss. A partial reason? There are not a great deal of venues to host mid-sized acts.
Portland is stronger than New Orleans in terms of getting national acts but its local flavor is lacking. Good shows sell out quicker in Portland. Oftentimes that’s because scalpers purchase tickets, only to jack up prices. The Portland crowds are a little more subdued and image conscious. There are a wealth of venues of different sizes that make the Rose City an attractive tour stop. Enough comparing New Orleans and Portland.
This year, I chronicled more than 40 live music acts on this blog, and that’s just a portion of the shows I attended. This is a list to celebrate the best shows I had the pleasure of seeing in Portland, as well as some great shows I saw in Chicago (Pitchfork Music Festival) and Seattle (Bumbershoot).
Without further delay, I give you my favorite live music shows of 2011: