I’m still humming “1999.” Like all of Prince’s songs, it’s hard to get them out of your head because they are so darn good. I am particularly proud of Prince because he is from my native state of Minnesota, so I consider him family. I have seen Prince perform live twice, back in the 80’s when he reigned the funk/rock kingdom. Tonight’s performance reminded me of why Prince is still royalty.
While not the real thing, Prince impersonator-Julian Stefoni-captures all the flirtatious fun of his protegé. He leaves every woman in the crowd feeling as if she has just been seduced and every male secretly longing to wear long purple jackets with lace cuffs. He is so captivating in this role, that one does not really notice there are other very competent musicians in this band. The attention goes to Prince, as it always did, with his licentious gyrations and sexy grin. This was so much fun. This is MY generation! Why are you sitting around on the sofa when you could be funking out with Erotic City? Really. You need to own this music!
I loved the Spare Room. Some might call it a dive. However, I am becoming increasing fond of the “dive look” the more we try out bars and lounges, as long as it is a safe dive. There is no false pretense at a good dive bar, just good, genuine and friendly service. This describes the Spare Room. It is simply appropriated with comfortable black cushy plastic chairs—like you see at hotel conferences—and fake wood table tops. I loved the bar lights with the colorful string of martini glasses and stars. Kind of like really obnoxious Christmas lights, except in this environment it’s really fun and cute.
I really liked our waitress. She tended us well and was able to handle my brother-in-law and his two buddies with ease. I had a hot chocolate drink with a chocolate liquor and whipped cream; I blame Prince for this naughty drink choice. It was yummy. There was no problem parking and the noise level was quite tolerable.
I’m really searching. I totally enjoyed this evening. It reminded me once again, that life and the music of my generation is really fun.
We have an affinity for tribute bands. It started with Ramble On, a Zeppelin band, but has only grown with time.
We have gone to Harefest, a tribute band festival in Canby, the last two summers, and the music is always fantastic. These tribute bands have terrific musicians. Besides Ramble On we particularly like Barracuda (Heart Tribute) and Stone In Love (Journey). But a good tribute band is a guaranteed good time.
My brother let us know that Erotic City, a Prince tribute band, was playing at the Spare Room. 30 plus years ago, when my wife and I were a courtin’ in Minneapolis Prince was at his Purple Rain majesty. That album was the sound track of our dating years. It is remarkable how certain songs can transport you back to very specific times and places. I hear I Would Die For You and always remember almost sliding into a telephone poll on the Minneapolis ice. And man is Prince a lousy actor.
The Spare Room is in NE Portland, my old stomping grounds. One the drive Kerry had to suffer through a tour of what the area used to be like and what I did. See that store on the corner? We would ride there on our Schwinn StingRays as it was the only place to sell Icee’s. We saved the diamonds on the cup towards a free drink. Never did get a free drink.
The Spare Room used to be bowling alley; one in our party scored a lifetime best 169 in the early 1970’s. Now it is converted into a lounge and music venue.
The atmosphere has been called dive and the seats of the booths are a touch worn, but a very comfortable place for drinks and a show.
The crowd is friendly. The waitress efficient and nice. I was always pleasantly surprised to place an order only to find it rapidly and surreptitiously appearing on the table when I wasn’t looking. When did she put the drink there? Or maybe it was the alcohol. Or the music. I don’t know.
The food? Solid menu of burgers and sandwiches. I had a patty melt and fries. Nothing special,.
The drinks were good. I could not resist a Bulleit to the Head (8 dollars), Bulleit rye with muddled oranges, cherry and sugar. Good enough for a second round. The beer selection is limited if you are a beer snob, but fine for lagers and IPA’s.
But we were there for the music. Erotic City. Fantastic. While the lead looks more like Little Richard than Prince, the band played with energy and joy.
There are musicians and performers, and the two are not necessarily found in the same artist. One of my favorite musicians is Waxahatchee. Her albums are some of the best of the century. We have seen her twice at the Doug Fir and I have rarely seen a musician who seemed more unhappy at having to play music for a crowd. And a crowd of fans who adore her. Maybe I just caught her on two bad nights.
Julian Stefoni has been leading a Prince tribute for 20 years and he give a performance for maybe 100 people with total enthusiasm; a musician AND a performer. He also has all the Price moves down. A great show.
A word about his band. Drummers come in a spectrum from those who play their kit like an instrument (Keith Moon, best drummer of all time in the best band of all time) to those who keep a basic beat. Drummers mystify me, somehow moving all extremities separately, keeping a beat and adding to it. I can barely chew gum and walk without falling. Their drummer, Camille Denny, really whales on the kit, more towards the Moon end of the spectrum.
Bassists are the same. There is a spectrum from John Entwistle (best bassist in the best band ever) to those who keep a beat. Their bassist also was musical. Judging from their Facebook site it was not their normal line up and they were short a keyboard player and the bassist was a fill-in. Didn’t matter, they played the great power funk of Prince and I look forward to seeing the band again with a full line-up.
Both the Spare Room and Erotic City are on my repeat list.