02.06.09 Brandi Carlile Concert & Weekend Review

This past weekend, I attended yet another Brandi Carlile concert in Bellingham, WA. This was the first show I have seen since November, so I was just a little bit excited, to say the least! Here's a play-by-play of the weekend adventure:

Jenn came by my house and picked me up. We went to the Little Red Bike Cafe for breakfast. I had never been there before but had been meaning to try it out. It was AMAZING!!! I had a standard breakfast, called the 2X2X2. 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, and 2 pieces of toast, served with homemade jam. I also had a cup of drip coffee, roasted by Courier Coffee, another local coffee roaster from Portland. I have to admit, I was not impressed with the coffee. I prefer Stumptown Coffee and probably always will. We hit the road around 10 a.m. and headed north on I-5 to Bellingham, WA, just north of Seattle.

On the way to Bellingham, we stopped in Snohomish and picked up our friend Steevie. She lives right where it flooded earlier this year. Her boat is still in the front yard, just in case it happens again.

We arrived in Bellingham around 3 p.m. and checked into our hotel. I have to admit, it was one of the cheapest ones around and I think there was a reason for that! The beds were hard, the pillows were too soft, and the towels were too thin. But, it was cheap and all we needed was a place to crash for the night and for those reasons, it served its purpose.

Our plan for the evening involved meeting with friends at Boundary Bay Brewery for dinner and drinks before the show. For those of you who don't know this, I am involved in an online fan forum for Brandi Carlile's music. The AgainToday community is probably one of the best experiences I have ever had with meeting people online. All of us have joined because of our mutual love and respect for Brandi Carlile and her music. In the process, I have often met these people in person and become good friends with quite a few. There are a lot of us on the "forum" from the PNW, so we always look forward to shows that are "local".

We arrived at the Boundary Bay Brewery around 5:30p and the party was in full swing! Amy, Stacie, Chris, Sherri, Allison, Linda, Janet, Sarah and Tigger were already there. Natalie, Wendy and Brenna arrived a little bit later, along with Cathy the Canadian and some other people I did not know. The Boundary Bay was hopping and took great care of our large group. I had the pulled pork sandwich and a pint of the Dry Irish Stout. Steevie bought some sweet potato pie for desert and shared it with all of us. It was completely gluten-free and absolutely delicious!

Since we had all been drinking, we decided to walk the four blocks to the Mt. Baker Theater. We arrived just before the opener, Gregory Alan Isakov, came on. Our seats were awesome! We were third row, on Phil's side. I had plans to record the show, but those plans were foiled by the guy with the fat head sitting in the front row, blocking my view. I have to be somewhat discreet and there was no way I was going to be able to video the show, so I just recorded audio. Brandi came out and sang three songs with Gregory Alan Isakov. I really enjoyed his music and hope to catch him the next time he is in Portland.

Brandi came out with Tim and Phil Hanseroth, aka "the twins", on guitars followed by Josh Neumann on cello. It was a stripped down acoustic set, which I love!

I didn't take a lot of photos this time around. To be honest, I was just trying to enjoy the concert. I've noticed that when Brandi does a show close to home, the energy is always off the wall. This evening was no exception. She was very playful, cracking jokes, telling stories and gracing us with new, new songs! The band has been in the studio the past month in Los Angeles working with Rick Rubin. Apparently, they scrapped everything they did in Nashville last fall and started from scratch. Over the past year, they've been trying out new songs on us. I refer to those songs as new, old songs since we've already heard them before. They also played some of these new, old songs in a new way, which also made it special. It gave us a feel for what the new album is going to sound like.

I was so stoked when she played "Jackson"!!! I love Johnny Cash and Brandi does such a great job of covering his music.

At the end of the show, we did get a set list, but unfortunately it was not accurate. Apparently, they changed things up a bit in the middle of the show! I'm not complaining, but I don't have a set list at the moment. When I get one, I will edit this post.

After the show, Brandi signed and chatted with everyone. I was able to get her to do a video shout-out to the AgainToday community.

I also found out she is doing a European tour at the end of April, planning to go to Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria (?), Portugal and France. I don't remember all of the shows, but she was pretty excited about it. They also announced a new acoustic tour for March/April. Those tour dates can be found here.

Once all of us had gotten our pictures taken and stuff signed, we all headed to a bar called Rumors. We hung out there for a while, then last call happened and Tigger had pie outside, so some of us headed that direction to have a piece of the famous pie we have at many of the PNW concerts. Steevie's partner bakes the most amazing pies!!! We had pie, then drove back to the hotel where we all promptly fell asleep.

Everyone woke up early Saturday morning to go snow boarding at Mt. Baker. Jenn, Steevie and Jaleah left around 7 a.m. to get up there in time for the first lift. I slept a little bit more, then woke up and arranged for breakfast plans with Brenna. We decided on the Horseshoe Cafe, a 24 hr diner that I had been to the last time I was in Bellingham for a show. Allison and Linda met up with us. We had a great breakfast. I had bacon, eggs, toast, and biscuits with gravy.

After breakfast, Brenna showed us around Bellingham. She took us to a park near the water. It was beautiful!

(Brenna, Me, Allison, Linda)

We spent some time in Fairhaven, this historic district just south of Bellingham. Wendy and Natalie met up with us and we wandered around for a while. I went into Chispa Vespa of Bellingham to see what kind of stuff they had. I ended up talking with the guy for a while about my 1980 Vespa P200 and the Scooter Cannonball Run. We also talked about AmeriVespa this year and if I was planning to ride down to San Jose (I am). He ended up giving me a free t-shirt, which I thought was really cool! I'm hoping we can ride together down to AmeriVespa. We'll see.

Brenna and I finally decided we needed to head to Seattle. The plan was to spend the night in Seattle and leave the next morning for home. Jenn and Jaleah would meet up with us later after dropping Steevie off in Snohomish. We made it to Seattle without any traffic issues, which is so nice. I took a nap and then we went to dinner. Brenna took me to a Vietnamese place in Capital Hill and I had pho for the first time. It was so delicious! I think I am hooked. We walked around Capital Hill for a while before heading back to Brenna's. Jenn and Jaleah arrived a little bit later and we all were in bed by 10 p.m., exhausted from the past two days.

We woke up, got dressed, and headed to our new favorite place, Top Pot Doughnuts, for breakfast. I love this place. If you are ever in Seattle, you have to go check this place out. I could stay here all day, drinking coffee, eating doughnuts and writing.

After breakfast, we started the trek back to Portland. I think I slept most of the way. Once I got home, I took a shower, and headed into work.

It was an exhausting weekend, but a fabulous weekend, nonetheless. I feel so blessed to have these opportunities.