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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Blues, Beer, and Men of the Corn

Denson's Tiny Universe in a big crowd...with beer!Sound Check found itself over in Portland for the weekend, celebrating the long-standing tradition of inexplicably going

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Denson's Tiny Universe in a big crowd...with beer!
Sound Check found itself over in Portland for the weekend, celebrating the long-standing tradition of inexplicably going out of town for each Independence Day weekend. While long lines of recreation vehicles and non-recreational vehicles full westsiders passed us on Mt. Hood as they headed east, thus did he head west and right into the middle of the Waterfront Blues Festival.

We dropped our two cans of food and ten bucks at the gate and promptly joined, oh, probably about 50,000 other fans inside Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We staked out a postage-stamp-sized spot near the stage just in time to see the funk machine that is Karl Denson's Tiny Universe hit the stage and promptly get at least 20,000 asses (maybe more) moving, despite the 95-degree heat. The last time we saw Denson in action, it was the Domino Room with his other crew, the Greyboy Allstars, so it was certainly a change to see him in front of about 50 times as many sets of ears.


While awaiting a set by Johnny Winter, the historic blues rocker who is living visual proof that children of the corn do indeed grow into adults, we went and got a beer. And once we had that beer in our hand, we - and this may shock you - walked around the festival with it. What? We thought this was Oregon and that all musical venues, like the Les Schwab Amphitheater, require you to drink your beer in some sort of caged area with blinding overhead lights. Apparently, puritanical OLCC sanctions aren't so puritanical in Portland.

Anyway, we then bobbed along to Johnny Winter, gazing patriotically at the Willamette River and realizing how grateful we are on this Independence Day to live in a country where you can (almost) drink a beer in peace.

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