The Stately State Room | Buzz Blog

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Stately State Room

Posted By on April 16, 2009, 8:40 AM

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Before The State Room opened its doors the first week of April, the venue's owners described their new endeavor as more or less a place for adults. Not adult as in XXX, but adult as in mature - as in, concert goers could catch a show on a weekday evening, arrive home at a decent hour and not struggle through work the following day. But besides the early set times, The State Room really goes above and beyond to treat its guests with respect. Upon arriving for Po' Girl's performance on Wednesday, April 15, my friend and I were promptly greeted by a bouncer who acted more like a fancy hotel concierge than the scary-looking dudes who usually man club doors. Inside, the venue offered a coat check service for a mere one dollar, though had we known how nice the theater was beyond the main foyer we probably wouldn't have indulged. Outfitted with comfortable pews apparently salvaged from an LDS ward, the tiered seating system allows each attendee a great view of the stage.

The only hangup is the bar which is located in the foyer, separate from the theater. This is fine when checking out a laidback act like Po' Girl, but for a rock show it might be nice to continue watching the band and order your whiskey in tandem. It's a small detail that hardly detracted from the show.

Po' Girl's live set far surpasses their recordings which are still worth picking up. The Canadian group is fronted by principal singers/multi-instrumentalists Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira both of whom practically raised themselves, leaving home at 14 to travel a long, difficult road out of adverse circumstance. Judging by their stage banter, hard times continued throughout their early adult life including in Vancouver, the city itself leaving a bad taste in Russell's mouth. Of course, she wrote a song about it. Music is their sling-shot to better days.

Supporting member Benny Sidelinger - who like Russell and Teixera swapped instruments throughout their two sets on Wednesday. Guitars, clarinet, accordion, keys, banjo ... even a bonafide washtub bass. Drummer JJ Jones contributed to the easy, porch-swingin' chemistry that made Po' Girl such a joy to watch. For several long stretches I couldn't take my eyes off of Jones who resembled - and I mean this in the best possible way - a muppet dancing with her kit, her limbs orchestrated by invisible hands.

All in all, a great night. When we left, the kindly bouncer actually held open the door for us instead of just grunting farewell. Definitely check out The State Room before it closes down for the summer. If you have a ticket in hand for the April 18 Brandi Carlile/Angel Taylor show, consider yourself lucky. The event is sold out. Maybe KRCL will give away a pair as the date approaches? If not, look ahead to the 24th for Michelle Shocked. The complete lineup is available here.

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