It has been well over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic brought our world to a screeching halt. Live music was one of the hardest hit areas since social gatherings were no longer safe to attend and states simply would not allow concerts in concern to public safety. It was the right thing to do for us all but has been hard on all of us especially our musicians and venues.
With more and more people getting vaccinated, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Little by little things are starting to come back that is as long as the virus variants stay at bay. We are getting there and we just have to be smart going forward.
Michael Dean Damron is well known in our Portland circles for his work on and off the stage. Onstage, he has fronted bands like I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House as well as his work in his own solo projects. Off stage, he is a respected behind the scenes type as well, who has helped make shows at places like Dantes happen. With Mike being fully vaccinated, he wanted to get back to playing live as he was missing the stage.
What? A live show? Really? YES.
Walking back into Dantes was surreal. It was exciting to be back, but there was still a little hesitation. Those who attended the show were social distanced, wore masks and did the right things to stay safe.
Mike played solo, acoustic for the night. He brought his “cheat sheets” to maybe to shake off the cobwebs, but from friend’s songs request in the audience he quickly found his musical stride. He went back to the “SOBs” early days with songs like Walk Across Texas and Into the Mud. The SOB rocker, I Be Ready was given a stripped-down twist giving the song a more soulful side.
Mike played every request he was dealt. Pot to Piss In was a rare treat and the brutally, honest Westboro Baptist Church got the crowd going. Through the pandemic, Mike has been writing new material and streaming live shows online for fans so some new songs got their chance as well as a few covers from heroes like Smokey Robinson.
Watching the show, there was a big take away. Mike was really happy. The pandemic seemed to make him take stock of his life. At one point, he talked about the civil unrest in Portland and talked about he considered buying a gun to stay safe, but then opted for a treadmill instead putting his health first. Mike seems to have a renewed sense of being as a person and musician. It was nice to see. In the end, he said it best. “I’m back. I love this shit”.
Mike will be playing some more Dantes shows in the weeks to come. Check his social media for more info.