Night Seven with Annie Sea- The Final Night

I have to say, it was bittersweet to end my Residency at Al's Den, but I really couldn't have imagined a better time. The musician's got to play with, the people that I met and my town around town all exceeded expectations. 

The final night was great. I opened with a set of my own while Shaun David followed with another great solo set. Annie Sea, a local Portland musician known for her diverse musical projects, played a set to a packed room, half of which had seen Annie's magic and were there for her. Annie played a Ukulele through a sampler, playing guitar like riffs while sampling and harmonizing her own vocals. Her songs had a sort of purity to them, and her vocals and lyrics were really captivating. A self proclaimed "nerd" and a teacher of science, she sang songs about distant universes and other scientific topics and really honed her craft, blending elements of R&B and Folk.

Shaun and I finished out the night with a strong set of songs, weaving in new songs with old songs and covers. We played really well, and though it was my last show of the residency, I feel like we were just hitting our stride. Afterwards, we hung out for the comedy show and had some laughs, and drank whiskey til the bar closed. A great way to end my residency, an experience I'll never forget.  

Anthony Presti
Night Six with Ronnie Carrier and Shaun David

Holy crap. I made it to day six. I gotta say it's starting to feel like I've been here a week. My fingers are cut and sore. My lungs are tired and my throat is a bit gruff. I suppose this experience is relatable to touring, but I haven't played this many consecutive shows in a while. Tonight is the final night and it's bittersweet. I'm really excited to have a day off in Portland on Sunday, but I'm not quite ready to go back to normal life. Either way I've been extremely inspired to write new music and can't wait to get back together with my band.

All the shows have been great, and last night was no exception. The crowd was lively and responsive right off the bat as I opened the show with a few songs. Shaun David, my guitarist and singer/songwriter in his own right, played a solo set and killed it, and then Ronnie Carrier took the stage for an hour. She's a cool songwriter. Her style of dark dreamy pop rock is perfect for Portland and she's definitely perfected her sound. 

I'd say the highlight of the night for me was playing with Shaun again. We had good energy right out the gate and rocked through a set filled with songs from Existentialism. It was so nice to hear those electric leads that just really bring some of my songs to life, especially "Sweat it Out." I love playing solo too, it gives me a sort of freedom to change the feel of the song if I want, but it was nice to have a companion sharing the stage with me. 

Tonight Shaun David will play another solo set, followed by Annie Sea. It's her birthday show so it's bound to get rowdy. I'm really excited to go out with a bang!

Anthony PrestiAl's Den
Night Five with Amber Russell

One of the things I like about Portland is that the weather doesn't stop anyone from going out. On a rainy and cold Thursday evening, Al's Den filled out nicely with a crowd who came to listen. Each and every night the audience sort of embodies and dictates how the show will be. It was sort of like a mix of every night so far, people were lively, but focused and really in tune with the music. 

Amber Russell was my guest performer. She was sort of a last minute fill in for a cancelation, but I'm glad it worked out because she was very unique. Her style of slap guitar was impressive, shifting through tunings and capos while playing really cool covers and originals. Although she doesn't sing, her character rang through while talking in between songs. Her playful, quirky personality really brightened her set, and even through breaking a string she didn't fret and ended up finishing strong. 

My set was mostly filled with originals. It was my last solo show of the Residency as Shaun David will join me on guitar for the weekend. It really couldn't have gone any better for me, either. The reception was overwhelming and honestly, a bit shocking. I can tell that after five days of playing every night, my vocals and performance have gotten stronger.  At the end of my set, a line quickly formed at my merchandise booth with people buying shirts, cd's, giving compliments and providing good conversation. To know that I can reach and affect people with my music is extremely uplifting. I've been honored to have this opportunity and have been extremely humbled by the talent I play with each night, it's nice to have that affirmation that I belong here, too. 

I'm looking forward to playing with my old pal, Ronnie Carrier tonight. She's introduced me to many of the artists I know here in Portland. It's always great watching her grow as an artist through the years. 

Anthony PrestiAl's Den
Night Four with Hayley Lynn

The Wednesday crowd started off strong. I knew from the moment I took the stage it was going to be a special night, although I was a bit sleep deprived the crowd was lively and receptive, and helped me gather the energy I needed to make it through the night. 

This show was a sort of anniversary or reunion for me. Last time I played in Portland was a year ago at the White Eagle Tavern with Hayley Lynn to support the release of Existentialism. It was pretty cool to come full circle. I knew Hayley was good, but holy moly, she was great last night. 

The highlight of the night was Hayley Lynn. Her command of the crowd and the room was undeniable. She has something special, and to see her growth within a year was really evident that she's been working hard on her craft. One of the great parts about this Residency is the talent I get to witness. I feel like this is a reoccurring theme in my blogs, but I really do feel lucky and honored to be sharing the stage with such talented people. Sometimes it's hard to get back up there after their sets! All in all, this has been an extremely inspiring experience thus far.

Tonight I play with Amber Russell, who I'm excited to see. She plays a tap style guitar and is about embark on a tour. This should be another great night. 

Stage selfie with Hayley Lynn. I'm so weird. 

Stage selfie with Hayley Lynn. I'm so weird. 

Anthony PrestiAl's Den
Night Three with Sheri Peterson and Unexpected Shenanigans

I'm at Stumptown coffee drinking all the coffee. Last night was super fun, once again, and was also the first night I hit the town after playing. First off, I have to give huge props to Sheri Pie. She stepped in with confidence and played all the songs exceptionally well for having never practiced them with me. An old friend from high school, I wanted to give her an opportunity to sing some covers and originals with me and have a sort of lighthearted evening. It was pretty ballsy for both of us, but it exceeded my expectations and she relished the opportunity. It was also nice to have a companion on stage again for a set. I'm excited for show number four tonight with Haley Lynn. Two more solo shows until I'm joined by Shaun David on the guitar to end the week with me. 

A good buddy of mine from San Francisco showed up. He's been a pretty big supporter of mine since our days in the Bay Area, and it's become tradition to sort of hang out while I pass through Portland. After the show, he took me to his old place of employment, Little Bird Bistro, which was amazing. The bartender took exceptional care of us, drinking delicious whiskey and mezcal cocktails and eating amazing food, from beef carpaccio to baked bone marrow with squid, topping it off with a couple delicious salads. 

After that I got to check off a Portland staple: Sassy's. It was cool, and weird, but the girls were class acts, even to the gentleman who started barking like a dog. We just drank a couple Tecate's and went back to his pad drinking scotch to the wee hours of the morning. These are the kind of experiences that are priceless. Sincere friends and good conversation. It was much needed after a few days of being solo. 

I also got some cool sketches of myself from the crowd. I'm starting to acquire a pretty decent sketch collection. It's nice to know I'm sketchable.

Anthony Presti