Next Exit: Chris Funk of The Decemberists guides us through Portland, Oregon.

Like the majority of people who call Portland home, I didn’t grow up here. But in the 10 years I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve discovered its finer qualities (even though I only really live here about three months a year). If you’re touring through, I’ve got the lowdown on places to visit and stuff to keep you out of trouble. (If you are looking for trouble, go to our website and email me directly).

EAT AT: Valentine’s (232 SW Ankeny St.)

  It’s a sandwich shop open late with a killer Reuben sandwich. They serve our local pride – Stumptown Coffee – and have a full bar. Guess what? It’s also another supersmall but killer venue to play coffee shop-style shows (but you can crank it up to 11). Right across the street is the world famous Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Ave.) where, up until recently, you could get doughnuts glazed with Robitussin, NyQuil and Pepto-Bismol before the FDA spanked them. However, you can still get the cream-filled “cock-n-balls” (a phallic-shaped pastry with triple cream filling).

BEFORE THE SHOW, GO TO: Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary (One Abbey Drive, St. Benedict, Oregon)

  Don’t be like all the other rock douche bags and go to strip bars. Why go to Mount Angel? It’s the home of the world’s largest hairball, for fuck’s sake! Called “God’s Hairball”, it was found in the swollen belly of a 300-pound pig and donated to the museum.

PLAY AT: Towne Lounge (714 SW 20th Place)

  It’s a super-small club that was fostered by Chantelle Hylton from Blackbird Presents… up until recently (now she does booking at New York City’s Knitting Factory). It’s a rock club that has great noise bands, DJ dance nights and a no-B.S. vibe. If you have a booking agent and a small drawn you’ll probably end up at the Doug Fir Lounge (830 E. Burnside St.), but Towne Lounge is the real deal.

AFTER SHOW, GOT TO: My Father’s Place (523 SE Grand Ave.)

  Hurry up and pack you crap because places don’t stay open too late for drinks. If you want a bar, hit My Father’s Place. Cocktails are about $2.50 and they serve to the wire. They’re also open 24 hours for food, so if you make it to the morning you can just keep drinking (good pinball machines, too). Also, ask around: there’s always a house party somewhere with a band playing till dawn.

STAY AT: Ace Hotel (1022 SW Stark St.)

  I have no idea what it costs to stay at this downtown hotel [rooms run $85 to $250 per night – ed.] – it looks a little “smanshy”, but it has a good vibe. One of the managers keeps telling us that they “want rock people to stay there”, so call them up and tell them that after a show, you like to fuck like a hog all night while snorting pills off a stripper’s ass. I guess you’ll get a discount.

REMEMBER TO: Leave your umbrella at home

  Yeah, it rains here, but no one uses umbrellas and you’ll look a toot if you do.

SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine


Next Exit: Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms guides us through Chicago, Illinois.

Hey, welcome to Chicago. You don’t have friends here? That’s a little strange. This is one of the friendliest cities in the world, hence the nickname “City of the Big Shoulders”. You’re in luck though, because I happen to know some great spots to do the things that Chicagoans do best: eat awesomely un-healthy food, drink staggering amounts of beer and enjoy the best rock scene in the country.

EAT AT: Kuma’s Corner (2900 W. Belmont Ave.)

  Bottom line: Kuma’s Corner has the best burgers in the world, all named after metal bands and all available in beef, chicken or veggie styles. The music inside is loud metal, and the menu features crazy shit like pork fries (don’t ask, just try) and tons of microbrews. Hell, I think Clutch suck, but I order the Clutch burger every time I’m there.

BEFORE THE SHOW, GO TO: Art Institute of Chicago Museum (111 S. Michigan Ave.) and Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.?

  The Art Institute of Chicago Museum is great. It’s got [Geaorges Seurat’s] “A Sunday On La Grande Jatte”, [Edward Hopper’s] “Nighthawks” and [Grant Wood’s] fucking “American Gothic”! It’s one of the best collections of art in the world. If it’s too nice outside to hang around in a museum, go right next door to Millennium Park. It’s got a beautiful amphitheater and all sorts of crazy art installations, including a giant mirrored bean  which doesn’t sound nearly as breathtakingly cool as it is.

PLAY AT: The Metro (3730 N. Clark St.)

  Yeah, it’s big and it’s hardly the hidden gem you might be looking for, but come on! The Metro is the best club in the country. Backstage is comfy as shit with a hospitality staff who genuinely want you to have a good time. The house sound it top-notch, the in-lights are professional, the in-venue bars are affordable. The Metro’s owner, Joe Shanah, has also (awesomely) refused to sell out, despite offers that would make most of us punch our own grandmas. It’s the last of the great indie clubs in the country.

AFTER SHOW, GOT TO: L&L Tavern (3207 N. Clark St.)

  L&L Tavern is the default rock bar in town. It’s full of old men, punks, indie rockers, bums, drunks, office drones and sorority girls. Together, they form one of the best experiences around. The jukebox is great, the $2 beers are better, and the odds of running into someone from the Chicago rock scene (specifically studio whiz Matt Allison) are high. Chances are that someone in your entourage is already headed to the L&L anyway, so forget your lame plans and make a fucking night of it, already.

STAY AT: City Suites Hotel (933 W. Belmont Ave.)

  City Suites is in a cool neighborhood, it’s not totally scary, and it’s right next to Philly’s Best (which has cheese steaks so delicious and authentic that you could stuff one right up Ben Franklin’s ass), right across the street from Igor’s Dungeon (home to all your dildo needs) and up the street from Boystown (our local gay neighborhood, filled with all the good-looking dudes and crazy drugs you’ll ever need to find).

REMEMBER TO: Look for Old Style Beer signs

  Last time I went hunting for red-and-blue Old Style Beer signs (the unofficial beer of the Midwest), the bartender ended up runnning out of shot glasses by 6 p.m. because he had thrown them all against the wall and shattered them.

SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine