SuperCity: Portland stole my heart

Aug. 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

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BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

“This has been the most incredible trip so far and nothing I’m here for has even started yet!” I posted to my Facebook last week Sunday, Aug. 10.

CHRISTA WITTMIERMr JPatt of The Knocks with

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

Mr JPatt of The Knocks with “Project Runway” winner and Portland native Michelle Lesniak and her husband Manny at Electric Summer PDX: Low Key No Big Deal.

I usually refrain from posting too much to my Facebook stream — that’s what Twitter is for — but I just couldn’t help myself. This trip to Portland is even better than the last one. I realized that this city has everything that Hawaii doesn’t.

Don’t worry though! All that really is, is nice crispy, jacket weather at night, evergreen trees and boys who like me. After living in a city amongst so many perfect 10 supermodel-looking women, that last thing is feeling very refreshing. I really needed this trip.

Sunday was the Electric Summer PDX event my friends Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdet put together that had everyone, even the out-of-towners, saying it was the best event they have ever attended. Since it was invite-only with very strict access, everyone inside was extra stoked to be there and every conversation I had with someone new was awesome.

Listening to the DJs before me play on the Funktion One sound system (one of the best in the world) was pretty nerve-wracking, but sitting with Mr JPatt of The Knocks and seeing he was nervous too helped a lot. He had just come from a huge festival in Montreal with thousands of people and an after-party where he played with Jesse Andrews, Dillon Francis and The Bixel Boys. If he was nervous, too, then how I was feeling was completely okay.

JAMES PATTERSONThe first song is always the scariest in a new city.

COURTESY JAMES PATTERSON

The first song is always the scariest in a new city.

There were a few times I wanted to go back in my crate and switch some things out, seeing how much everyone loved deep house and tech-house. I realized these people really loved and understood intelligent bass music.

My set was an hour of beautiful daytime Tropical House since I was the only DJ from Hawaii and one of three from out of town. I wanted to bring exactly what I love to them, but it freaked me out!

I decided to go with my instincts and opened with ColeCo and I’m so glad I did. Out of the woodwork came some of the most beautiful, goddess-like women to dance. The sun was still out so I could see everyone’s face and with the exception of one beard-stroking, intently-staring, plaid-shirt-wearing guy, all of the faces were smiling. More and more people came out to dance, and when I glanced behind me even Mr JPatt had stood up to dance for the first time that day.

COURTESY PHOTO600 of Tia and Gregory's closest industry friends at White Owl Social Club.

COURTESY ELECTRIC SUMMER PDX

600 of Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdet’s closest industry friends at White Owl Social Club.

This was when I was able to get into the zone and really give them exactly what I loved. It was the best set I’ve ever played, made up entirely of all the music I loved for people who loved it too.

Later that night after I finished, I got hugs from strangers, with many asking for my Soundcloud URL. It’s not the first time that’s happened, but there is nothing in the world better than connecting with new people through your music, especially in another city.

I was a bit terrified to be in a lineup with so many superstars and even local heavyweights, but afterward one of the local DJs invited me to play with him at another gig later in the week. It was exactly the validation I needed to keep me motivated.

I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for the first time ever in my life on Friday, so I’ll be missing another weekend in Honoulu. It’s two weekends too many.

Portland has definitely nestled itself deeply into my heart, but (as usual) I can’t wait to get home to Hawaii.
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Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for Pow! Wow! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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