The excitement of a much-anticipated album release was palpable at Austin Randle's show at Rock Hard PDX. The Bar Pilots set the stage for an amazing evening, with the first song getting the toes tapping. As their name suggests, the flight took off and the last song had you trying to find where your chair went. Randle had big shoes to fill. The audience, primarily from the Hillsboro area but including people from as far as Hawaii, was here to celebrate with Randle and his family. They knew him personally and knew his work as well. Randle still was able to exceed their expectations. From a place close to the stage, I could feel and see it shake.
He ended with the crowd demanding one more. He looked left, he looked right, but the stage was surrounded. An encore was not optional.
This show was particularly emotional, as it signified one of the last shows at Rock Hard PDX's current location: The venue's last day will be February 4. Even though its closing is bittersweet, in a city known for its live venues, patrons won't have to search too hard for somewhere to catch great food, service, and of course, live music. —Shane Ramsay (Portland Metro Records)