Angel Bouchet: Band pleases crowd w/originals & more at Gator's
A recent visit to Gator’s Neighborhood Pub at 6605 S.E. Powell Blvd., turned out to be a fun evening with some pleasant surprises. The newly-formed, “all blues” Angel Bouchet Band was making it’s first appearance at Gator’s, where they entertained a very busy and receptive crowd.
The expectation was that this would be yet another Portland blues band, but what a surprise! Angel Bouchet is not just another blues singer – she is an outstanding songwriter and performer. Weaving her way through the crowd at Gator’s, she personalized her delivery by approaching the tables of fans on her hand-held wireless microphone. She was obviously experienced with this technique and very comfortable with her banter and crowd control.
The 9 p.m. downbeat of Rock Me Baby had dancers off their stools and chairs, with Bouchet’s gutsy, growling “dirty blues” delivery. Her original songs made up a third of the first set. A big crowd pleaser was Whiskey (“I’m gonna put you out on the porch ‘cuz that’s where dogs belong,” Bouchet sings.)
Other excellent songs penned by Bouchet included Passionate Discussion and Fallen Angel, where she lightened up with a child-like intonation, nailing the pitches perfectly. Contrasting this tender delivery, she was
back out in the audience on her wireless with “I got a story to tell you,” keeping everyone’s attention for sure.
Bouchet has several new originals that can be heard on her website, including Dirty Little Angel, Handy Man and Rock & Roll Taste On A Blues Budget. Her clever lyrics include phrases like “If you’re ready to learn, let me be the teacher ‘cause music’s the word and I’m the preacher.” Another highlight of the evening was the shared vocal spotlight when John Arevelo sang Take Out Some Insurance.
“Ko Ko Taylor, Swamp Mama Johnson, Etta James and Big Mama Thornton, among others, have influenced me,” says Bouchet, a native Oregonian. Born and raised in Southern Oregon, she’s resided in Portland since 1993. “I’m really happy with this band for being together such a short time (six months) because we’re able to cover all styles of blues: blues fusion, blues rock & funk and traditional blues,” she says.
Bouchet’s trio features lead guitar player John Arevelo. His many credits include touring with the Rightous Brothers for seven years. “John is such a good guitar player and he also sings lead and back-up vocals,” boasts Bouchet. “Kathy Black handles drums like the pro she is and keeps us all in line,” according to Bouchet. Black wears another hat when she’s not behind the tubs – she’s an attorney in downtown Portland.
The newest member of The Angel Bouchet Band is bassist Paul Graumann, known in this area previously as guitar player Paul Graham. “Paul’s been with us two weeks and this is his first gig,” says Bouchet. She continues, “I’m having a great time and I love what I do.” Bouchet is a marketer extraordinaire, as she is out four to five nights a week, promoting her band at local jam sessions.
A recording project is in process and two CDs will be finished by December. The albums will be completed just before the band performs for the Cascade Blues Association’s annual holiday party, a coveted gig for sure.
Gator’s Neighborhood Pub & Grill, 6605 S.E. Powell Blvd, is a hospitality spot for sure. According to personable and friendly mixologist, Sally Kirk, Gator’s is owned and operated by Terry Weaver and Anna Higgins for the past year and they definitely have it goin’ on. Kirk’s service was excellent and recommended “The Swamp Burger.” It was the best burger this writer has enjoyed in a long time. When the $8.75 plate was delivered, a to-go box was definitely expected for departure, but never happened because, to coin a phrase, “I ate the whole thing!”
Gator’s offers great discounts on snacks and beverages during their daily happy hours from 4-7 p.m., including $1 domestic draft beer and $2.50 well drinks. The Saturday special is notable: “Vets’ second drink is free!” According to Kirk, another best-bang-for-the-buck is the steak ‘n’ eggs special with hashbrowns and toast for only $4.95 every Saturday and Sunday. “It’s a good cut of steak and we usually pack ‘em in,” she says.
Gator’s sports a warm, happy neighborhood atmosphere with pool, darts, video lottery and a full grill-style menu that includes designer sandwiches and salads. An outdoor beer garden is also a nice feature.
One of Portland’s most popular blues jams happens every Wednesday evening at Gator’s from 8 p.m.-midnight with the legendary Lady Kat. Her host band includes Kevin Self (guitar); David Kahl (bass); and Kelly Dunn (drums). All singers and musicians are invited to perform. Lady Kat starts at 8 p.m. and guests sitting in start at 9 p.m.
Bouchet is a regular guest at this event.
For more information about Portland’s newest, hottest blues performer Angel Bouchet, visit Facebook, www.stormymondayblues.com or call 503-810-3502 for bookings.