Portland has a lot of concert clubs but precious few spaces for storytelling, family music and jazz. Enter The Fremont Theater (2393 NE Fremont St., 503-946-1962, fremonttheater.com), a brand-new 120-capacity venue in the Alameda neighborhood.
The theater's tag line is "Something for almost everyone," and that's true if "everyone" means the people you know who listen to OPB and shop at New Seasons.
Coming up, there's an all-female a cappella group, Sunday-afternoon bluegrass and radio-ready indie rock from Australia. The room fits the music: bright, sparse and hospital-clean, with a blond-wood bar, concrete floors and a black metal staircase with narrow rows of cables to prevent the little ones from slipping through.
If co-owners Johnny Keener and David Shur have any niche, it's kindie rock. Keener, a longtime children's musician himself, has created basically the CBGB of the Portland kindie-rock scene—everybody plays here, from Tallulah's Daddy to Red Yarn. (When Caspar Babypants comes down from Seattle, we'll be front row.)
There's a full bar for evening events, but at the Saturday-morning no-cover kindie show, almost everyone drank coffee while appreciating the acoustic stylings of the trucker-hatted, ukulele-strumming Mo Phillips. As the kids danced, a few brave party parents sipped $8 mimosas, with one gentleman obviously darting his eyes around to see if anyone was judging him (we were). Given all the young families in Portland's inner neighborhoods, the Fremont is clearly filling a need. And if you like something a little more adult, it has a little of that, too.