Shawn Mullins, storyteller and folk singer, rocks the Aladdin

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

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— Folk rock singer Shawn Mullins played to a sold out crowd Saturday night at Portland's historic Aladdin Theater on Milwaukie Avenue. He then headed to Seattle for what he thought would be the end of his West Coast tour swing.

Not so fast.

Mullins opted to come back to Portland on Monday night to the cheers of those who couldn't get into the Saturday show. We opted to attend the Monday performance to see what the buzz was about. And it sure was worth it.

The Aladdin Theater is perfect for this down-to-earth singer. It's also one of the reasons why Couv residents love to travel across the river to the den of diversions. This joint began as a vaudeville house in the late 20s and played host to the likes of guys likes Jack Benny. Today the 620-capacity venue hosts an eclectic array of musicians.

Mullins lit up the crowd early with one of his more famous songs, "I just want to light you up." And throughout the performance his soulful voice made the experience a keeper.

Mullins — who is a storyteller by trade — also entertained the crowd with stories from his life. Our favorite? He was playing in an L.A. Chinese restaurant in the '90s and struck up a conversation with a woman who said she was getting tired of the boy bands and wished she could hear him on the radio. He said he told her he didn't think that was in the cards. But not long afterward, he made it on the radio.

Mullins also mentioned to the crowd that he's not sure he'd like to be any bigger than he is now. He likes his life and amount of fame just about like it is.

Mullins closed with a stirring rendition of "House of the Rising Sun." This guy is a southern boy but appears to feel right at home in the Pacific Northwest.