Monthly Archives: December 2012

fun. with Miniature Tigers

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

I thought my dear friend Shaun would be writing this post. I was so sure, in fact, that I didn’t take notes at the show—it was a bit liberating, actually. But I guess that visiting assistant professors at prestigious New England liberal arts colleges are very, very busy because I haven’t seen the email I expected summarizing our night out on the town show up in my inbox. Ahem. I’d like to say a special thank you to the fabulous Nicholas Beaudoin who shared some of his pictures from nearer to the stage with me to share with you.

I was thrilled to buy a ticket for this show because I passionately believe in marriage equality and fun. donated all of the show’s proceeds to Mainers United for Marriage. From the Mainers United for Marriage website, “’More than anything else, we want to use our voice to make a difference. Maine has a big opportunity in this election, and we want people to be aware of the power they have. It’s an incredibly important, historic election, and we want to make sure people, especially people our age, know what’s at stake,’ said fun. lead singer Andrew Dost.” Ian Grady, Deputy Communications Director for Mainers United for Marriage followed up in an email to supporters, “fun. asked how they could help us win marriage in Maine and this Halloween concert to benefit Mainers United for Marriage was born. It’s incredible and we’re beyond grateful for the band’s support.” The show sold out quickly, and I was excited that Shaun and I got our tickets in time. I should also mention that I’m elated that Mainers voted to support marriage equality less than a week after this show and marriages for same sex couples will begin in Maine on December 29th!!!!!!

I am a BIG fan of marriage equality! So is fun.!

I am a BIG fan of marriage equality! So is fun.!

fun.’s Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost are equally passionate about equal rights and recently started The Ally Coalition as a way to raise awareness, support, and community around these issues. Jack wrote to those of us on fun.’s mailing list, “AC is a place where we as allies can make our statements and make them clear, together. we can use social media to make sure our friends and family hear our words, see our videos and read our posts. this is vital because this is how the conversation gets started. this is how change happens. this how people who are afraid of this issue can be guided in the right direction towards a future in which no innocent people are treated as second class citizens.” Check out their interview about this tour and the creation of The Ally Coalition.

Shaun and I had a leisurely dinner at nearby Local Sprouts and then got in line for the show just as doors opened at the State Theatre. We got the sense that we were by far the oldest people there. As we walked past the front of the line, two seniors from Mt. Ararat shouted out my name—Nicholas and Zack had been in line for hours already because they wanted to be near the front. I applauded their zeal, but Shaun and I correctly strategized that if we found a spot in the bar, we’d have a lot of room and a great view of the stage.

I don’t remember much about Brooklyn’s Miniature Tigers opening set. Their sound wasn’t really my thing. During the change up in between sets, Shaun and I played a game we invented for this Halloween show called “Are They In Costume?” We weren’t always sure. We saw a lot of scantily clad young women in kitten gear and also some simply scantily clad young women. The line between Halloween costume and Wednesday night concert attire was definitely blurred. I LOVED the guy dressed in a Post-it Note suit like the cover of Office Space and got a kick out of the woman dressed up in a Kennebunk Zumba leotard.

Miniature Tigers

Miniature Tigers

Incredible Halloween costume. Props to the Post-it Note guy! Also, note the sexy kitten--perhaps the evening's most common "costume."

Props to the Post-it Note guy! Is the woman in red in costume? I’m not sure.

fun.’s crew dropped off a red couch and a sign that said “Central Perk” just as fun. took the stage. All six of them were dressed as a different character from Friends, and they opened with the show’s theme song, “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrants. They started and ended their show with the song, in fact. Someone took a video. I’ll be completely honest—by this night I had heard “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” on the radio too many times. When I heard either, I switched stations immediately. I didn’t seem to be able to get away from either song. This show changed that, though. I was so incredibly impressed with fun.’s talent and Nate’s insanely gifted vocals that I loved hearing both songs live and have started listening to them again on the radio from time to time.

fun. doing "I'll Be There for You."

fun. doing “I’ll Be There for You.”

fun. was totally fun!

fun. was totally fun!

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Someone kindly posted an approximate set list for the night on setlist.fm:

One Foot

Why Am I The One

All Alone

At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)

All The Pretty Girls

Walking The Dog

It Gets Better

The Gambler

Barlights

Carry On

We Are Young

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover)

Encore:

Some Nights

Stars

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CONFETTI CANNON!

CONFETTI CANNON!

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Saying goodnight

Saying goodnight

Encore

Encore

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“Why Am I The One” was a favorite of mine. I loved hearing “The Gambler.” It’s the first fun. song I ever heard and my friends Megan and Adam danced to it as their first song at their wedding last summer. I also really love “Carry On.” I was completely impressed with fun.’s stage presence and energy. They worked the stage tirelessly and Nate’s voice impressed from start to finish. Shaun and I started making a list of songs we’d like to hear him cover—classics like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Journey. He has such power in his voice. A few people who knew I went to the show asked me afterwards if fun. was any good live. Since they use some audio effects and auto tuning on their album, I guess some people think it means that fun. can’t sing. That’s absolutely not the case. Everyone at the show can back me up on that.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Beaudoin. He was WAY closer to the stage than me!

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Beaudoin. He was WAY closer to the stage than me!

Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin

Great close up of Nate Ruess. Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin.

Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin

Friends! Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin.

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Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin

I LOVE this one! Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin.

Photo by Nicholas Beaudoin

I laughed during their cover of “Smelly Cat” from Friends and thought it was adorable how the band stuck to the theme all night. They covered us in confetti and sweat and high notes and messages about how honored they were to be in Maine supporting marriage equality. fun. bridged the gap between stage and audience and made us feel part of something special. They got the crowded incredibly worked up towards the end of their set, wrapping it with “We Are Young,” “Carry On,” and the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” We heartily asked for an encore and they continued to impress with “Some Nights” and “Stars.”

With one final round of “I’ll Be There for You,” fun. took their leave and Shaun and I (and the tired preteens sitting near us just below the bar snuggled with their moms well after bedtime) left the State pretty early on a school night, energized by the music and impressed by the performance. fun. does not disappoint! I have a feeling they’ll come back to Maine, too. We have a lot to celebrate! I so appreciate what fun. did to contribute to helping Mainers earn marriage equality. I always respect people who use their talents to help others. Thanks, fun.! See you soon!?!

xo,

bree

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Milo Greene with Lucius

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Brighton Music Hall, Allston, Massachusetts

*I took a deliberate concert break for the entire month of November. I always want to make sure that I see shows because I want to and not because I feel that I have to. I am back in the swing of seeing live music, and recently started piecing together my concert calendar through May 2013. I deliberately won’t be seeing 52 shows this year (although it will be close), and I’m glad for that.*

I watched The Civil Wars on Austin City Limits recently, about two nights before their ominous and vague message to fans that they were going separate ways for at least a while. I was heartbroken—they are pure magic. When I found out they were coming to Berklee last fall, I was lucky to get a third road seat for their show. I got there after a stressful drive from Maine on a Friday afternoon and settled into my seat just in time to see their opening act, L.A.’s Milo Greene. I was floored—an instant fan. I was so impressed with their musicianship—four guitarists/pianists/vocalists and a drummer. There was no lead singer. They gracefully danced across the stage, switching instruments and belting out perfect harmonies. They were selling a three song EP after the show, which I scooped up for $5 and listened to the whole way home. I think I left it in my CD player for a solid month and listened to it every single day. It has “1957,” “Silent Way,” and “Don’t You Give Up On Me” on it. It’s so so good—mesmerizing, haunting, and hopeful all at once.

Milo Greene announced a show in Boston in July (supporting their first full length album, Milo Greene) the same night I already had tickets for the Newport Folk Festival. I was bummed. When I found out they were coming back to Boston in October, I was psyched. I bought my ticket in their presale and when it came, there was a very serious announcement with the ticket from Artist Arena that I needed to be there before 7:30 and form a separate line because we’d get early entry. Cool. You know I like being up front. I had dinner and drinks in JP with my fabulous friend Tricia and made it over to Allston around 7:15. It was a ghost town outside Brighton Music Hall. I was the line.

Brighton Music Hall

Brighton Music Hall

I saw band members walk to and from their tour van, I heard a great sound check, and I got to talk to their sweet tour manager from Mexico who apologized when he heard I’d gotten some wacky information about early entrance to the show. Since there was literally no one else around, I really wasn’t worried about the confusion. I saw a girl in plaid check inside and then walk by a few times, glancing at the door. On her third pass, I asked her, “Hey, want to join me in line?” Maddie was awesome. She is a first year at Emerson College and a serious Milo Greene mega fan. She grew up in northern California and went to the summer arts camp where Milo Greene member Andrew Heringer worked. When he walked by us, she said hi to him and he spent the next 20 minutes chatting with us while a college group set up for an interview with the band under the marquee. Andrew was down to earth and a completely normal guy. I’m glad we had time to talk. I’m always nervous about meeting musicians because if they’re not nice, it ruins the music for me. He solidified my love for Milo Greene. He sang along to Lucius, whose sound check we could hear from outside, and is an obviously big fan of their music. It got me pumped to see them, too.

Milo Greene interview

Milo Greene interview

My concert friend Bob was shocked I’d never seen a show at Brighton Music Hall (it’s strange, I know), so when I asked him where to park and where I should snag a spot inside for the best view, he sent me a thorough reply and a personalized map of the venue with suggestions for where I would want to stand for the show. He rocks. Maddie and I went in together and had no competition for spots up front for quite a while. We found a spot we liked just to the right of center stage and set up camp and put our stuff to rest on the stage—just how I like it! We chatted for a while about how excited we both were for the show, right up until Lucius took the stage.

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Wisdom from Bob

Bob is awesome.

Bob is awesome.

Brooklyn’s Lucius rocks. They came out in costume—the ladies in sort of futuristic white dresses and shoes, and the guys in matching white dress shirts, red suspenders, and white dress shoes. They established their unity before singing a note. They are incredibly percussive and have strong harmonies. They were a good fit for Milo Greene musically. I’d say Lucius is a bit edgier and Milo Greene a bit more folky. All of the member of Lucius played percussion and sang and/or played another instrument basically the whole set. There was a lot going on onstage and I really liked their sound. They talked about how their van and all of their equipment had been stolen earlier in the year when they’d last played Boston, but how their fans contributed via Pledge Music to help them replace everything. I’m glad they decided to come back to Boston—my goodness!

Lucius' lead women

Lucius’ lead women

Lucius is super percussive

Lucius is super percussive

They invited Boston’s You Won’t up for “Turn It Around.” They played tambourine and additional drums (SO much percussion!) and sang some, too. They are currently on tour together supporting Pearl And The Beard (who I missed last night because I saw Trampled By Turtles and Spirit Family Reunion). Three of the members of Lucius unplugged for their final song—a cover of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” by Buddy Holly. They played in the center of a delighted crowd fully willing to listen attentively late at night on a drunken pre-Halloween weekend. I was impressed that Lucius tried it out and how well it worked. I’d see them again in a heartbeat. I talked to them briefly after the show and bought their four-song EP that I have listened to hundreds of times at this point. It’s fantastic.

Lucius with You Won't

Lucius with You Won’t

"It Doesn't Matter Anymore"

“It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

Lucius

Lucius at the merch table

I love Milo Greene’s new self-titled album, but I think their strength is in their live show. It is amazing to see how they constantly and seamlessly hand instruments back and forth—all such talented musicians—and how even though they all sing and there’s clearly no lead singer, their sound has power and is full and strong. Drummer Curtis Marrero is the only one tied to one instrument—Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Andrew Heringer, and Marlana Sheetz—are all over the stage and play everything. It’s impressive and makes for a dynamic show.

Milo Greene!

Milo Greene!

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Here’s their set list from the night:

Moddison (Intro)

Staging Point

Wooden Antlers

Don’t You Give Up On Me

Silent Way

What’s The Matter

Son My Son

Chicago (Sufjan Stevens cover)

Autumn Tree

Polaroid

Perfectly Aligned

Take A Step

Cutty Love


A Shot in the Arm (Wilco cover)

1957

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My favorite song on Milo Greene is “Son My Son.” I love the line “just remember the weight of your world’s only resting on me.” MG played it right before a phenomenal cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” that Lucius joined them for. They brought it down right after that with lovely “Autumn Tree.” Their set was short and they played their entire album. I hope that even though they’ve been busy on the road, they’re working on their next songs. I was sad they wrapped so soon—it was so good that it felt like mere moments—but we asked for an encore and they happily obliged.

Lucius with Milo Greene for "Chicago"

Lucius with Milo Greene for “Chicago”

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MG was very complimentary of Boston and seemed genuinely appreciative of the crowd. They promised to come back more often. They gave a lot of shout outs to people in hilarious Halloween costumes, including a guy in a moose ensemble who I snapped a close up  picture of. They played a two-song encore—Wilco’s “A Shot in the Arm” and ended with “1957,” which is the awesome and dynamic single they’re currently playing on the late night talk show circuit.

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I’d LOVE to see Milo Greene come to Portland, Maine. I’d like for more of my friends to know about them. 98.9 WCLZ in Portland has been playing “1957” for a bit now, and I am confident that this band is going to be huge. Check them out, and check out Moddison, the film that they made to accompany their album. These are some creative, talented people deserving of your attention.

MG, I heart you.

xo,

bree

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