Friday, January 25, 2013
State Theatre, Portland, Maine
My dear friend Chris Bartlett will add his thoughts about our evening soon, but I wanted to at least post the pictures I took when a group of us saw the incredibly talented folk/soul/gospel/preacher/singer Martin Sexton perform at the State Theatre a couple of weeks ago. He is absolutely best live. The first time I ever saw him was the same day my college boyfriend broke up with me at the beginning of summer vacation. I went to see Martin later that night with college friends and totally forgot how bummed I was about the breakup for the entire show. He profoundly changes his audience. It’s like going to a church revival. It’s good for the soul to see Martin Sexton. I call every venue he plays the “Temple of Marty.” I thought he decorated it quite appropriately with religious symbols that night, too.
I love The Alternate Routes and have seen them a few times. They sounded great as a stripped down folkier duo, but their full band shows are high energy and really fun. I loved hearing “Ordinary” and “The Future’s Nothing New” which features a toolbox as percussion. Tim was so humbled to be opening for Martin Sexton who he called “one of my heroes,” and was very appreciative that we’d come early to hear them play. We got to sing along on “Asked You Twice.” They’ll be back in town at One Longfellow Square on March 10.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when Bartlett abruptly turned around to our friends Kay and Spud and shouted “Marty will melt your heart!” He later told Spud that Marty has “lungs this big” (insert gesture indicating size here), and that “he went to Costa Rica for lung implants.” Bartlett is a serious fan. We were both getting pretty giddy by then, I suppose.
Here’s Martin’s set list from the night from Instagram.
He told us a lot’s changed since he was 19 and in a rock band—like how his lovely wife runs his merch table these days at shows. He followed up the tale with “Love Keep Us Together.” Guitar legend Duke Levine joined Martin on stage for a bunch of songs. “Beast In Me” was great. He dedicated “Diggin Me” to everyone on a first date in the audience. He sang “Friends Again” about mending fences with his grown son. Tim Warren of The Alternate Routes joined them for an awesome cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California.” I was pumped to hear “Angeline.” Adam Gardner of Guster and Reverb fame joined Martin and Duke for “Glory Bound.” It was a nice surprise. I was beside myself during “Hallelujah”—it was a transcendent experience and it meant a lot to me to hear it live again. I would have loved to hear “Black Sheep,” too, but I probably would have cried. “Hallelujah” brought me just to the edge anyhow.
By that point in the night (heck—early in the evening, too), people were dancing in the aisles and raising their hands as if in praise. It was a magical night. Martin told us he’d put together a five song EP of old but important songs that was $5 or “free if you’re out of work.” He played Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” to wrap up his glorious set. Martin came back to play “The Way I Am” for an incredibly appreciative crowd. The song finishes with some serious yodeling. Martin Sexton is a gem. Thank you so much for the gift of you and your music, Martin Sexton. I worship in your Temple.
PS–This show was recorded and you can buy it online! If you sent Team Martin Sexton a picture any Martin Sexton ticket stub, they sent you a code for a free download. How awesome!