Friday, April 26, 2013
The Strand Theatre, Rockland, Maine
My teacher friend and neighbor Andrea asked me to join her for Kris Allen’s show at The Strand. I knew that he’d been on American Idol and had covered a couple songs that I like—“Falling Slowly” and “Heartless.” Google just informed me that Kris Allen won American Idol that season. He was up against Adam Lambert in the end. I’ve heard of him, too. I hadn’t seen Andrea in ages, so I agreed to join her for a little Girls Night. We left Gardiner pretty early in the afternoon for Rockland and had a delicious dinner at Sunfire Mexican Grill. We made it to The Strand right as doors opened, and there was already quite a line to get inside. We snagged a spot near the front and did some people watching. The crowd was an interesting range of ages, and wasn’t the predominantly teenage girl crowd I’d expected.
There was no opening act, so Kris Allen and his drummer, pianist, and guitarist took the stage right at 7:30. I didn’t know Kris’ music, but I’d searched him on YouTube earlier in the day and found out “Live Like We’re Dying” was his song. I’d heard it last summer. That’s when I realized that he was less a soulful singer songwriter type and more a teeny bopper.
Kris has a lovely voice. He tried to engage the audience all night. He said they’d been in town a lot of the day and enjoyed it a lot. They’d even walked the long way out to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and he joked it was a lot farther away then he’d expected. Here’s proof he made it:
Kris was accompanied by a guitarist, pianist, and cajon box drummer on stage. I liked the cajon because it’s percussive without being overpowering. He did a cover of George Michael’s “Faith” that he mashed up with “We are Young” and “Some Nights” by fun. He sang George Jones’ “She Thinks I Still Care” as a tribute to the great musician who’d died earlier Friday.
I liked “Leave You Alone.” I think it had more depth lyrically than his other songs. Kris played ukele on a couple of songs. He played “Unique” for the people who end up with the person you were supposed to be with. Kris sampled “No Woman, No Cry” in one of his songs—hearing a “everything’s gonna be alright” refrain on a Friday night is always welcome. He introduced all of his band mates and they each took a long solo. I appreciated that he highlighted them. They played Kris’ hit (are there more hits, and I just don’t know them?) “Live Like We’re Dying” before leaving the stage.
The guys came back out for a few more songs. The second was another mash up of songs he’d covered on Idol—“Falling Slowly” (I was wearing my Glen Hansard t-shirt—he’s the guy who wrote that song that you may not have heard of!), “Heartless,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Someone at our show recorded it. Kris can really sing. His songs were simple (as in, mentions of rainbows and such) and lacked substance. Maybe he’ll outgrow his Idol past and write some songs with a bit more soul in the future. Or, maybe that kind of music sells well and it’s just where he wants to be. I don’t judge.
Thanks for a fun Girls Night, Andrea! A drive, dinner, and show are always a great way to start the weekend! Also, there was an ADORABLE little girl in the front who was beside herself with joy. It was sweet to watch!