Saturday, May 11, 2013
One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine
I had an awesome Saturday with great friends that included a tasting and tour at Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle, oysters on the half shell, and a trip to Damariscotta’s fish ladder. I was excited for this show, and my friends and college classmates Harriet and Atlee and Harriet’s brother Tielman decided to join me. I beat them to One Longfellow Square and was genuinely perplexed by the seating arrangements. There were about 40 people trying to crowd in the back and a gaping hole in the middle of the room where a dance floor area had been left open in lieu of seating. It confused everyone, because we go to OLS to listen and generally not to dance. People started building their own rows of seating, so I actually ended up quite close to the stage. I’d recommend against that half-seated/half-dance floor arrangement in the future. In such a small space, it has to be all or nothing.
Boston folk duo Tall Heights (Tim Harrington and Paul Wright) took the stage and clearly had a lot of fans in the sold out crowd. I appreciated their lush harmonies and sweet tenor voices. I am a sucker for the cello, so loved hearing it paired with guitar. “Running of the Bulls” and “I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know” stuck out to me. Their new album, Man of Stone, is out now. They ran a Pledge Music campaign to raise funds for their album production and thanked the supporters of that campaign profusely. They even asked a woman in the front row to take pictures of the show on a disposable camera for one of their campaign’s supporters (it was one of the campaign donation incentives). I’m glad I made it out early to catch Tall Heights’ set. I can see why they have a loud cheering section.
I’d heard “San Antone” by Portland’s The Ghost of Paul Revere on 98.9 WCLZ’s Music from 207 show. I didn’t know it was their song at the time, but I’d pulled into my driveway while it was playing, and I liked the song so much that I sat in my car with the engine off until it ended. I was immediately sold. GPR is a five piece of old friends who play an array of instruments that include acoustic guitar and bass, banjo, horn, mandolin, and harmonica. Matt Young on harmonica (and mandolin) impresses, but really wowed the crowd with his killer dance moves. You can’t teach that. GPR calls their genre “holler folk,” which is an apt description for what I saw during their set. Check out this BDN feature on The Ghost of Paul Revere that will give you plenty of background. The Ghost of Paul Revere stole the show. I was so impressed with them. Their harmonies, stomping percussion, and vocal power were stellar. Their songs progressed from mellow to powerhouse. They were funny (especially bassist Sean McCarthy, who I have a total crush on), interacted comfortably with the crowd, and were clearly having a great time. I felt like I was part of the show while they were onstage. I so look forward to seeing them again soon. Check out this review of their album North on The Equal Ground and check out their live show.
Portland’s Tricky Britches took the stage and thanked us for coming out to their sold out CD release for their new album, Good Company. I’d seen Tricky Britches play with Darlingside last fall, and theirs was one of my favorite shows of 2012. Check out my post from that show. Longtime friends and band mates, the guys of Tricky Britches are very comfortable with each other and are cohesive and well rehearsed. They alternated between original songs, mountain songs, and covers. I liked “Leave My Troubles Behind,” their cover of Vince Gill’s “One More Last Chance,” and “By My Side.” Their friend Rich joined them on banjo for “Fish in the Sea.” Seth and Jed joked about their “wardrobe malfunction”—they’d both worn western shirts with flowers embroidered on them. They thanked their Kickstarter campaign supporters for their help getting the new album out. I liked Bear’s sweet “Sugarcane,” including the lines, “She’s my fire on a cold, cold night/She’s my summer shade.” They wrapped their set with a couple of Appalachian dance tunes that included some super rhythmic stomping. The crowd was amped and clapped heartily in unison for an encore. The guys obliged with “Cumberland Fair,” a song about running into your ex lover at the fairground. Tricky Britches has a loyal local following and you should definitely check out their high-energy live show.
What a great night of local-ish music!