Daily Archives: July 29, 2013

Lucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine

I had such a blast last night in the newly renovated space at Johnson Hall in Gardiner! My dear friend Andrea and I went out to dinner and the show to celebrate our one-year friendship anniversary! (Yes, I am a total sap). What a treat it was to see a show two minutes from my house! Johnson Hall is about to release a 24-show lineup for the upcoming year, and I am so excited about the caliber of music that’s on its way to teeny (and adorable) Gardiner, Maine.

Johnson Hall in Gardiner, Maine

Johnson Hall in Gardiner, Maine

Gardiner community organizer extraordinaire and friend Meaghan Carlson saw online that Lucy Wainwright Roche was looking to play some house concerts to create buzz for her upcoming solo album to be released in October. Meaghan approached Johnson Hall to see if we could have a house concert in their newly renovated space and Director Mike Miclon readily agreed. It was a full house last night and the first time the stage has been used for a performance. I’d say it was a huge success.

Lucy kindly answered some questions I had for her via email the week before the show. I’d seen Lucy play three other times, and each time was fantastic. She is part comedian and part singer-songwriter. You can be sure you’ll have a good time at a Lucy Wainwright Roche show—she is charming and hilarious.

I was really excited to see Lucy play with her talented and quite well known mom, Suzzy Roche. They recently released an album together called Fairytale and Myth that they recorded with their friend Ron Morsberger who had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Suzzy spoke about how bittersweet it was to work with their talented friend during his last days. They played his song that appears on the album, “Everyone Wants To Be Loved.”

Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche

Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche

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These are blurry, but I still love them.

These are blurry, but I still love them.

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Lucy kept the audience engaged by asking us questions and asking if we had any questions or concerns. People in the audience obliged and we had a comfortable, entertaining exchange all night long. She and Suzzy asked us how the sound was, and Suzzy adorably worried that maybe her microphone was louder than Lucy’s. It was sweet to see the mother/daughter duo on stage. They told us about their journeys around Maine on their mini tour and how they slowly saw Maine while driving up Route 1. They got stuck in Wiscasset for a long time around Red’s Eats. After their show at The Strand in Rockland, they drove back by Red’s and got in line. Someone popped back in line in front of them to add an order of onion rings, and it turns out it was the last order. Bummer. Lucy might also have figured out for sure that she actually really doesn’t like lobster, but I won’t out her. Not all Mainers like lobster, either. More for me!

I was happy to hear “Chicago,” and it was nice to have Suzzy play on Lucy’s song. I appreciated their jokes about how they take rockin’ songs and turn them into sad snoozers. One example is Lucy’s cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” that’s on her new album. The two versions are incredibly different. My friends joke that I only like depressing music, so I’m on board with the sad snoozers!

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Lucy asked us if we have songs that we hear so often that we learn to hate them. We said  (of course) yes, and she replied, “Well, we’re going to play one of them now.” Suzzy and Lucy covered “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. I so preferred their version! Lucy asked if we’d be okay with her bringing her dog on stage. We emphatically supported the move, and Lucy brought her sweet black pup, Maeby, on stage. She totally stole the show. Maeby (of Arrested Development fame) climbed up on the couch and napped for most of the rest of their set. She’s clearly used to the sound of her mom playing music.

Welcome, Maeby!!

Welcome, Maeby!!

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Never shy with an audience, Lucy told us about her dying car and asked if everyone in Maine had the same car for a reason. I said, “Subaru?” and she joked that she assumed it was the official car of the state of Maine. The majority of the crowd agreed a Subaru would be a reliable choice for her next car. She asked if any of us was selling one. I was a little surprised that no one was, actually!

Suzzy Roche

Suzzy Roche

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Set list

Set list

Suzzy and Lucy started to wrap up the show with “America” and then Suzzy joked that if they sold enough CDs than she wouldn’t have to sleep in the car because Lucy likes to have her own hotel room and they can’t always afford two—but “NO PRESSSURE.” I can see where Lucy gets her sense of humor. It was very endearing. Lucy told us that they wouldn’t be playing an encore because “it’s too much pressure,” so we should just imagine that they’d left the stage and this song was their encore. They finished with “When a Heart Breaks Down.” We offered a standing ovation and Lucy and Suzzy stayed to talk to everyone who wanted to say hello after the show. I chatted a little less because I was smitten with Maeby and spent my time doting on her. She’s such a cutie.

The Marron sisters with Lucy and Suzzy

The Marron sisters with Lucy and Suzzy

Johnson Hall Director Mike Miclon with his great JH volunteers, Suzzy, Lucy, and Maeby

Johnson Hall Director Mike Miclon with his great JH volunteers, Suzzy, Lucy, and Maeby

With Meaghan, who had the idea to throw this special house concert!

With Meaghan, who had the idea to throw this special house concert!

Thanks for coming, Lucy and Suzzy! What a lovely night!

xo,

bree

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Imagine Dragons with The Neighbourhood and X Ambassadors

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bank of America Pavilion, Boston

I always have a tough time seeing shows at Bank of America Pavilion. The venue is just too big for my liking. Even when I’ve had second or third row seats there, I’ve felt too far away from the stage. It’s important for me to see artists’ facial expressions while they perform. Otherwise, I’d rather just save the very long drive and listen to their album at home or in the car. I know that’s abnormal, but there it is.

I am teaching some this summer at Upward Bound at Bowdoin College, so it was a school night for me. I was visiting someone in Portsmouth for a couple of nights, and it was nice not to have to drive all the way back to Maine until the morning after the show. I explored pretty Portsmouth a bit before heading down to the show. I was able to score a single eighth row seat in the presale, so decided to go solo.

Portsmouth, NH is really pretty!

Portsmouth, NH is really pretty!

I grabbed a parking spot in the usual $15 lot near the venue (does anyone have any free parking tips for the waterfront area?!) and grabbed a caprese sandwich from J. Pace & Son before I heard the first strains of Brooklyn’s X Ambassadors as they took the stage promptly at 7:30. The lead singer played percussion and sax and was super excited to be on stage. He said, “We want to meet every last one of you after the show. I mean it!” Their music grew on me pretty quickly. I enjoyed the power and energy of the lead vocalist and their driving, percussive sound. I really liked their last song “I’ll Never Let You Go.” I’d definitely check them out in a smaller venue. They’re coming to Brighton Music Hall on August 9th.

X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors

I’d listened to California’s alt rockers The Neighbourhood online, but didn’t enjoy them very much live. They mentioned that it was the first night of their tour, so maybe they were just working out the kinks. I felt like the songs were all really similar and the banter was awkward and riddled with profanity even though there were obviously a lot of young kids in the crowd. I was amused by the lead singer’s outfit—it was straight out of the 90s. He had on a baggy white t shirt, leather jacket, black ripped jeans, high tops, a backwards baseball cap, and a flannel shirt tied around his waist. It was Eddie Vedder means Joey Tribbiani from Friends. There were three guys on guitar and their sound was power ballad-y in places. I tended to like those songs fine. They also looked very young. I’d be shocked if any of them were 21 years old. There were a lot of young teenagers in the crowd singing every word to every one of their songs, so maybe I’m just too old to “get” The Neighbourhood? They also got a hearty round of applause at the end of their set, so check them out for yourself and see what you think. I knew I was ready for Imagine Dragons quite early on in their set.

The Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood

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I chatted with the two 12-year-old boys sitting next to me during the break between sets. One of them had been to two other concerts before, but the other one was at his first show! How exciting! As per usual, basically the tallest guy of all time got to his seat in front of us when Utah’s Imagine Dragons took the stage, so I moved so the boys could see because their view was completely blocked by him.

I am a fan of this idea!

I am a fan of this idea!

Imagine Dragons made a very theatrical entrance that involved some serious percussion. They had great stage presence and worked the crowd enthusiastically. Frontman Dan Reynolds told us that the other three guys in the band had all gone to Berklee College of Music in Boston, so it was a real treat for them to play in town. Dan was rocking an impressive mullet, too, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Dan spoke a fair amount (which I’m a fan of), and told us, “As cheesy as it sounds, I hope this music frees you tonight. We’re just regular guys so it’s the music that connects us. It’s everything to us. I hope it gets you out of your head. With that, I close with Boston Strong!”  The sold out crowd roared.

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons

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I was so glad I didn’t have to wait until the encore to hear “It’s Time.” It’s been my jam for well over a year now and I was pumped to hear it live. They played a song for Tyler Robinson, a fan that they were close with who passed away from cancer at 17, but smiled the whole time he was in treatment. It was a touching tribute and Dan’s falsetto was lovely. They played “Stand By Me” to kill some time while waiting for something to show up or get fixed. We sang along. I noticed that the event staff kept taking young kids from the crowd up to the front row to take a picture in front of the stage, which I thought was really cool.

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The view from the back of the amphitheater

The view from the back of the amphitheater

I really wanted to get back to Portsmouth before it was too late, so I did the unthinkable—I left a show early. It doesn’t happen often and I have mixed feelings about it, but I heard “Bleeding Out” and “Demons,” so felt I’d heard all of the songs live I really needed to. Imagine Dragons had a lot of energy on stage and I’d love to see them someday in a general admission venue where I could get a lot closer to the stage. Eight rows away was too far for me!

xo,

bree

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