Saturday, September 7, 2013
One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine
Forget, Forget is easily one of my favorite bands in Portland. My friend McKay plays all kinds of instruments in Forget, Forget and first invited me to come see them live back in April when they opened for Family of the Year at Port City Music Hall. I was immediately taken with them. The fullness of sound that those seven talented musicians are able to create together is really impressive. I will see Forget, Forget live again and again. If you haven’t had the chance to see them play, you’re really missing out.
I left Gardiner in the afternoon to meet up with my dear friend Sophie for a ride on her dad’s new scooter and dinner at Green Elephant before we parted ways and she left for Max Garcia Conover’s show at Acoustic Artisans and I headed over to One Longfellow Square for Forget, Forget’s We Are All CD release show. I ran into McKay outside and soon after Maina and Will arrived. I’ve known Maina for a few years now—she’s an artist and a farmer and is just all around awesome, and Will just started teaching English at my school! I’d come solo, so I was happy to have people to chat with that I knew. We made our way inside and saw that there weren’t seats set up downstairs, so we went up to the balcony and sat there. I really value proximity to the stage at any show, but One Longfellow is small enough that I didn’t feel too far away. (Side note: I really prefer having seats set up at One Longfellow shows. I’ve seen a couple of shows there lately where bands have cleared the room so people can dance. I’d argue that most bands that play One Longfellow are amazing, but aren’t danceable).
Portland’s Rural Ghosts took the stage. I’m getting more and more stumped these days when people ask me to put bands into a genre. Rural Ghosts had a strong rock sound. I was really impressed by their cellist and liked what he added to their overall sound. Their lead singer had a clear voice that reminded me at times of Jeff Buckley. Since I wasn’t familiar with their music, their songs sounded pretty similar to me. You can listen to a couple of their songs here. They have a new album coming out in October and will play a CD release show at Empire on October 4.
New York City’s These Animals took the stage after a few words from a representative from NAMI—National Alliance on Mental Illness (more on that below). I liked their cohesive, percussive sound and thought they were polished and had good stage presence. Their album, Pages, came out in August after a successful Kickstarter campaign. You can see their Kickstarter plea, recording photos, and hear some of their songs here. These Animals played on 207 while they were in town, too.
Another representative from NAMI took the stage before Forget, Forget’s set to talk about their work in Maine and to ask people to consider supporting the upcoming NAMI walk. I think it’s very helpful to know before you see Forget, Forget live that lead singer Tyler DeVos works full time with people with serious mental illnesses. Their words become song lyrics. I was really glad I’d read this Bangor Daily News article about the band before I saw them live. The lyrics are intense, but it helped me access them a bit better by having that critical piece of information.
Tyler DeVos is joined by six band mates that together create a seriously powerful sound—McKay Belk (guitar/banjo/a little bit of everything), John Nels Blanchette (guitar), Aaron LaChance (drums), Patia Maule (violin/keys/vocals), Dominic Grosso (bass), and Johanna Sorrell (cello). Forget, Forget’s music is complex and interesting. The lyrics are fascinating and thought provoking. I love what the addition of violin and cello and harmonizing vocals does for the fullness of their sound. I continue to be especially blown away by “Do You Love Me” and “It’s My Illness.”
Tyler expressed so much heartfelt thanks to the audience for coming out and also to the many people in the crowd who donated to their Kickstarter campaign to make the album possible. I was going to donate to their Kickstarter campaign myself, but Forget, Forget raised all of the money they needed (and actually, quite a lot more) in no time at all. There is certainly a lot of support for Forget, Forget and I can definitely see why. I can’t recommend their live show enough. Thank you for a lovely evening! Scroll down to see more photos I took at the show!