Saturday, September 13, 2014
Thomas Point Beach, Brunswick, Maine
The school year has been SUPER busy! This lovely day was weeks ago now! Sorry for the delay!
My friend Grace texted in the morning to ask if I had any interest in going to the first ever Ghostland Music Festival at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick. It had been on my radar, so I took her text as a sign I should commit. I hurried by Gardiner’s annual Barks in the Park to pet some pups, take some pictures, and chat with my mayor about our most recent concert experiences before heading to Brunswick for the afternoon.
It was a bit of a gloomy day—overcast and chilly—so turnout for the festival might have a little less than hoped for. I set up folding chairs and blankets close to the stage just outside of the fenced off beer area when I arrived and scoped out the grounds a bit. I was impressed with how well things were organized; especially given it was a first-time festival. Festival sponsor 98.9 WCLZ’s Ethan Minton took the stage to welcome us and tell us about the important work we were supporting by buying a ticket to the festival. He told us that 1 in 4 kids in Maine is food insecure, but Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program feeds over a thousand families each year and provides food to kids on the weekends through their Backpack Program.
I’d hurried to get to the festival early because I really wanted to see Matt Lorenz who plays as The Suitcase Junket and was scheduled to kick off the festival. He is one talented guy, who I first saw play with his band Rusty Belle and the ever-talented Caitlin Canty. Matt was nowhere to be seen, however, and Ethan told us that he sadly couldn’t make it because of car trouble. When I saw Jacob Augustine come to the stage with his beautiful guitar in hand, I knew we were in for an unexpected treat. Jacob was the second artist I ever wrote about on whatbreesees. I was going through a breakup at the time, and his incredibly heavy, soulful songs were no help at all! But he is beautiful to see in person. Jacob’s playing with one of my favorite bands, the harmonic Darlingside, this Saturday night at Empire in Portland, and you should REALLY go! Jacob’s voice will surprise you because it doesn’t match how he appears at all. He’s tattooed and has an amazing beard, but his voice is a beautiful falsetto full of vibrato. He had us join him in a whistled rendition of Happy Birthday for his friend and closed with “Waco.”
Grace and I grabbed lunch from the food trucks after Jacob’s set. My teriyaki jalapeno pineapple grilled chicken sandwich from the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s food truck was insanely good. Grace picked up some poutine from the other truck and we headed back to our seats in time for Maine’s most talented female vocalist, Anna Lombard. I first saw Anna at Slates in Hallowell and she blew me away. This woman can sing. She headlined Gardiner’s annual Swine and Stein Oktoberfest two years ago and impressed everyone there, too. (Swine and Stein is coming up next Saturday, October 11!). I saw my friend Vivian (who I met before a David Wax Museum show at Empire in Portland) sitting near the stage and grabbed her to come join us and share in the poutine and good music. A very pregnant Anna and her band of well-known Maine musicians like Tony McNaboe and Nate Soule took the stage and serenaded us with most of the tracks from Anna’s 2013 album, Head Full of Bells, including “They Want Us Dead,” “Nothing of Us Left,” “Waiting for Rescue,” “Why Did You Leave Me,” and “Confessions.” Anna sounded good as ever. Dave Gutter joined Anna and the band for “All For You” to end their set.
Dave Gutter’s set was up next. You probably know Dave and his recognizably raspy voice best from Rustic Overtones, which provided the soundtrack to my early college years. “Gangster” sounded great, and Dave said he’d “one up” Anna by inviting an already born child on stage to sing “I Like It Low” with him. Young Connie sounded great and was adorable. “Letter To The President” is a heavy song worth a listen, and Dave kept that mood rolling by ending his set with a song about addiction called “High On Everything.”
Boston based Will Dailey and his band took the stage and rocked with their electric guitars. I particularly liked “So Do I” and “Don’t Take Your Eyes Off of Me.” Anna Lombard seemed to be a big Will Dailey fan and she joined him for a song, too.
I’d just seen Samuel James the night before at our dear friend Max Garcia Conover’s national RV tour kickoff show at Mayo Street Arts, and he was up next. The first time I saw Samuel James at Frontier in Brunswick, I felt like I was in his living room. The guy’s got soul. His blues guitar is impressive. I was glad to hear “It Ain’t Right” and “Nineteen,” which he wrote for his dad.
Ethan invited everyone to move to inside because rain was imminent. Grace and I had been snuggled under our blankets for hours and were kind of spent, so we decided to head home after Samuel James. We missed Dominic and the Lucid, Spencer Albee, and The Ghost of Paul Revere (who I think are the bees knees). The Ghost of Paul Revere did a great job organizing Ghostland and I’m looking forward to seeing them in my sweet little town at Johnson Hall on November 8. I hope you raised a lot of well deserved and much needed funds for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention! Great job, guys!