Monthly Archives: October 2015

Guster

Friday, October 16, 2015

Morrell Gym, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Guster is a band that immediately takes me back to my college days in the late 90s (oh my). Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel have been together since the beginning of their college days at Tufts in the early 90s, and have made music together for over 25 years. I was excited when the announcement came that Guster would play a show in Morrell Gym during Bowdoin College Homecoming to celebrate the inauguration of Bowdoin’s new president, Clayton Rose. My favorite Guster memory comes from the fall of my senior year at Bowdoin (2000), when my good friend was the head of the student group that brought concerts to campus, and she assigned me to “keep Guster happy” for the day leading up to their show. I brought them meals, helped them find internet on campus (which was a big challenge in those days), and got to hang out with them a bit ahead of their great show (also in Morrell Gym) that night with Jump, Little Children. I looked through my past shows list and was a little surprised to see that I’ve only seen Guster live nine times, which seems quite few given the impact their music has had on me throughout the years. I was lucky to be at their show at the State Theatre with Howie Day back in 2003 that was recorded and released as a live album, Guster on Ice—Live from Portland Maine. I hadn’t seen Guster since 2013 at L.L.Bean, and it was a treat to have them back at Bowdoin for a private show.

My friends Rachel, Ian, and Jan met me for a delicious dinner at Shere Punjab in Brunswick and we made our way over to Morrell Gym a little bit early to get a good spot up front. I forgot about “college time” and that no one is ever on time ever, and so we were the only people anywhere near the gym when we arrived. We took a walk and hung out a bit in Smith Union and circled back when doors opened and grabbed spots along the barricade at the stage. I was glad to see a lot of Bowdoin staff and alumni friends in the crowd. Guster took the stage to a pretty empty room (see “college time” above), but it was full of exuberant college students a few songs in. Ryan, Adam, and Brian were joined by Luke Reynolds (of Blue Merle), who has been part of the group for about the last five years, and had a couple other musicians join throughout their set, including a Bowdoin student named Roya who played a killer violin part during “Satellite.”

   
    
    
    
    
    
 Ryan took the lead on chatting with the crowd and entertaining song requests from the audience. Someone kept asking for “Parachute,” (which I would have loved to hear myself) and it earned him a conversation with Ryan and a song that Ryan improvised in his honor (but no, they didn’t play “Parachute.”) Ryan joked about playing coming out of retirement to play a show in a gymnasium and welcomed new Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose with a song he ad libbed just for him.

They opened with “Careful” from 2003’s Keep It Together and their encore, “Demons,” was from their 1997 release, Goldfly. I was glad to hear “Happier” and “Barrel Of A Gun” from their 1999 album, Lost and Gone Forever, and I would have LOVED to hear “What You Wish For,” too. While writing this, I realize how many hundreds of times I’ve listened to Lost and Gone Forever, and how much it was the soundtrack to my life in college. Thanks for hosting a great show, Bowdoin College, and welcome, President Rose! Guster—thanks for playing a show in a gym on a Friday night in the middle of Maine. And for everything else, too. 

xo,

bree

   
   

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Gardiner’s 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Water Street, Downtown Gardiner, Maine

I’ve lived in Gardiner for over nine years now and have come to love my sweet little town and am proud to call this fabulous place home. Gardiner continues to grow, and much of that energy and progress has to do with the efforts of Gardiner Main Street. One of my favorite annual events, sponsored by the dedicated folks at Gardiner Main Street, is our Swine & Stein Oktoberfest. It combines Maine beer, Maine pork, and live music from Maine artists. Where else can you get all those things and a beard and mustache competition, a frozen t shirt contest, a rubber chicken toss, AND a rock-paper-scissors competition?! Swine & Stein is always a great day, and this year—the 6th annual—was no different.

Gardiner's 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

Gardiner’s 6th Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

I was thrilled to be asked back as a local judge for the second annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition, sponsored by Monkitree. Mike Miclon, Executive Artistic Director of Johnson Hall, called it a “dog show, but with less touching.” It’s such good fun.

The impressive winners of the Second Annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition

The impressive winners of the Second Annual Swine & Stein Beard and Mustache Competition

Sometimes, the bearded and mustachioed must dance!

Sometimes, the bearded and mustachioed must dance!

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Bronwyn took home the 4th Annual Rock-Paper-Scissors Competition!

Bronwyn took home the 4th Annual Rock-Paper-Scissors Competition!

We were treated to talented musical acts on the main stage all day—Emilia Dahlin, the Oktoberfest German Band, Muddy Ruckus, The Pete Kilpatrick Band, and The Colwell Brothers. A couple of new things this year—the “Beer U” tent hosted by Craft Beer Celler (opening very soon on Water Street in downtown Gardiner) and a butchering demonstration by Emery’s Meat and Produce that was quite well attended. I don’t eat pork because I think pigs are wicked cute, but I dropped by the butchering demonstration and it was fascinating.

Emilia Dahlin

Emilia Dahlin

The Pete Kilpatrick Band

The Pete Kilpatrick Band

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make Swine & Stein a great day! Gardiner Main Street—you rock! I had the pleasure of introducing The Colwell Brothers to the main stage for their set, and I mentioned to the crowd that we love having everyone visit Gardiner for Swine & Stein, but that we are also here and open for business all the time! Come back and visit us soon! And, of course, we’ll see you next year at Swine & Stein! I took lots more photos, so please check them out below. If you’d like to use one somehow, please give photo credit to Bree Candland of whatbreesees.com. Thank you!

xo,

bree

Swine & Stein is a kid-friendly event

Swine & Stein is a kid-friendly event

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So many Gardiner Main Street volunteers on the scene! Thanks, All!

So many Gardiner Main Street volunteers on the scene! Thanks, All!

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Giant jenga was a bit hit!

Giant jenga was a bit hit!

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All of the Beard & Mustache Competition entrants!

All of the Beard & Mustache Competition entrants!

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The Oktoberfest German Band

The Oktoberfest German Band

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Mike Miclon of Johnson Hall with Clare Marron of Monkitree

Mike Miclon of Johnson Hall with Clare Marron of Monkitree

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Muddy Ruckus

Muddy Ruckus

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Butchering demonstration

Butchering demonstration

Rock-paper-scissors preliminary rounds

Rock-paper-scissors preliminary rounds

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The Colwell Brothers

The Colwell Brothers

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The Ballroom Thieves

Friday, September 25, 2015

Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine

The Ballroom Thieves are a rock solid favorite band of mine and I’ve written about them a bunch on whatbreesees.com. I first saw The Ballroom Thieves open for The Lone Bellow in June of 2013 at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fact that I am in love with The Lone Bellow, but that I didn’t want The Thieves to rush their opening set, speaks volumes about how good they are. Their infectious, percussive, dynamic sound—with honest lyrics and gorgeous harmonies—makes them the full package.

I send an annual email to Mike Miclon, Executive Artistic Director of Gardiner’s historical Johnson Hall, with a list of my favorite acts I’d like to see perform a mere .2 miles from my house in the upcoming year. He fell in love with The Ballroom Thieves right away and reached out to book them for this great season of shows at Johnson Hall. Coming off their first performance at Newport Folk Festival, I wasn’t sure they’d take a gig in such a small town, but they did!

This abundantly talented Boston-based trio—Maine’s own Martin Earley (guitar/vocals), Calin Peters (cello/vocals), and Devin Mauch (percussion/vocals)—is simply made to play music together. This show coincided with their second anniversary as a group. It’s incredible to think how quickly they’ve become such a strong unit. Their first full-length album, A Wolf in the Doorway, beautifully captures their spirit, and their newest songs (a few of which they treated us to) continue to show their growth and evolving energy as a band. I like their music so much that it’s impossible to pick favorites, but I always appreciate getting to hear “Coward’s Son” (Martin’s folks were in the crowd and he reminded us it’s just a lyric) and “Bury Me Smiling” (featuring Calin on lead vocal) live. Devin sang lead on a fantastic cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “My Backwards Walk,” and it shined brightly as a highlight of the night, especially because I can’t recall ever hearing him take the lead vocal part before. I like the trend towards featuring each vocalist solo from time to time. Their beautiful blend makes it tricky to distinguish their individual voices, so getting to hear each one solo is a treat.

The Ballroom Thieves--Martin, Devin, and Calin

The Ballroom Thieves–Martin, Devin, and Calin

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I appreciated that Mike gave me a shout out before introducing the band and credited me with getting The Ballroom Thieves to Gardiner. Although I rarely like to talk to musicians I admire (you never know when they might be having a bad day and it ruins the love you have), I enjoyed friendly banter during the show with all three, which was very kind. After the show, my sweetie pointed out that I chatted with the band enough during the show to be a fourth band member. Devin joked that he must have lost the invitation I sent for putting them up at my house for the night. Funny, because I had meant to send an email to their manager Eric extending an invitation to house them after the show, but I was so busy running Homecoming week at my school that it completely slipped my mind. Sorry, Thieves! You have an open invitation, both to return to Johnson Hall and to escape the van life for an evening at my house next time you come to town! More pictures below!

xo,

bree

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Unplugged encore on the floor

Unplugged encore on the floor

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Houndmouth with Twin Limb

Monday, September 21, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

Indiana’s Houndmouth played the Newport Folk Festival in 2013 (here’s their full set) and came to Port City Music Hall with Rayland Baxter in March of 2014. They were on the fringes of my radar then, and I missed both shows. I’d heard good buzz about their live show, though, and was excited when I won tickets from 98.9 WCLZ for this one. It was the encouragement I needed to get myself to Portland on a Monday night.

Twin Limb—a duo from Louisville, KY—was well worth showing up early for. Lacey Guthrie on accordion (yep, accordion) and Maryliz Bender on drums sang lovely harmonies and sounded fantastic together. Their sound was ethereal and full and not completely unlike Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Check out their song “Red Sun” to get a sense of their style.

Twin Limb

Twin Limb

Houndmouth brought it! They were quite a departure from their friends Twin Limb, and were so different style-wise, that their raucous rock music caught me a tiny bit off guard in the best possible way. They came out in costume, too—a shiny silver (potentially) pleather shirt with a bright blue cape, cheetah print bellbottom stretch pants, even a faux fur coat. They didn’t take themselves too seriously (obviously) and clearly came to entertain. I had a total blast! I was glad to hear “Sedona” and “Say It,” both from their 2015 release Little Neon Limelight. We had such fun early on that we texted our friend Bartlett, who looks an awful lot like the guitarist with the cheetah pants, and got him over to the party halfway through the set. A super fun Monday night! Definitely catch Houndmouth if they’re in a city near you! iPhone pictures below!

xo,

bree

Houndmouth

Houndmouth

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Lucius with Pavo Pavo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Music Hall, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I never miss an opening act. Some of my favorite musicians today were people I was lucky enough to catch open for someone else—Glen Hansard for Damien Rice, Brandi Carlile for Ray LaMontagne, Gregory Alan Isakov for Brandi Carlile, and the list goes on and on. I got to Boston embarrassingly early to catch Milo Greene at Brighton Music Hall (who I’d seen open for The Civil Wars—sigh) in October of 2012 and Brooklyn’s Lucius was a phenomenal, totally take-you-by-surprise opening act. I was hooked. Jess and Holly’s harmonies are show stopping and their songs catchy. I bought their EP and listened to it hundreds of times.

I caught Lucius again in December of 2013 at Port City Music Hall in Portland. I will never forget that show, because I rushed to the show a little late after the best first date ever. Nearly two years later, and my sweetie and I got to see our first Lucius show together. He had a huge smile on his face all night. They are so impressive. Lucius was decidedly the sweetheart group of last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, sitting in with lots of groups (including my beloved The Lone Bellow) and even getting to sing with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

Lucius. Port City Music Hall. December 2013.

Lucius. Port City Music Hall. December 2013.

Seeing Lucius together!

Seeing Lucius together!

Our friend Marian is a Lucius super fan, and she emailed the gang to remind us that tickets were going on sale to see Lucius at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Ten of us snagged seats in the first few rows and got there early to catch Pavo Pavo, the eccentric opening act. I honestly don’t know how to describe that experience. I’m just glad I had friends there to witness it with me because it was a bit of a spectacle. The lead singer wore a black onesie jumpsuit complete with stirrup pants and a mock turtleneck. If they are trying to distract from their music (which I genuinely can’t recall at this point), with their look, then they’re succeeding brilliantly. I feel like I was the worst audience member ever for the opening because we were all texting (subtlely, and with our screens fully dimmed, mind you) our disbelief and discussed going out on Halloween dressed as Pavo Pavo in matching black mock turtleneck onesies. I laughed to tears at one point when the absurdity overwhelmed me. And even though they were absolutely not for me, I am so glad I got to see them that once.

The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Brooklyn's Pavo Pavo

Brooklyn’s Pavo Pavo

Lucius took the stage and was flawless. Their percussive, harmonic, powerful sound impresses and left us breathless. There wasn’t a stray voice in the crowd all night. We were spellbound. Guitarist Peter Lalish is from New Hampshire, and got a hometown welcome from the crowd. I was happy to hear “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Go Home”—both from their four song 2013 EP and their full length album, 2014’s Wildewoman. “How Loud Your Heart Gets” is another stand out. They tried out a handful of new songs on us, too, and I am pumped for their next release. They are so insanely good.

Lucius!

Lucius!

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I was sad, and I’ll admit, a bit grumpy, when people stood up to dance and were welcomed to the front of the stage to dance. A mass of eager dancers blocked our second row view of the show for the rest of the night and it was frustrating. I was bummed, especially for Marian, who’d been on the ball and bought a front row ticket just to have her view blocked by other fans.

Our sad view from the second row once the dancing started

Our sad view from the second row once the dancing started

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After they wrapped their set, I excused myself to the back of the room so I could actually see them, and caught one of my favorites, “Two of Us on the Run,” from there. The quintet unplugged for their encore and stepped in front of the stage curtain to play around one microphone. It was beautiful. I feel like the days of getting to see Lucius in intimate venues is dwindling as their popularity grows, so I’m grateful for even an obstructed second row view of this phenomenally talented powerhouse group.

xo,

bree

Encore

Encore

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Capital City Improv

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine

I love that historic Johnson Hall is .2 miles from my house in sweet little Gardiner, Maine. I am pumped about Johnson Hall’s awesome lineup for this season, and hope to catch many shows in their intimate downstairs theater. I am SO glad I ended up seeing Capital City Improv. I trust Johnson Hall Executive Director Mike Miclon’s judgment, and when he told me Capital City Improv is the real deal and one of the best improv groups he’s seen, I knew I needed to get myself to the show. I laughed so hard. The talented trio took audience suggestions and incorporated our input into their many skits, and I laughed to tears. That’s a pretty strong endorsement! They’ll be back twice more at Johnson Hall—on Saturday, February 6 and Saturday, April 30. I suggest you see them! Laughter is good for the soul! Check out my pictures below of some very expressive, talented folks!

xo,

bree

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Good Old War

Friday, September 11, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I first saw Philly’s Good Old War opening for one of my most favorites, the incredible Brandi Carlile, back in 2010. I have a firm policy that I always get to a show in time for the opening act, and it often pays off. Heck, Brandi was an opening act when I went to see Ray LaMontagne in Boston back in 2005! Good Old War was charming and their songs were catchy and upbeat. I saw them again in 2011 at Port City Music Hall, and it was an incredible show. They sang a handful of songs on stage and then unplugged and came to the center of the floor and serenaded us for the rest of the night with a dozen or so more songs. It was pretty magical—the exact kind of show I’d wished more people had been there to enjoy. WCLZ has been playing Good Old War’s “Tell Me What You Want From Me” off their new album Broken into Better Shape, so more people were at this show.

I ended up not convincing anyone to join me for this one, sadly, and I was plagued with audience etiquette issues throughout the night. You know all of these people if you go to shows regularly—I had the tall guy who said “excuse me” like he wanted to walk in front of me, so I gave him a couple of inches and then he planted himself right in front of me. There was the super fan who stood right behind me belting every word, and, of course, she was tone deaf. There was also the over-dancer who bumped into me at regular intervals. And finally, the girl who wouldn’t put her phone down and gave me the pleasure of watching their unplugged encore on the floor through her cell phone screen since I couldn’t see around it. Aforementioned people—why are you like this at shows? It’s so rude. It really did put a damper on my experience that night.

I was happy to hear some of my favorite Good Old War songs in person—“I Should Go,” “My Own Sinking Ship,” and “That’s Some Dream.” This indie folk trio is always personable and upbeat on stage. You can tell they’re great friends and don’t take themselves too seriously. Their eccentric dance moves aren’t too shabby, either. I hope more of you will be at the next Good Old War show in Portland—on your best behavior, that is. Pictures below.

xo,

bree

Keith Goodwin of Good Old War

Keith Goodwin of Good Old War

Dan Schwartz of Good Old War

Dan Schwartz of Good Old War

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Tim Arnold in the middle

Tim Arnold in the middle

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Thanks for this lovely view of the unplugged portion of the night, lady who elbowed me out of her way and then did this! :)

Thanks for this lovely view of the unplugged portion of the night, lady who elbowed me out of her way and then did this! 🙂

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