Tag Archives: 98.9 WCLZ

Carbon Leaf with The Accidentals

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

It’s always a pleasure to see Virginia’s Carbon Leaf live. I’ve been going to their shows in Maine since 2009, and they always bring positive energy and upbeat music. Lead singer Barry Privett told us that he’d done the math, and they’ve played Portland, Maine ten times. I left my fancy camera at home so I could dance, but here are posts from Carbon Leaf shows at Port City Music Hall in December of 2013 and November of 2014 that have longer recaps and far better pictures of the show.

I love Carbon Leaf shows because the crowd is always full of great people who sing along and have a great time. Being part of a great crowd means having a great time at the show, so this is truly an important point to mention. I met a couple who had driven up from Massachusetts for the show, and we danced and sang along from the front row while Carbon Leaf played a solid 20-song set, including songs you’ve definitely heard on 98.9 WCLZ, such as “Life Less Ordinary” and “What About Everything?” “The Boxer” takes on new meaning for me now that I’m training five days a week at a MMA gym. In fact, I met my teammates at our coach’s house after the show to watch the UFC fights until the wee hours.

“Let Your Troubles Roll By” is the Carbon Leaf song that means the most to me and inspires me to lift my head when things are hard. I always think of my friend Sarah, who I met at a Carbon Leaf show at Port City in 2009 and who suffered an aneurysm, but has really come a long way in her recovery. Carbon Leaf even sent her a get well soon card when she was in the hospital. They’re great musicians, but good people, too. That stuff matters to me.

Towards the end of the night, Barry asked to turn the house lights up. Since Veteran’s Day was the day before, Barry asked all of the veterans in the room to raise their hand for much deserved recognition and then dedicated and played “The War Was in Color” for them. It was a moving moment. I’m always glad to see you when you’re in town, Carbon Leaf! See you next fall!

xo,

bree

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Kaleo

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I was the Mt. Ararat High School Class of 2016 Advisor and our graduation ceremony was slated (as always) for the same day and time as the Old Port Festival. I was particularly sad about the bad timing back in June because Iceland’s Kaleo was scheduled to perform and I’d have to miss them. As fate would have it, Kaleo wasn’t able to make the trip and agreed to do a makeup show. 98.9 WCLZ gave away free tickets to the first listeners to request them by mail or in person at the studio, and I was lucky to get a couple.

This was my fourth show in the span of eight days. I was pretty pumped to see Kaleo live. Their  lead singer JJ Julius Son’s voice is spellbinding–I mean, have you heard “All The Pretty Girls”?–and I was looking forward to seeing if he is the real deal. The answer is an emphatic yes. Kaleo’s live show was as crystal clear and flawless as their debut album, A/B. If I could have asked for anything more (and I will, even though I was perfectly happy), I wish that JJ would have interacted more with us and told us some stories about growing up in Iceland and their songs. I was happily surprised to learn that WCLZ recorded the show, so the loads of people who couldn’t get tickets could listen, too! Take a listen and let me know what you think. Oh, and check out Kaleo’s incredibly beautiful videos for “Way Down We Go” (filmed in a volcano) and “Save Yourself” (filmed on an iceberg)!

I also enjoyed Portland based band Hannah Daman and the Martelle Sisters. They had an upbeat Americana vibe with nice harmonies and energy and were clearly excited to warm up the sold out crowd at Port City Music Hall.

Thanks for making this happen, CLZ!

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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Brandi Carlile and Anderson East

Friday, May 22, 2015

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

I’ve let myself take a month or so off during the transition to summer vacation to recharge, but I’ve seen a handful of shows recently, so I decided I’d better start writing!

I got to see the impeccable Brandi Carlile over Memorial Day weekend at the State Theatre. She sold out the State in just two days. She’s on my top five live acts list for sure, and she and the twins (Tim and Phil Hanseroth) always bring all they have and put on a fantastic show. I most recently got to see them live during last fall’s phenomenal “Pin Drop Tour” at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they played to a packed house without even a single microphone—it was stunning.

I drove to the show with a gaggle of girlfriends who have become my constant companions in Brandi show-going, and I’ll always remember that it was on that car ride to Portland for this particular show that I learned one of my dear friends is pregnant! What great news to start a great night! I separated from the group and skipped dinner so I could snag a good spot in line and ran into my friends Kay and Kate. We got a great spot standing second row center and Marian and my most steadfast concert friend, Colin, joined us, too. I was standing there when a familiar looking woman asked if I was Bree and reminded me that her name was Heather and we’d met at a phenomenal Brandi show (one of the best shows I’ve ever been to) standing in exactly the same spot back in the fall of 2012. Another happy show omen!

Southern R&B artist Anderson East and his and band took the stage. I was surprised at the size of the group—he brought a small horn section and a pianist on top of the usual suspects. I’d heard one of his songs, “Say Anything” featuring Jill Andrews previously of theeverybodyfields on Grey’s Anatomy and liked it. His raspy R&B sound was solid, but without knowing his music well, the songs all sounded quite the same. He made a smart move (as a mostly unknown show opener) and played a couple of covers—“Knock on Wood” and “Tupelo Honey”—to show off his vocal talent and give the crowd something to sing along to. 98.9 WCLZ is currently playing his song “Satisfy Me”.

Anderson East

Anderson East

This was the first night of Brandi’s Firewatcher’s Daughter tour, and the crowd was revved up. I’m sure the band appreciated our good energy. We did get to hear a handful of older songs throughout the night since this show was to support their new album, but I was a little surprised that they played their best-known song, “The Story,” second. I love, love, love “The Eye.” The girls and I got to hear it for the first time last fall in Portsmouth, and it’s stunning. Brandi said that “The Eye” is “what we’re all about as a band” because she and the twins sing all together in harmony—without a lead singer. As I’m writing this post I keep calling it “their” show and “their” song because Brandi is not just Brandi. I first saw her with Kim open for Ray LaMontagne at Berklee Performance Arts Center in Boston back in 2005 and Tim and Phil Hanseroth (“The Twins”) were right by her side, even back at the beginning. They are a musical team in every way and saying you’re going to see a Brandi Carlile show is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Brandi Carlile with "The Twins," Tim and Phil Hanseroth

Brandi Carlile with “The Twins,” Tim and Phil Hanseroth

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A little girl in the front row was wearing a birthday cake hat and Brandi pulled her up on stage. We sang Happy Birthday to Tiernan (who was celebrating her 8th birthday in the best possible way!) and Brandi asked if there was a song she really wanted to hear. Tiernan requested “Keep Your Heart Young” and stayed right up there with the band and sang it with Brandi into a shared microphone. It was a precious moment and quite the birthday present!

Happy 8th Birthday, Tiernan!

Happy 8th Birthday, Tiernan!

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Brandi took another couple of requests and “Turpentine” came up. She split up into three sections and taught us our sing along parts and we put it all together. It’s one of my favorite songs to hear live. I was glad to hear “That Year,” too, and Brandi played it solo for us. Brandi, Tim, and Phil unplugged and came to the very edge of the stage (right above us!) and sang “Beginning to Feel the Years,” completely unplugged. It was amazing, and I was so impressed that the sold out State Theatre was silent throughout the song. They really have an impressively strong command of a crowd!

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“Beginning to Feel the Years" unplugged

“Beginning to Feel the Years” unplugged

Brandi took to the piano and played a beautiful version of Hozier’s “Work Song” that she said she sings for her daughter Evangeline. Family has become an important theme for Brandi and the Twins and she often talks about it at their shows. She introduced “I Belong to You” saying that there’s an intensity in loving your family so much and knowing that you could lose them. “Wherever Is Your Heart,” which is another standout song on The Firewatcher’s Daughter, continues the theme and is another of my favorites. They closed with “Dreams,” but came back for two separate encores during which Brandi graciously thanked us for bearing with them on the first night of the tour while they worked all of the kinks out. They covered Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and The Avett Brothers’ “Murder in the City” to end the night.

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Seeing Brandi and the Twins is always a phenomenal experience. Their songs are heartfelt and compelling, their harmonies stellar, and the power of their voices is kind of out of this world. I always leave their shows blown away, grateful, and truly sad to go. Until next time!

xo,

bree

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Shakey Graves with David Ramirez

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

I saw Shakey Graves at the State Theatre a year and a half ago opening for The Devil Makes Three and was impressed. I knew Alejandro Rose-Garcia from his brief role on Friday Night Lights, and it’s great to see the buzz that’s grown around him that led to a sold out show last year at Port City Music Hall and a very full house of swooning fans last night when he headlined the State Theatre.

As I often do, I got to the State when doors opened and snagged a second row center spot for the show. I was very excited to see Austin’s David Ramirez open the show—98.9 WCLZ plays his song “The Bad Days,” which I love. I thought David was great—just a man, his powerful voice, honest lyrics, and an acoustic guitar. Right up my alley. I am listening to him right now.

David Ramirez

David Ramirez

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Shakey Graves took the stage and I was glad to see that people were enthusiastically there to support him and were singing along. The last time I saw him at the State, people didn’t seem to know him at all, so he’s come a long way quickly. He has a raspy, clear voice, plays guitar confidently, and brings a lot of energy with the kick drum. Check out “Roll the Bones,” which was the first Shakey Graves song I ever heard to get a sense of him if you don’t already know him. He was joined by a drummer and a guitarist for parts of the night, but Shakey can do it all on his own. He’s very comfortable in front of a crowd, too, and was at ease on stage and chatted with us warmly throughout the night. People were psyched to sing along with his best-known song, “Dearly Departed,” too. It was a fun show and I’ll definitely see him whenever he’s in town. Thanks to the State Theatre for hosting! Check out more pictures from the show below.

xo,

bree

Shakey Graves was all smiles last night at the State Theatre

Shakey Graves was all smiles last night at the State Theatre

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The Lone Bellow with Odessa

Monday, February 23, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

*If you are strapped for time, the short version of this post is that The Lone Bellow is my favorite band and their live show is the most passionate, heartfelt experience you’ll be lucky enough to be part of. Read their deeply personal biography in this intimate Josh Jackson feature in Paste Magazine for context. Watch this Lone Bellow concert filmed by Front Row Boston, or, better yet, just trust me and go see them in person!*

What a beautiful day! My friend Colin asked me to join him for a private concert with The Lone Bellow (TLB) at 98.9 WCLZ’s Studio Z in the afternoon and we were back in front of the stage at Port City Music Hall just a couple of hours later to see their full show. We chatted briefly with the band, too, (which I normally avoid) and they were down to earth and grateful we liked their music so much. Phew. That’s gone badly before.

Colin and I grabbed a delicious dinner at Empire and hurried back to PCMH to be there when the doors opened. It was 3 degrees. And there was a line outside. We grabbed a spot behind a couple of women front and center named Bobbie and Abra who happen to write TreeToGrow.com, a Lone Bellow fan site. I started chatting with Dave and Kathy who were standing right behind me when they mentioned the Arcade Fire show I’d missed in Bangor this summer while I was driving cross-country. They mentioned that they live in Farmingdale and then a woman standing near us leaned in to say she and her husband live there, too. It turns out that Kelly and her husband Joe are both teachers and that Kelly’s dad and I worked together for over a decade at Mt. Ararat High School. Another woman standing on my other side overheard me mention Mt. Ararat and told me that she attended and then taught at Brunswick High School and we compared names and know a lot of the same people. I mention all of this because it was such a lovely experience and true to what the best possible concert experience can be when you find yourself surrounded by people because of music and find other things you have in common. I have a handful of friends who I only know because of our shared interest in music (Colin included), and I really appreciate the power of music to connect people.

The lights dimmed and Odessa took the stage. Odessa played electric guitar and was joined by two female musicians—one on bass and the other on guitar and lap steel guitar. Odessa’s voice was light and airy and their harmonies were strong, especially on “Hummed Low.” “I Will Be There” was definitely the standout of their set. Their short opening set was quite mellow and I would have loved some audience interaction. Check out this feature on Odessa—the “Best of What’s Next” in Paste Magazine for some background.

Odessa

Odessa

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Set up for The Lone Bellow’s set went quickly and they took the stage just after 9 PM and opened (appropriately) with “Cold As It Is.” Next up was “Then Came The Morning,” which is hymn-like with beautiful harmonies. Kanene talked about the song during their Studio Z performance earlier and mentioned that the woman on the cover of the album embodies the theme of the song because despite whatever she faces she gets up every morning and does her hair and makeup and goes to breakfast at the same diner. Something I appreciate about TLB is the depth and honesty of their lyrics. Consider the lyrics to “Then Came The Morning”—“Take my words, breathe them out like smoke/Burn every single letter that I wrote/Let the pages turn to ash, I don’t want them back/Everything you always said to me/Starts to sound like broken glass on streets/Spread out all over places where I sleep/Now you finally left me/Done with all your lying/Joy comes in the morning/You won’t see me crying.” The Lone Bellow doesn’t shy away from the hurt. They embrace it, reflect on it, and lift it up so the listener can share in it with them and feel a little better because we can relate. It’s a rawness—a realness, truth—that pervades their music and makes it genuine and compelling.

This is how Zach Willams welcomed us. Clapping on top of the monitor while leaning over the crowd. Such a great stage presence.

This is how Zach Willams welcomed us. Clapping on top of the monitor while leaning over the crowd. Such a great stage presence.

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Justin Glasco on drums

Justin Glasco on drums

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The playful side of The Lone Bellow

The playful side of The Lone Bellow

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Husband and wife Jason and Kanene Pipkin

Husband and wife Jason and Kanene Pipkin

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Zach joined us in the crowd a number of times

Zach joined us in the crowd a number of times

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Did anyone else notice that TLB played nearly every song they’ve ever recorded for us? I took a look at the set list Colin posted online and they only left five of their songs off the night’s set list. Talk about giving it everything you’ve got. They got the crowd clapping and singing along during “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” from their self-titled debut album and then brought it right down with a trio of slow songs—“Call To War,” “Watch Over Us,” and “Two Sides of Lonely.” “Call To War” features Kanene’s lush, raspy voice and it is definitely my favorite on Then Came The Morning. “Watch Over Us” is transcendent. You can always hear a pin drop in the room when Brian, Zach, and Kanene stand around a single microphone and belt that heart-wrenching, beautiful song.

"Watch Over Us"

“Watch Over Us”

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Zach was charming as always and kept the audience engaged even between songs. He said they’d gone to Becky’s Diner and he’d eaten the nine-pound omelet called the Titanic. Someone shouted out that they should try Marcy’s Diner and he asked if Becky and Marcy are friends or if they’re in a fight over a fisherman.

98.9 WCLZ has played TLB’s “You Never Need Nobody” for a long while now, and the sold out crowd at PCMH was thrilled to hear it live. Kanene stunned (as always) on “Button.” Zach talked about working with Aaron Dessner from The National on their latest album at Dreamland Studio in Woodstock, New York. If you think you hear gospel influence in their music, you certainly do—and the album was recorded in a converted church for good measure.

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Zach introduced the band—including Kanene’s husband Jason Pipkin (“the only man in the band with elbow pads, so he could slip and fall and it would be no problem”) and new drummer Justin Glasco—and got into some 80s references about shoulder pads and they broke out into Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” for a hot second. TLB wrapped their high-energy, leave-it-all-on-the-stage set with “Take My Love” and the crowd went wild. The energy was palpable. TLB came back to wow us a bit more with “Tree to Grow” and “Teach Me to Know.” Zach took a long pause towards the end of “Tree to Grow” and there was silence in the packed room. It’s incredible to see a band be able to draw a crowd in like that. We enthusiastically sang along on the “carried away” refrain of “Teach Me to Know” as the magical night came to an end.

Zach giving us the thumbs up at the end of the night

Zach giving us the thumbs up at the end of the night

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The Lone Bellow is my favorite band and this was a dream of a night. Thank to you everyone, especially the band, for such a wonderful evening.

xo,

bree

 

Here are other posts I’ve written about The Lone Bellow:

June 2013 at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA

November 2013 at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine

February 2014 at Portsmouth Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

July 2014 at South Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

February 2015 in Studio Z at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine

 

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Studio Z: The Lone Bellow

Monday, February 23, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I was THRILLED when my friend Colin invited me to join him to see my very favorite band, The Lone Bellow, at 98.9 WCLZ’s intimate Studio Z at Port City Music Hall. It was quite the treat to get to see them up close and personal with such a small group of fans. Zach Williams even reached down from the stage to introduce himself to me and shake my hand before the show.  They played four songs for us:

“Then Came the Morning”

“Call to War” (Featuring Kanene on vocals—this is my favorite song on the new album)

“Watch Over Us” (Featuring Brian on vocals—this is my favorite song to see performed live)

“Take My Love”

98.9 WCLZ's Studio Z with The Lone Bellow

98.9 WCLZ’s Studio Z with The Lone Bellow at Port City Music Hall

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Zach Williams

Zach Williams

98.9 WCLZ host Brian Farrell asked the band well-researched questions that would be a great introduction to the band if you don’t know them (which could mean you’ve been ignoring me raving about them for two years). His questions addressed their history as a group to their incredible live performance to their album art for their latest release Then Came The Morning. You can listen to the whole Studio Z performance. I’ll add the video when it’s posted next week. The band also graciously chatted with all of us and posed for photos as well. I don’t usually like to meet people whose music I care so much about, but they were sincere and kind and grateful for our support of their music.

I’d seen The Lone Bellow live four amazing times before this, but it was such a pleasure to get to see them in such a personal, unique way. Thanks to The Lone Bellow for being so lovely, to Colin for inviting me, to 98.9 WCLZ for putting it together, and to Port City Music Hall for hosting. I am rarely starstruck, but this got to me and I smiled ridiculously for hours afterwards!

xo,

bree

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