Tag Archives: 98.9 WCLZ

Jamestown Revival with Hannah Daman and the Martelle Sisters

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

Some shows totally catch you by surprise, and this was definitely one of them. It was well timed, too, because it was also my birthday. This show really made the first day of my new year a special one. I got to Port City Music Hall early enough to snag my favorite spot, and I ran into and got to catch up with Maine Youth Rock Orchestra Executive Director Kevin Oates. It was a treat to be greeted with a big “Happy Birthday” and a hug from him to start the night. Kevin had to head backstage to get ready, and a small crowd emerged just in time for Hannah Daman and the Martelle Sisters’ opening set.

I saw Hannah and the Martelle Sisters for the first time back in September, when they played with a bigger band and opened for Kaleo. I liked them back then, but they were even better at this show. They took the stage, just the three of them, with a guitar, mandolin, and violin. I was impressed by the fullness of the sound they created. I was glad my friend Marian showed up early on in their set to enjoy it with me. Kevin joined them on cello for a couple of songs, and it’s always a pleasure to hear him play.

A proper crowd streamed in during the opening set, and people were clearly pretty pumped to see Magnolia, Texas’ Jamestown Revival. I’d skipped their first visit to Portland back in October because I didn’t know their music then and it can be tough to get pumped for Sunday night shows, but I regretted it. I was glad for the chance to rectify the situation. Plus, The Ghost of Paul Revere is currently out on tour with them and has spoken very highly of them. Their endorsement matters. I got to catch up with Griffin Sherry after the show, too. He’s the best!

I was impressed by Jamestown Revival. I loved that the band took the stage sporting some combination of ten-gallon hats, cowboy boots, and toothpicks in a totally unironic way. Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay are the frontmen of the band, and they’ve been friends since high school. The band slayed. Every song was strong–and they interacted warmly with the crowd, played requests, and really made it a fantastic night for us. The audience was great, too. There were a lot of fans in the house and people danced and sang along. Early on in the set, Zach said that he could tell this was going to be a special night, and it truly was.

I particularly like “Love Is A Burden” from Jamestown Revival’s 2016 release, The Education Of A Wandering Man. That song is a hit, and you’ve probably heard it on 98.9 WCLZ (who sponsored the show). I enjoyed “Revival” and “California (Cast Iron Soul)” from Jamestown Revival’s 2014 album, Utah. They played “Medicine” from that album at the request of an audience member, even though it wasn’t on their set list. They also did a very pretty cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”

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The crowd was a delight that night (which has such an impact on a show experience), and Jamestown Revival really brought it. The moment the band left the stage, Port City turned the house music on and “Footloose” flooded the room. An impromptu dance party broke out, and a woman I didn’t know grabbed me to dance with her. It was a total blast and shows perfectly the mood Jamestown Revival created in that room that night. We didn’t want the night to end. What a show! Definitely see this band live!

xo,

bree

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A blurry picture of a happy moment dancing to Footloose after the show!


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Soundcheck with The Head and the Heart

Monday, March 6 2017

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

I love The Head and the Heart’s music, but saw them live in 2012, and I was so disappointed. Their songs are truly lovely and emotive, but their live show was b-o-r-i-n-g and phoned in. You know by now that the primary reason I go to see artists live is to have a concert experience, up close and personal. So, The Head and the Heart live is not for me. When I see they’re coming to town, I don’t bother to buy a ticket. Watching their YouTube channel is about as interactive as their live show is, so I’d rather not be in a crowded venue with a bunch of drunk, loud people to see a band if they’re not going to say very much. But I am conflicted about this, because THATH’s music is so moving, and I sometimes wonder if I’ve been too hard on them. Turns out, I don’t think so.

I felt undeserving when my friend Colin invited me to join him to The Head and the Heart’s soundcheck hosted by 98.9 WCLZ ahead of their sold out show at State Theatre. I decided that seeing them with just a handful of people in the room might provide a more intimate concert experience, so I went. We waited outside in the frigid cold for a solid thirty minutes, which was fine because MaineToday/Portland Press Herald/98.9 WCLZ Maine music maven Aimsel Ponti was with us and kept us chatting as a big group.

Once inside, the band assembled to say hello and patiently take pictures with all twenty or so of us. They were all completely nice, if a bit shy. It helped me better understand that they’re probably not super socially confident on the whole and that’s why their live show is flat. I chatted mostly with pianist Kenny Hensley and drummer Tyler Williams, who are the most outgoing in the group, and even had an unexpected conversation about the Sphinx with Tyler.

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Hey! I’m with the band. Thanks to 98.9 WCLZ for this opportunity and for the pic!

When Colin approached to get his picture taken, someone in the band recognized him and exclaimed “Colin!”

Aimsel and the band

The band played two songs–“Another Story” and “False Alarm”–for us after the meet and greet, and then we took off so their show opener could have their soundcheck. I had a twinge of regret about not getting a ticket for the show since they were very nice in person, but I went to two hours of jiu jitsu instead, which is a new love of mine. I felt fine about my decision when I learned (as expected) that they sounded great that night, but didn’t say much to the crowd, which is exactly what I don’t want in a concert experience. So, mixed reviews, but I was grateful for the opportunity to see THATH in a slightly different light.

Here’s Aimsel’s take on the show from her great Aimsel on the Record blog.

xo,

bree

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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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