Tag Archives: Hollerfest

Hollerfest 2: Darlingside, The Ballroom Thieves, and The Ghost of Paul Revere

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Strand Theatre, Rockland, Maine

I was really excited when I saw the lineup for Hollerfest 2. Darlingside and The Ballroom Thieves, both Massachusetts-based bands with strong ties to Maine, are both on my short list of favorite live bands. Add the promise of seeing them play with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, especially when I’m such a sucker for stringed instruments, and I was pumped. My friend Colin and I both skipped seeing insanely talented Lake Street Dive at The State Theatre in Portland to catch this show. It seemed like more bang for the buck and Colin’s a big Ghost of Paul Revere fan, too. I beat Colin to The Strand in Rockland and grabbed front row center seats for us.

I’ve written about Darlingside a bunch now. This “string rock quartet” is the real deal. I love that they perform huddled together around a single microphone and are gifted instrumentalists and vocalists. Their harmonies have such strength—surely a result of many years living and playing together. Don Mitchell (guitar), Auyon Mukharji (violin/mandolin), David Senft (guitar), and Harris Paseltiner (cello) are such a pleasure to watch live. They joked with the crowd in between songs and seemed genuinely excited to play with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, especially since Harris and Auyon played in orchestras growing up.

Don Mitchell, David Senft, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner of Darlingside

Don Mitchell, David Senft, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner of Darlingside

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They joked that “My Love” is a musical guide for how not to behave in a relationship. It’s one of my favorite Darlingside songs. They told us that “Whippoorwill” was about how great childhood was before fully processing how “uncool they’d been due to lack of youth orchestra.” Auyon kept the laughs going by introducing the band to us with fun facts about everyone’s eating habits while on the road.

They played one of my favorites, “Sweet and Low,” next and then welcomed the MYRO and their director Kevin Oats to the stage. They told us that the orchestra had done all of the work—all Darlingside had done was pick a couple of songs and MYRO director Kevin Oats arranged and taught them. They played two songs together—“The Ancestor” and “Blow the House Down.” The guys from Darlingside were all smiles during both songs and kept looking at the orchestra behind them—clearly tickled about how cool it was to be backed by a talented orchestra. Don joked that he often imagined an orchestra playing behind him in everyday life, but that the MYRO was much better. Auyon said to blame the MYRO if they were actually too awesome and actually did “blow the house down.” It was AWESOME to see the MYRO with Darlingside. All of my regrets about quitting violin after one year playing when I was in third grade came flooding back to me!

Darlingside with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

Darlingside with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

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The Ballroom Thieves took the stage next and played a few songs I hadn’t heard live before—“Carolina” (?) and “Wild Woman.” Devin Mauch (percussion), Martin Earley (guitar), and Calin Peters (cello) were spot on. Their driving, percussive sound with strong harmonies was such a treat to witness after not having seen them play live since April. They played “Bullet,” which they said “killed in the South”—a relief because they’d been getting blank stares up until they played that song that southerners could relate to. They gave a shout out to Paul on sound who’d run sound for an opera at The Strand earlier in the day before doing sound for three bands and an entire orchestra.

The Ballroom Thieves: Martin Earley (guitar), Devin Mauch (percussion), and Calin Peters (cello)

The Ballroom Thieves: Martin Earley (guitar), Devin Mauch (percussion), and Calin Peters (cello)

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I loved hearing Calin on lead vocals for “Bury Me Smiling.” They did their own cute band introductions, as well. I really liked “Here I Stand.” They brought the MYRO to the stage to play “Archers” with them and told us that the orchestra had literally done all the work. Thieves—when do you have new music coming out? I am so ready to have my hands on this newer music to jam to during my morning commute!

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The Ballroom Thieves with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

The Ballroom Thieves with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

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The Ghost of Paul Revere came to the stage and I was really looking forward to having the chance to sit down and listen to their lyrics because I hadn’t seen them in a sit down venue for almost a year and a half. Griffin Sherry talked about being really excited to play with the MYRO and Shawn McCarthy joked that he was nervous because the MYRO are “all better than we are.” I think they played a song or two (I’m still pretty unfamiliar with their music, thus my excitement for this show) before Shawn invited people to get up and dance. A happy bunch of dancers made their way to the stage, inches from me in my front row seat. What that meant for me was that I couldn’t see the band anymore even though I was sitting feet from them front and center. I was so frustrated about having to watch people shaking their butts in my face and blocking my view that I ended up leaving after a couple more songs. My suggestion from a concert goer’s perspective for any live band is that if it’s a sit down venue, then the show is a sit down show. If you want people to be up and dancing, that’s what bars and other non-seated venues are for. I was super disappointed.

The Ghost of Paul Revere

The Ghost of Paul Revere

My obstructed front row "view" of the show after the second song :(

My obstructed front row “view” of the show after the second song 😦

On the plus side, I did run into Don from Darlingside on my way out and we got to catch up a bit. I’m already looking forward to seeing them again. What talent. A mixed bag of a night, but great to see two of my favorite live bands play with the talented Maine Youth Rock Orchestra!

xo,

bree

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Darlingside and Jacob Augustine

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Empire, Portland, Maine

This was only my third Darlingside show? That doesn’t seem possible, because they hold a pretty big spot in my musical heart. I first saw them in September of 2012 at One Longfellow Square only because they invited me and I was completely flabbergasted. I declared it one of my top five shows of 2012—which means something since I saw 45 shows that year. They came to play OLS again last fall with the lovely and talented Caitlin Canty, who is a regular collaborator of theirs, and the effervescent Rusty Belle. I’ve mostly adjusted to teacher hours and the show didn’t start until after 9:30PM, so I was excited for the show, but afraid I’d fall asleep in the car on the drive home. I texted my concert buddy Colin, who promised me he’d meet me at the show, so I mustered up the energy for a late night and an hour and a half of driving to see them. Totally worth it. I love seeing shows with Colin because he appreciates music like I do, but also because he keeps track of set lists (which means I don’t have to). It’s kind of like seeing shows just for fun again!

Darlingside's set list--courtesy of Colin

Darlingside’s set list–courtesy of Colin

Darlingside took the stage about 9:45PM. As I glanced around the room, I saw most of The Ghost of Paul Revere, some guys from Tricky Britches, and Eric, who manages The Ballroom Thieves in the crowd. I feel like that turnout tells you this show was worth going to, eh?

Darlingside is a “string rock quartet.” Don, Dave, Auyon, and Harris went to Williams together, and their harmonies are flawless. As they played “God of Loss” and “My Love” to warm up, you could have heard a pin drop. In a bar. Late on a Saturday night. They’re impressive and they draw you in to listen. “My Love” is one of my favorites—a bit of self reflection about the effort one makes in a relationship—“My half-assed best was all I had for your love/my maybe-tomorrows for your heart-to-hearts/my punch-drunk house calls for your candles and wine/my brother, my banjo, my never-done-wrong/all you wanted was me by your side/I tend to get what I want/and do as I please/but you taught me I can’t always get away with everything I thought I could/and for that I thank you, my love.” Their cover of Smashing Pumpkin’s “1979” was energizing and a hit with the crowd.

From left to right, Darlingside is Don Mitchell,  David Senft, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner

From left to right, Darlingside is Don Mitchell,
David Senft, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner

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Dave promised to try very hard not to hit Auyon with his instruments.

Dave promised to try very hard not to hit Auyon with his instruments.

Darlingside’s harmonies on “The Woods” were particularly standout. I was glad to hear “The Catbird Seat.” It’s pretty, but sad—“By you I swore/By the light or the way you wore it/Now instead I swear I’m over it.” “Blow the House Down” was a crowd favorite. They ended their set with “Good Man,” and the crowd cheered loudly enough for an encore. I was really happy to hear “Sweet and Low” live. I also would have liked to hear “Terrible Things,” but alas. Check out the video, though. It’s excellent.

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Darlingside will join The Ghost of Paul Revere and The Ballroom Thieves (two more of my favorite bands) for Hollerfest 2 at The Strand Theatre in Rockland on Saturday, November 22. They’ll be joined by the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra. I will definitely be there!

Mike, of my former students who is all grown up now, works downstairs at Empire and joined us for a bit. Mike was impressed with Jacob Augustine’s beard, and I told him to get ready to be surprised by Jacob’s sweet falsetto voice. He was. I’d just seen Jacob a few weeks either at Ghostland Music Festival, but he hasn’t played out much and it was a treat to get to see him again so soon. I’d never seen Jacob Augustine with a full band, and the fullness of sound amplified the message of his songs beautifully. Jacob’s band for the night included Asher Platts on upright/bass, Peter McLaughlin on percussion, and my friend McKay Belk rocking the steel guitar. “Halfway to Harlem” was a favorite. They played the long versions of each song, and since I could see their set list from my front row spot, I knew I wouldn’t make it to the end of the night and sadly excused myself for the haul home. I listened to this version of “Peace Comes” in the car en route, though. Sad to miss the rest, Jacob, but so glad to see you twice in short time!

xo,

bree

Jacob Augustine

Jacob Augustine

Jacob with McKay Belk on steel guitar

Jacob with McKay Belk on steel guitar

Jacob with Peter McLaughlin on percussion

Jacob with Peter McLaughlin on percussion

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Asher Platts on upright bass

Asher Platts on upright bass

What's that called, Peter?

What’s that called, Peter?

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