Tag Archives: Houndmouth

Basia Bulat with Twin Limb

Sunday, April 3, 2016

One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine

I’ve taken a very necessary break from blogging over the last few weeks. I’m in charge of all of the senior class events at my school and I’m selling my house and moving. It’s a crazy time in my life. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so busy!

I have fond memories of seeing Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat live early last month at One Longfellow Square. Basia came across my radar back in January of 2011, when I saw her Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. I’d seen Twin Limb open for Houndmouth back in September at Port City Music Hall, and I’d liked them and was looking forward to seeing them again, as well. Colin and I had just seen Darlingside a couple of nights earlier and he had another show to go to, so I went solo.

I was surprised and a bit disappointed to find that the bulk of the seats at One Longfellow were stacked and pushed to the sides when I arrived. I’ve seen it once before, for a bluegrass show where the band really thought people would want to dance. We didn’t. People helped themselves to the stacks of chairs and set up rows before that show even started. One Longfellow Square is a listening room with a mature audience (I am often one of the youngest people in the audience when I see shows there) and we’ve come to expect having seats in rows so we can sit close and enjoy the show comfortably. I asked one of the staff members and was told one of the bands (she didn’t know which) had asked that the chairs be cleared to create a dance floor. I’ve heard lots of Twin Limb and Basia Bulat music and, trust me, it’s not dance music. I was annoyed. What ended up happening is that people sat really far away from the stage in the few seats that were set up. It ruined the intimacy we’ve come to count on at OLS shows and I’d ask the well meaning folks there to really discourage the vast majority of bands from using this seating arrangement in the future. I watched Twin Limb’s set from one of the few seats in the corner of the room and couldn’t see any of their facial expressions (have I mentioned that I’m pretty significantly visually impaired?) and their set fell totally flat for me because of it even though I’d really enjoyed them six or so months earlier. I was grumpy. I considered going home.


My crappy view of Twin Limb during their opening set. Please don’t set up the room this way, OLS!


IMG_3440Basia Bulat came out to watch Twin Limb’s set, and she sat on the floor, front and center. Again, my belief is that people shouldn’t come to a show and have to sit on the floor to be respectful to those seated in the back and on the sides. That type of seating situation is a mess, because anyone who wants to be up front has to either stand in front of seated people and be a jerk or sit on the floor. It was really endearing that Basia was so cool and enjoyed the set from the floor. People in the crowd were definitely her fans—a nice couple initially sitting behind me had driven nine hours from Halifax to be at the show. They were giddy when she plopped down on the floor and went to join her. So, Basia was the one who broke the ice and got people closer to the stage. This was the turning point of the night and things started moving in a better direction.


Basia Bulat is front and center enjoying Twin Limb’s set

I’d been sitting with Jen Dean, a Westbrook photographer whose friend was sick and had decided to also come to the show solo. Even when I go to a show alone, it never lasts long. She was a dear. Basia and her band took the stage. I’d heard her music and although I didn’t expect this, she made it perfectly swayable. She really worked the stage with high energy dancing and switching instruments (she plays guitar, autoharp, dulcimer, piano, ukulele, and charango—which is a South American ukulele-like instrument I had to Google) and interacting sweetly with the crowd. She is a natural born entertainer, and even though I would have preferred a seated show (I’m done with the rant now), she jumped off stage and danced with the swaying crowd and even gave Jen a turn on the dance floor. My grumpiness about the seats dissipated and I found myself swaying along.


Basia took to the floor to dance with us


I don’t know a single one of Basia’s song titles, but I was glad I got to see her live in such a tiny venue. I get the feeling that she’s going places, not just because so many folks in the audience knew every word of every one of her songs, but also because she dazzled on stage and made it a feel-good night. Her most recent album, Good Advice, was released earlier this year (check out her song “Fool”), and her tour schedule is packed. Definitely get out to see Basia Bulat live if she’s in your corner of the world.




Twin Limb joined Basia and her band for a song



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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!





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