Tag Archives: Jacob Augustine

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

IMG_8902 IMG_8916

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.

IMG_8922 IMG_8927 IMG_8940

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

IMG_8961

Asher Platts on upright bass

Asher Platts on upright bass

What's that called, Peter?

What’s that called, Peter?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ghostland Music Festival

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thomas Point Beach, Brunswick, Maine

The school year has been SUPER busy! This lovely day was weeks ago now! Sorry for the delay!

My friend Grace texted in the morning to ask if I had any interest in going to the first ever Ghostland Music Festival at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick. It had been on my radar, so I took her text as a sign I should commit. I hurried by Gardiner’s annual Barks in the Park to pet some pups, take some pictures, and chat with my mayor about our most recent concert experiences before heading to Brunswick for the afternoon.

I fell in love with Otis at Gardiner's Barks in the Park!

I fell in love with Otis at Gardiner’s Barks in the Park!

Pretty Penny

Pretty Penny

It was a bit of a gloomy day—overcast and chilly—so turnout for the festival might have a little less than hoped for. I set up folding chairs and blankets close to the stage just outside of the fenced off beer area when I arrived and scoped out the grounds a bit. I was impressed with how well things were organized; especially given it was a first-time festival. Festival sponsor 98.9 WCLZ’s Ethan Minton took the stage to welcome us and tell us about the important work we were supporting by buying a ticket to the festival. He told us that 1 in 4 kids in Maine is food insecure, but Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program feeds over a thousand families each year and provides food to kids on the weekends through their Backpack Program.

98.9 WCLZ's Ethan Minton

98.9 WCLZ’s Ethan Minton

I’d hurried to get to the festival early because I really wanted to see Matt Lorenz who plays as The Suitcase Junket and was scheduled to kick off the festival. He is one talented guy, who I first saw play with his band Rusty Belle and the ever-talented Caitlin Canty. Matt was nowhere to be seen, however, and Ethan told us that he sadly couldn’t make it because of car trouble. When I saw Jacob Augustine come to the stage with his beautiful guitar in hand, I knew we were in for an unexpected treat. Jacob was the second artist I ever wrote about on whatbreesees. I was going through a breakup at the time, and his incredibly heavy, soulful songs were no help at all! But he is beautiful to see in person. Jacob’s playing with one of my favorite bands, the harmonic Darlingside, this Saturday night at Empire in Portland, and you should REALLY go! Jacob’s voice will surprise you because it doesn’t match how he appears at all. He’s tattooed and has an amazing beard, but his voice is a beautiful falsetto full of vibrato. He had us join him in a whistled rendition of Happy Birthday for his friend and closed with “Waco.”

Jacob Augustine

Jacob Augustine

Grace and I grabbed lunch from the food trucks after Jacob’s set. My teriyaki jalapeno pineapple grilled chicken sandwich from the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s food truck was insanely good. Grace picked up some poutine from the other truck and we headed back to our seats in time for Maine’s most talented female vocalist, Anna Lombard. I first saw Anna at Slates in Hallowell and she blew me away. This woman can sing. She headlined Gardiner’s annual Swine and Stein Oktoberfest two years ago and impressed everyone there, too. (Swine and Stein is coming up next Saturday, October 11!). I saw my friend Vivian (who I met before a David Wax Museum show at Empire in Portland) sitting near the stage and grabbed her to come join us and share in the poutine and good music. A very pregnant Anna and her band of well-known Maine musicians like Tony McNaboe and Nate Soule took the stage and serenaded us with most of the tracks from Anna’s 2013 album, Head Full of Bells, including “They Want Us Dead,” “Nothing of Us Left,” “Waiting for Rescue,” “Why Did You Leave Me,” and “Confessions.” Anna sounded good as ever. Dave Gutter joined Anna and the band for “All For You” to end their set.

A great girls' day with Grace!

A great girls’ day with Grace!

Good Shepherd Food Bank's INCREDIBLE food truck!

Good Shepherd Food Bank’s INCREDIBLE food truck!

IMG_8684

Fun and games at Ghostland

Fun and games at Ghostland

Anna Lombard

Anna Lombard

IMG_8631

Dave Gutter’s set was up next. You probably know Dave and his recognizably raspy voice best from Rustic Overtones, which provided the soundtrack to my early college years. “Gangster” sounded great, and Dave said he’d “one up” Anna by inviting an already born child on stage to sing “I Like It Low” with him. Young Connie sounded great and was adorable. “Letter To The President” is a heavy song worth a listen, and Dave kept that mood rolling by ending his set with a song about addiction called “High On Everything.”

Dave Gutter

Dave Gutter

"I Like It Low" featuring Connie

“I Like It Low” featuring Connie on vocals

Boston based Will Dailey and his band took the stage and rocked with their electric guitars. I particularly liked “So Do I” and “Don’t Take Your Eyes Off of Me.” Anna Lombard seemed to be a big Will Dailey fan and she joined him for a song, too.

Will Dailey

Will Dailey

IMG_8662

Will Dailey featuring Anna Lombard

Will Dailey featuring Anna Lombard

An overcast day for a festival

An overcast day for a festival

I’d just seen Samuel James the night before at our dear friend Max Garcia Conover’s national RV tour kickoff show at Mayo Street Arts, and he was up next. The first time I saw Samuel James at Frontier in Brunswick, I felt like I was in his living room. The guy’s got soul. His blues guitar is impressive. I was glad to hear “It Ain’t Right” and “Nineteen,” which he wrote for his dad.

Samuel James

Samuel James

IMG_8690

IMG_8682IMG_8615IMG_8694

Ethan invited everyone to move to inside because rain was imminent. Grace and I had been snuggled under our blankets for hours and were kind of spent, so we decided to head home after Samuel James. We missed Dominic and the Lucid, Spencer Albee, and The Ghost of Paul Revere (who I think are the bees knees). The Ghost of Paul Revere did a great job organizing Ghostland and I’m looking forward to seeing them in my sweet little town at Johnson Hall on November 8. I hope you raised a lot of well deserved and much needed funds for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention! Great job, guys!

xo,

bree

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Jacob Augustine

Friday, January 13, 2012

St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland, Maine

Jacob Augustine at St. Lawrence Arts Center

Last week was a hard merge, but I went to see Jacob Augustine anyway. Brave girl. I called for a much needed Girls Night and Sophie, Michelle, and Rachel responded heartily. We met for dinner at Duckfat and minus Rachel, headed over on icy roads to St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill in Portland to see Jacob Augustine play two acoustic sets. I’d never seen a show there—it’s a converted church and has a beautiful wooden ceiling and riser seating. It feels old and intimate and lovely. I’ll be going back. Check out their website here.

Sophie and I saw Jacob open for Billy Libby in September at One Longfellow Square, and my best friend from high school, Meg, and I saw him at the Belfast Free Range Music Festival in April of 2011. I am a fan. We nestled into the center of the crowd and Jacob came out a little earlier than expected so he could finish up the show before Portland’s 10PM parking ban.

Jacob opened with “Waco,” a haunting song (I could say that about a lot of his songs, actually), and I love the juxtaposition that is Jacob Augustine. He is a burly guy with tattoos, a huge beard, and a shaved head who belts out in this falsetto voice that catches listeners off guard. One of the things I like about Jacob’s simple, yet also quite complex songs are the wailing “oo”s and “la”s—they make his songs complete and are as interesting and intricate as lyrics. You can read more about Jacob Augustine in this Maine Magazine article. Maine Magazine is one of my very favorites and they were one of the sponsors of the evening.

Jacob plays classical guitar—his simple strumming and chord progressions are a good backdrop for his powerful, heavy lyrics. His songs would make a beautiful film soundtrack. I’d also love to hear him harmonize with a female voice. I think it would be amazing.

Jacob played a beautiful rendition of “Methadone.” It’s a love song—it starts out “And without your love, I shake, shake, shake/I need you in my blood/And I love you every day/Yeah, I wake up/You’re always there to save me.” For about the first thirty seconds, I forgot that it’s really a love song FOR methadone. Being from northern Maine, Jacob addresses the turmoil and chaos drugs continue to cause in our beloved state. It certainly sounds like he knows what he’s singing about.

Jacob called himself a “quiet man onstage” and I agree, but I liked hearing the background behind one of the songs, “Catalina.” He talked about an accident in a field in high school where a friend was run over and he literally lifted the car up off of her so she could be extracted. She was in a full body cast and had a long recovery. Later, her mother overdosed, and a week after that, so did she. I love knowing what songs are about, and I had this brief moment where I thought it would be great to hear a Jacob Augustine storytelling session, but I quickly changed my mind. Some (most?) of his songs are heavy and about very serious, troubling, difficult things and I’m not sure how many of the back stories I could handle hearing. I imagine songwriting is one of the ways he processes those difficult times in his life. Music is good therapy for all of us.

“Coyote,” from his Frontier album, is one of my very favorites and I was happy to hear it. “Asthma,” also from Frontier (I think that’s my favorite of his albums), was stunning—his patient refrain of “it was so good to see your smiling faces” was intense and the somehow already silent room got quieter. By the end of the evening, I was sufficiently lulled and ready for bed (Friday nights are SO not the right night for this teacher to be out on the town!). Jacob closed with another of my favorites, “Peace Comes.” If you can carve out six minutes in your day, I’d really recommend listening to this beautiful, collaborative version of “Peace Comes.” The message that “peace comes—I promise, I promise/Hold on” was the right note to end the night on.

There is something primal and urgent yet so gentle and simple about Jacob’s songs, and about the singer himself, as well. I am caught in the juxtaposition and will happily linger there until I see him again.

Jacob’s albums are available at his bandcamp site. You can name your own price to download his music. I hope you’ll check him out!

xo,

bree

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Upcoming Shows!

I am often in need of a concert buddy. Let me know if you’re interested in joining me at any of the following, or at least check out some of these great artists I’m excited to see soon!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized