Tag Archives: KEXP

José González with Bedouine

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Music Hall, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

My friend Greg introduces me to a lot of new music, and many years ago, he included José González’s cover of “Heartbeats” on a mix he sent me. It’s been a favorite song ever since. It’s been streamed over 200 million times on Spotify, too, so I bet you’ve heard “Heartbeats” even if you don’t know the name José González. I’d hoped to see José González live for years, and I was happily surprised to see he was playing The Music Hall in nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I don’t think José tours very much in the United States, and certainly not in New England, so this was an exciting opportunity.

Colin and I arrived  Portsmouth with enough time to grab a quick dinner at Flatbread. Our server let us know we could get to the venue faster if we left through their rear entrance, which was a time saving tip.

 

We made it to our awesome second row seats in time to see show opener, Bedouine. Bedouine was featured on NPR Music last summer, and from that I learned that she is Azniv Korkejian. She was “born in Aleppo, Syria, to Armenian parents, Korkejian spent her early childhood in Saudi Arabia. After her family won the green-card lottery, she moved to the U.S. at the age of 10, living in Massachusetts, Texas and Kentucky before winding up in California as an adult.” Her background is pretty interesting, but she didn’t say much on stage. She has a unique, folky voice and plays classical guitar, but her songs sounded a lot alike and if I’m being honest, I thought her set was boring. I saw that Bedouine will play Newport Folk Festival this summer, so you can check her out there for yourself and see what you think.

Bedouine

José took the stage solo and played a lovely set. Something that sticks out even a few weeks later is that a couple arrived during José’s set and sat in their front row seats in front of us. The man in front of me was so tall that I couldn’t see José until I asked him to take of his hat and scoot down a bit–which he kindly did. I’m glad I asked. I always end up just behind the tallest person in the room!

José González

José plays classical guitar and sings pretty melodies. He is soft spoken, but he told us the inspiration for a few of his songs, which I appreciated. He was warm with the audience. I find that José’s songs are a pleasure to listen to, but his lyrics are hard for me to decipher. I usually Google his lyrics, actually. I’m really glad I was in the room for this mellow night of good music. I was especially happy to hear “Heartbeats” and “Leaf Off / The Cave” (the video is amazing) live. He also played a beautiful cover of “Blackbird” that was stunning. José has an interesting life story, and I like context, so may want to check out this article. His full set on KEXP would give you a good sense of what you missed this night, too. An unexpected bonus was that I slept like a rock after this night of soothing music.

xo,

bree

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London Grammar with Until The Ribbon Breaks

Saturday, January 24, 2015

State Theatre, Portland, Maine

Please pardon the delay. I have been snowed in for far too many days now. Seriously—FOUR of the last FIVE weekdays until today were snow days. My will to do anything productive has been zapped for a week now. I’ve shoveled, had tea and watched The Wire. Rinse and repeat. I was SO ready to leave the house this morning even though the roads were horrendous. I’d missed my students. I also don’t want to shovel again. Ever.

I was so excited when I saw that Britain’s London Grammar was coming to Portland. I’d seen them on KEXP and was BLOWN AWAY. Their show had been pushed from July to maybe October and then moved to the State Theatre in January. A lot of us had great expectations and had waited more than half a year to see them live. They were well worth the wait.

I’m glad Colin and I made it early to the State after an amazing Hey Rosetta! show at One Longfellow Square and got a good spot for show opener Until The Ribbon Breaks. I’d come across them on NPR a couple of weeks before the show with a first listen of their new album, A Lesson Unlearnt. It’s lyrically heavy and more electronic than I tend towards, but it’s an interesting and layered piece. Seeing UTRB was similarly theatrical and intense. Pete Lawrie-Winfield is a strong front man and the videos played in the background throughout their set made it a complete, dramatic experience. Pete experienced a myriad of tech issues on stage that keyboardist/bassist/vocalist James Gordon fixed for him a number of times. It added a bit of levity to their set.

Until The Ribbon Breaks

Until The Ribbon Breaks

Pete Lawrie-Winfield

Pete Lawrie-Winfield

James Gordon

James Gordon

Elliot Wall

Elliot Wall

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Sophie and Kate arrived and found us in time for UK electronic pop trio London Grammar’s set. They were both strangers to London Grammar’s music, so I loved seeing their faces light up as they processed just what a treat they were in for. Sophie’s eyes widened as she mouthed “HOLY CRAP!” to me early on in the first song. That’s the London Grammar effect. Hannah Reid can’t be 25 years old yet, but her voice is ethereal and captivating. Hannah, Dan Rothman (guitar), and Dominic Major (keyboard/percussion) met early on while students at University of Nottingham and released their first EP in February of 2013. Their first full-length album, If You Wait, dropped in September of 2013. I was especially happy to hear “Hey Now” and “Strong” live. Everyone in London Grammar seemed humble and approachable. They interacted comfortably with the crowd and genuinely thanked us for our support. Hannah even pointed out a fan in the front row who’d attended all of their American tour dates and said how much it meant to the band to have such devoted fans. To say I was blown away by London Grammar live is such an understatement. I’ve struggled to find the words to talk about how amazing they are. Please check them out. I’m listening to them on repeat these days. See photos below!

xo,

bree

London Grammar

London Grammar

Dan Rothman

Dan Rothman

Hannah Reid

Hannah Reid

Dominic Major

Dominic Major

IMG_0972 IMG_0976 IMG_0984 IMG_0987 IMG_0988 IMG_0996 IMG_1014 IMG_1018 IMG_1029

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