Tag Archives: Lucius

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real with Nikki Lane

Friday, November 17, 2017

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

This night gets top marks from start to finish. It was the end of a long week–I’d been sick, we had parent teacher conferences at school until late, I’d seen the Lone Bellow earlier in the week, and I was generally pooped–but when Lukas Nelson’s publicist invited me to come to the sold out show, I knew I needed to dig deep. It was definitely the right choice.

Marian joined me at Empire and we had a leisurely dinner before the show. Portland was packed–Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn were in town at the State Theatre, and Elton John was at the Cross Insurance Center, too. We made it to Port City Music Hall a little before 7:30, expecting to arrive on the early side in order to grab a good spot up front for the sold out show, but the line was up the block. I wondered if doors weren’t open yet, but it turned out that Port City has increased their security protocol and everyone was asked to empty their pockets and was wanded with metal detectors. It was a pretty slow process. I think a third person on the door wanding would help in the future, especially during sold out shows.

Marian and I made our way towards the stage and met Phyllis and her family. Phyllis has been to seven Farm Aid shows and is a huge Lukas Nelson  fan. I was unfamiliar with both Lukas and show opener Nikki Lane, but Phyllis’ enthusiasm was contagious. I’d also heard from friends who attended the Newport Folk Festival last summer that Nikki was a hit there, so I was excited for the entire double bill.

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Here’s Phyllis with Lukas. Thanks to her daughter, Sarah, for sending me this adorable picture!

Nikki Lane took the stage around 8:10. Nikki and her band live in Nashville, and she described it as a small community where everyone knows everyone. Nikki told us that a friend was in a serious relationship, but found out that her partner had a secret life with a wife and family, which inspired her song “Lies.”I’d heard “Right Time” and “Jackpot” on 98.9 WCLZ. Nikki’s music has a vintage country rock vibe and she has a killer voice.

IMG_5999IMG_6014Concert etiquette tip moment. I am always disappointed in people at shows who arrive at the last second, but push their way to the front and cut in front of people who arrived early to earn that good spot. This happened to us, too, and it was a bummer. Folks–if you want to be up front, arrive early. If you see an empty square foot of space in the front, that is not enough space for you to squeeze yourself into. Resist the urge. It is really rude.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real took the stage after a lengthy transition. I grabbed a spot just behind the barricade to photograph during the first three songs of Lukas’ set, and he was mesmerizing. I’d heard he was dreamy from friends in the music industry, but I think everyone in the room had an immediate crush on him. He has “it” factor, and a confident stage presence. My dear friend Ken Templeton interviewed Lukas for Red Line Roots, and you can learn a bit about Lukas’ recent album and songwriting process here.IMG_6032IMG_6048IMG_6050IMG_6084Up to that moment, I was a total Lukas Nelson & POTR novice. I’d only ever heard Lukas’ song “Find Yourself” on WCLZ, and I knew very little about him, except he is Willie Nelson’s son and has collaborated with Lady Gaga (that’s her singing with him on “Find Yourself”) and Jess and Holly of Lucius, whom I adore. Lukas played an acoustic Studio Z set earlier in the afternoon at 98.9 WCLZ that I’d also missed, but you can check out here. I didn’t know that POTR has been together about a decade, which is a long time since Lukas is only 28 years old. Lukas was joined on stage by Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass), and Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitar and organ). Lukas introduced “Runnin’ Shine” by telling us that some things aren’t wrong, just illegal. He sang a song for his hometown of Austin, Texas, “Just Outside of Austin,” and a song about commitment that warns “forever is a four letter word.” He also revealed that he’d been in love with a girl named Georgia who he couldn’t put out of his mind after they broke up because he was playing Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” every night on tour with his dad, so he penned “Forget About Georgia.” You can hear more about Lukas (I like context) in this interview he did with NPR Music back in August. IMG_6102IMG_6135Lukas played a lot of cover songs. They were beautiful and he can really sing, but he has a lot of his own songs under his belt, and I was surprised to not hear more of them in person. He covered Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,” Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” and Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes.” Nikki Lane joined him on stage to cover Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” too. At the time, I thought maybe Lukas and POTR only had one album out and didn’t have enough material for a headlining set, but I was wrong. It was certainly fun to sing along to a handful of classic tunes with a big crowd on a cold Friday night, though!

I emphatically recommend seeing Lukas Nelson and POTR in person. Lucky for you, they’re still on tour! This night was an absolute blast!

xo,

bree

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Lucius with Pavo Pavo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Music Hall, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I never miss an opening act. Some of my favorite musicians today were people I was lucky enough to catch open for someone else—Glen Hansard for Damien Rice, Brandi Carlile for Ray LaMontagne, Gregory Alan Isakov for Brandi Carlile, and the list goes on and on. I got to Boston embarrassingly early to catch Milo Greene at Brighton Music Hall (who I’d seen open for The Civil Wars—sigh) in October of 2012 and Brooklyn’s Lucius was a phenomenal, totally take-you-by-surprise opening act. I was hooked. Jess and Holly’s harmonies are show stopping and their songs catchy. I bought their EP and listened to it hundreds of times.

I caught Lucius again in December of 2013 at Port City Music Hall in Portland. I will never forget that show, because I rushed to the show a little late after the best first date ever. Nearly two years later, and my sweetie and I got to see our first Lucius show together. He had a huge smile on his face all night. They are so impressive. Lucius was decidedly the sweetheart group of last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, sitting in with lots of groups (including my beloved The Lone Bellow) and even getting to sing with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

Lucius. Port City Music Hall. December 2013.

Lucius. Port City Music Hall. December 2013.

Seeing Lucius together!

Seeing Lucius together!

Our friend Marian is a Lucius super fan, and she emailed the gang to remind us that tickets were going on sale to see Lucius at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Ten of us snagged seats in the first few rows and got there early to catch Pavo Pavo, the eccentric opening act. I honestly don’t know how to describe that experience. I’m just glad I had friends there to witness it with me because it was a bit of a spectacle. The lead singer wore a black onesie jumpsuit complete with stirrup pants and a mock turtleneck. If they are trying to distract from their music (which I genuinely can’t recall at this point), with their look, then they’re succeeding brilliantly. I feel like I was the worst audience member ever for the opening because we were all texting (subtlely, and with our screens fully dimmed, mind you) our disbelief and discussed going out on Halloween dressed as Pavo Pavo in matching black mock turtleneck onesies. I laughed to tears at one point when the absurdity overwhelmed me. And even though they were absolutely not for me, I am so glad I got to see them that once.

The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Brooklyn's Pavo Pavo

Brooklyn’s Pavo Pavo

Lucius took the stage and was flawless. Their percussive, harmonic, powerful sound impresses and left us breathless. There wasn’t a stray voice in the crowd all night. We were spellbound. Guitarist Peter Lalish is from New Hampshire, and got a hometown welcome from the crowd. I was happy to hear “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Go Home”—both from their four song 2013 EP and their full length album, 2014’s Wildewoman. “How Loud Your Heart Gets” is another stand out. They tried out a handful of new songs on us, too, and I am pumped for their next release. They are so insanely good.

Lucius!

Lucius!

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I was sad, and I’ll admit, a bit grumpy, when people stood up to dance and were welcomed to the front of the stage to dance. A mass of eager dancers blocked our second row view of the show for the rest of the night and it was frustrating. I was bummed, especially for Marian, who’d been on the ball and bought a front row ticket just to have her view blocked by other fans.

Our sad view from the second row once the dancing started

Our sad view from the second row once the dancing started

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After they wrapped their set, I excused myself to the back of the room so I could actually see them, and caught one of my favorites, “Two of Us on the Run,” from there. The quintet unplugged for their encore and stepped in front of the stage curtain to play around one microphone. It was beautiful. I feel like the days of getting to see Lucius in intimate venues is dwindling as their popularity grows, so I’m grateful for even an obstructed second row view of this phenomenally talented powerhouse group.

xo,

bree

Encore

Encore

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Milo Greene with Hey Marseilles

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

Have you ever loved a band, listened to their album a hundred times, but then invited friends to come see them live with you and the band totally fell flat and you felt responsible? This was that.

I fell in love with LA’s Milo Greene when they opened for The Civil Wars at Berklee Performance Arts Center in November of 2011. I bought their three-song sampler for $5 and listened to it easily a hundred times waiting for their first full-length album. I saw them in Boston at Brighton Music Hall in October of 2012 (playing with Lucius), and again touring for their folky, harmonic self-titled album in March of 2013 at Empire in Portland. I re-read my post from 2012 at Brighton Music Hall where I wrote “their strength is in their live show.” Milo Greene didn’t bring it to Port City Music Hall that night.

Milo Greene at Brighton Music Hall. October 2012.

Milo Greene at Brighton Music Hall in Boston. October 2012.

Milo Greene at Empire in Portland, Maine. March 2013.

Milo Greene at Empire in Portland, Maine. March 2013.

I have always described Milo Greene to first-timers as an upbeat indie group without a lead singer. They pass instruments back and forth. Their harmonies are stunning and their songs catchy and relatable. Their new album, Control, is a different thing altogether. Released in early 2015, it is much more pop and percussive. It’s a pretty big departure, and not in a direction I was excited about, but I still thought their live show would impress. It didn’t.

The only wholly bright spot of the night was show opener Hey Marseilles from Seattle. They have a folky pop sound with great harmonies and a string section. Matt Bishop, their lead singer, was engaging and friendly. He joked that their band name is hard to say but easy to Google search. I wasn’t familiar with their music before the show, but I enjoyed the bulk of it (especially “Heart Beats”) and have listened more since the show. I’d definitely see them again.

Seattle's Hey Marseilles

Seattle’s Hey Marseilles

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Milo Greene took the stage and thanked us for waiting three years for them to come back to town. That might have been just about the only thing anyone in the band said for the majority of the show. They played in the near dark, song after song. No song introductions, no checking in with the audience. It felt like we might as well not have been there. Much later in their set, Robbie said that their new album is the real them (that was the gist, anyhow). Marlana piped up that she thought it might take a little convincing, but he clearly disagreed. I wondered how united the group is about their new musical direction.

LA's Milo Greene

LA’s Milo Greene

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This beautiful shot of Milo Greene is courtesy of Caroline Carrigan

This beautiful shot of Milo Greene is courtesy of Caroline Carrigan

Milo Greene sped through their Control-heavy set. On their website they’re quoted as saying that their “first album was a massive wall of harmonies.” It is a glorious sound, if you ask me, and the crowd’s reaction led me to think I’m not the only one who misses the old stuff. I was happy to hear a handful of their earlier songs like “1957,” “What’s The Matter,” and “Autumn Tree.” They covered Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home,” which I thought was fantastic. The band rushed through their songs and hurried off stage and I was surprised by how early I got home after a show on a school night. If they came back to town, I’d sadly pass, which is kind of heartbreaking.

xo,

bree

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Lucius with Kingsley Flood

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

*This is my 100th post on whatbreesees.com! Thanks so much for all of your support in the last (almost) two years!*

I was so excited to see Lucius again. Their website is ilovelucius.com, which is totally appropriate. I saw them over a year ago in Boston at Brighton Music Hall opening for Milo Greene and they were really unique and impressive. Mainers got to see Lucius this summer when they opened for Tegan and Sara at the State Theatre. Portland Press Herald’s Aimsel Ponti was so blown away by Lucius when they opened, that, for her, they stole the show. She called it “The Lucius Effect.” Their new album, Wildewoman, has taken off (check out this killer album review in Rolling Stone) and so the show was moved from its original venue to the larger Port City Music Hall.

My college friends Shaun, Harriet, and Atlee met me for dinner before the show at Empire. I rushed in to meet them after the best first date ever and was in very good spirits. They were over the moon about the duck buns I recommended. If you haven’t eaten at Empire yet, definitely check it out. Sweet Caroline got us out of the restaurant in plenty of time to grab our tickets and grab a spot up front. Naseem, Kingsley Flood’s lead singer, is our college classmate. I’d wanted to see them play this summer at The Newport Folk Festival (here’s their full NFF set), but I was marrying friends on top of a mountain at Sunday River that weekend. How exciting for Kingsley Flood that they’ve already played Newport!

With a decidedly folk-rock sound (emphasis on the rock), Kingsley Flood impressed with the fullness and variety of their sound. I especially liked their use of trumpet, saxophone, maracas, and tambourine. “Sigh A While” premiered on NPR’s All Songs Considered and was probably my favorite song of the night. I loved Janee’s intense and theatrical facial expressions and Naseem really left it all on stage (the pictures will prove it). If anything, I would have liked to hear a little more banter and background information about the songs because that’s really something I’m looking for at a show.

George Hall and Nick Balkin of Kingsley Flood

George Hall and Nick Balkin of Kingsley Flood

Jenée Morgan Force and Chris Barrett of Kingsley Flood

Jenée Morgan Force and Chris Barrett of Kingsley Flood

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Naseem Khuri on lead vocals

I loved Jenée's intense facial expressions

I loved Jenée’s intense facial expressions

Naseem totally went for it

Naseem totally went for it

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Travis Richter on drums is back there

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Something I remembered seeing this summer that I think is very much worth sharing is that Kingsley Flood’s creative video for “Sun Gonna Lemme Shine” landed them a feature on the Huffington Post because it featured a little boy wearing a dress. Definitely check out the story and the video.

Brooklyn’s Lucius took the stage after a long break. I was immediately reminded of their unique 60s vintage style. I was so taken by all of the colors on stage that I ended up with hundreds more photos than I normally take at a show. It took forever (okay, a few days) to decide what photos to share in this post. I love context, so check out this New York Times interview with Jess and Holly of Lucius.

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius

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I was looking through my notes from the show and I essentially wrote the title of every song they played with a heart next to each one. My concert buddy Colin joined me for the show and I kept looking back at him to see his reaction. He was totally on board. I also met Megan in the front row who was such a dear. I love shows that bring good people together, and this was one of those nights.

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I love this sequence of photos and their playful facial expressions!

I love this sequence of photos and Holly and Jess’s playful facial expressions!

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Lucius played a stellar, superb, strong set. I cannot say enough about the power and perfection of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig’s harmonies. I’m a big fan of “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Genevieve.” I really, really LOVED “How Loud Your Love Gets.” “Go Home” really shined, too. In my notes next to “Go Home” I wrote love, love, love!!!! So I guess I loved it?! Lucius wrapped their poppy set with “Wildewoman.” The crowd was so into their set from start to finish. From my vantage point, people were singing along—every single word. Drummer Dan Molad was so moved by our enthusiasm that he literally shouted out to us during the song with a huge smile on his face. This was one of those rare shows where a band said very little but I still felt like I knew them. Their music is a bit transcendent in that way.

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The crowd roared for an encore and Lucius happily obliged. Jess smiled and told us “you guys are too cute. You’re amazing.” I appreciated the joy of the audience and Lucius felt it, too. Heck, they created it. They sang “Turn It Around” for us, which is another of my favorite Lucius songs. I may or may not have been watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (an off and on guilty pleasure) sometime last season and heard “Turn It Around” as the opening song. Just as I thought they were going to say goodnight, Lucius stepped off stage and stood on milk crates that the bar dragged over for them to stand on in the center of the room and wowed with “Two Of Us On The Run” completely unplugged. They thanked us and said we’d made them feel at home. They left us with a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye” from the floor, a perfect way to say, well, goodbye. See Lucius live. I’m a teacher, so I can give you homework.

xo,

bree

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An encore from the floor

An encore from the floor

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