Tag Archives: Maine music

Family of the Year with Forget, Forget

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I got a message from my friend McKay inviting me to come see his Portland-based band Forget, Forget open for Family of the Year at Port City Music Hall. I really like Family of the Year’s 2012 album, Loma Vista, so I actually already had a ticket. I emailed the band’s publicist to see if I could use my swanky new camera at the show, and she responded immediately with a yes. So then I had two tickets—well, a ticket and a press pass. And then I won two tickets from 98.9WCLZ that I’d signed up for weeks earlier. Oops. One girl. Four tickets. I took a friend and tried (unsuccessfully) to find a taker for the extras. I failed. I hope it doesn’t affect my concert karma. Fingers crossed.

I made my way to Portland at 7:30 after a long day of driving for my dear friend Melissa’s ordination service. There was a small crowd when I arrived that essentially filled the VIP section at Port City Music Hall. James and I grabbed a table in the front near the stage so we’d have a good view for the show. McKay came out to chat for a bit before Forget, Forget’s set. I’d just read a revealing and helpful article about the band in the Bangor Daily News that they’d posted on their Facebook page. Apparently, songwriter and band leader Tyler DeVos works with people with mental illness and writes down the things those folks say. The band’s songs are filled with collections of the seemingly random and sometimes disturbing phrases. The background information really helped me appreciate what they’re saying.

Tyler is joined by six band mates that together make a powerful sound—McKay Belk (guitar/banjo), John Nels Blanchette (guitar), Aaron LaChance (drums), Patia Maule (violin/keys), Dominic Grosso (bass), and Johanna Sorrell (cello). Yes, that’s a lot of strings. Sometimes I couldn’t hear all of the parts during their set, but I heartily enjoyed their music anyhow. They are a cohesive unit with great harmonies and I found them captivating.

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I would love to sit down with Forget, Forget’s lyrics, and hope to do so later in the summer when their album is released. Stay tuned for their Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to get their first album out. Tyler’s job must be really interesting, because the lyrics are fascinating—“I’m married to Avril Lavigne, Cher, and Olivia Newton-John/I’m scared one day they will realize/I’ve been keeping multiple wives.” Everyone in the band sang these lyrics in a lovely round—“The sound is loud/The wild people rejoice/Don’t remember/Never remember/Forget/Forget/Forget/Forget/Forget.” And finally (and quite poignantly), “Do you love me/the way I was loved/the way I was loved/before I got sick.” I am already looking forward to seeing Forget, Forget again. They were a great surprise.

I was underwhelmed with Family of the Year’s live show. I really like their upbeat, harmonic pop music. Their harmonies are great and they are so tight as a unit that they occasionally sound like one voice. I love good banter, though, and to feel like I’m part of a concert experience. The band seemed quite comfortable during their songs, but they were stiff in between and relied on talking to each other instead of actively involving the small, but attentive crowd in the show.

Lead singer and guitarist Joe Keefe sounded great. His brother Sebastian kept the beat going strong on drums and tambourine. James Bucky on guitar looked a lot like Paul Simon and kept a low profile. Alex Walker on bass was having an awesome time and bounced around and smiled a ton and was a pleasure to watch. I found keyboardist Christina Schroeter very distracting because she gesticulated like a rapper and even did some fist pumping. She reminded me a lot of Gwen Stefani, so seemed a little out of place at an indie pop show. She was kind to the crowd when it came to talking about their album, though. Christina told us that they’d love for us to leave with their album, so they were available as “pay what you can.” She said that the most important thing is that we left with the music. I liked that.

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I liked every song Family of the Year played. You may have heard “Chugjug” a couple of years ago in an Advil commercial. 98.9 WCLZ (who promoted the show) is playing “Hero” regularly and it’s so good. I really liked “Buried” (which reminds me so much of Good Old War, who I love), “St. Croix,” “Living on Love,” and “Diversity.” They covered Richard and Linda Thompson’s “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight.” I’m not sure what the last song of their set was, but they gave it their all and really rocked out.

Family of the Year left the stage and everyone clapped kindly for an encore, even though we were a small Sunday night crowd. I was really surprised that the band didn’t come back out for an encore. That rarely happens these days. In the rare instances when I’ve seen bands not do an encore, they’ve always said as much before leaving the stage. It was a little strange. In the end, I still quite like Family of the Year’s music, but their live show was not inspired. We all have off nights, so I’m willing to give them another shot. Have other people seen Family of the Year and loved their live show? Let us know! I’d be happy to be wrong about them.

xo,

bree

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Geneviève Beaudoin

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blue, Portland, Maine

It’s with a lot of pride that I introduce you to Geneviève Beaudoin, whose name you’ll surely be hearing again. I met Genny when she walked into my classroom in May of 2007, a polite and wide eyed eighth grader visiting my high school social studies classroom on Step Up Day. She was an exceptional student in my Ancient World Cultures class as a ninth grader in the fall—a true scholar who saw connections between the past and present and understood how and why to glean lessons from the past. I was thrilled to have her. I have never been more impressed at a school musical than I was when I saw her as the lead in Once Upon a Mattress that year. She was charismatic and a pleasure to watch on stage. I’ll never forget how blown away I was when Genny played a song at one of the open mic nights I hosted at Mt. Ararat during her senior year. She fingerpicked an acoustic guitar with ease and I was impressed by her strong voice. At the end of her performance, I asked her who wrote the song. When she said that she had, I didn’t believe her at first. It showed wisdom beyond her years.

All grown up now, Geneviève Beaudoin is a student at NYU and an up and coming singer songwriter. In her first year at NYU, she performed in and won her dorm’s talent show which gave her a spot in NYU’s talent showcase. Here’s where it gets interesting—Lady Gaga once lived in the same freshman dorm and also performed in and won the same dorm’s talent show. Through the transitive property, Geneviève is on her way to extraordinary stardom!

“KS” wrote a spot on description of Geneviève and her music that’s on both her website and her Facebook page:

“Geneviève Beaudoin is 19 but she’s not young.

The budding singer-song writer has been shaped by a vibrant family–half American, half French—and has learned from different homes in Lyon, France; New York, New York and a small town in rural Maine. To that end, Geneviève’s original songs are raw, multi-faceted, and mature. With their perception and poetry, her lyrics reflect a solidified spirit—and the voice that sings them is one skilled beyond others of her years. Her folk and blues compositions are at times playful and witty; other times, achingly poignant. Regardless of its emotion, though, or the language in which it’s sung, Geneviève’s art is always stirring.

She has been performing at venues across coastal and southern Maine this summer, and will release her first EP soon.”

I got to Blue in Portland a little before Geneviève’s set. It was great to see her while she was home on break and to catch up with her dear friend Mary and her delightful family—even her dad, who went to Colby. (No hard feelings, John!) Geneviève introduced me again to Dietrich Strause who was playing after her. I saw him open for Ben Sollee at One Longfellow Square back in August. Dietrich is very good and I wish I’d been able to stay for his set, too.

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Geneviève Beaudoin

Genevieve Beaudoin

A small, but attentive crowd (including Portland singer songwriter Max Garcia Conover) gathered as Geneviève took the stage with her original bluesy folk songs. Here’s her setlist from the night:

  • “Go On,” which Geneviève wrote with her friend Kate on the quad at Bowdoin College—my alma mater!
  • “Selfish Mind,” which is the first song Geneviève ever wrote. It was for her high school sweetheart essentially declaring her love for him. He eventually told her he didn’t like the song and they broke up shortly after. This is the song I heard Genny play at open mic night her senior year, so I was one of the first lucky people to hear it. It’s full of wisdom.
  • “Little Fangs” was written from the former boyfriend’s perspective. I liked the lyric “put your ghosts on the table/ring ’em out until you’re able/to luck up with your bursting eyes/The fire inside/it does, it dies.”
  • “Another Secret”
  • “Settling” was dedicated to Geneviève’s mom (it’s her favorite) who sang along from the audience. It was adorable.
  • “I Could,” which featured some great guitar thumping percussion.
  • “Fatigue,” which is a new song Geneviève called a work in progress, but was perhaps my favorite song of the night. It was inspired by the short film, Destino.
  • “Blued Metal,” another new song and also a work in progress, was inspired by a passage from Cold Mountain. Geneviève asked us before she played it if any of us had read the book. I think I shouted out that it was “so depressing.” She said, “I know! No one warned me!”
  • “Stay,” which was Geneviève’s last song and one she said was about her fears and the things she’s bad at. I liked the image she painted with the lyric “I’m your paper doll/you’re cutting me down.”

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By the end of her set, I’d written down and then underlined (twice) “NOT 19 years old!” Geneviève’s songs are mature and wise despite her youth, and she is such a pleasure to see live. You can keep in touch with her on her Facebook page (where she graciously promotes this blog!), her website, or on Twitter. Definitely don’t pass up the chance to see Geneviève live. Genny—thanks for such a lovely evening! Can’t wait to see you again soon!

xo,

bree

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