Tag Archives: Portland Maine

Carbon Leaf with The Accidentals

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

It’s always a pleasure to see Virginia’s Carbon Leaf live. I’ve been going to their shows in Maine since 2009, and they always bring positive energy and upbeat music. Lead singer Barry Privett told us that he’d done the math, and they’ve played Portland, Maine ten times. I left my fancy camera at home so I could dance, but here are posts from Carbon Leaf shows at Port City Music Hall in December of 2013 and November of 2014 that have longer recaps and far better pictures of the show.

I love Carbon Leaf shows because the crowd is always full of great people who sing along and have a great time. Being part of a great crowd means having a great time at the show, so this is truly an important point to mention. I met a couple who had driven up from Massachusetts for the show, and we danced and sang along from the front row while Carbon Leaf played a solid 20-song set, including songs you’ve definitely heard on 98.9 WCLZ, such as “Life Less Ordinary” and “What About Everything?” “The Boxer” takes on new meaning for me now that I’m training five days a week at a MMA gym. In fact, I met my teammates at our coach’s house after the show to watch the UFC fights until the wee hours.

“Let Your Troubles Roll By” is the Carbon Leaf song that means the most to me and inspires me to lift my head when things are hard. I always think of my friend Sarah, who I met at a Carbon Leaf show at Port City in 2009 and who suffered an aneurysm, but has really come a long way in her recovery. Carbon Leaf even sent her a get well soon card when she was in the hospital. They’re great musicians, but good people, too. That stuff matters to me.

Towards the end of the night, Barry asked to turn the house lights up. Since Veteran’s Day was the day before, Barry asked all of the veterans in the room to raise their hand for much deserved recognition and then dedicated and played “The War Was in Color” for them. It was a moving moment. I’m always glad to see you when you’re in town, Carbon Leaf! See you next fall!

xo,

bree

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David Ramirez

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine

I saw David Ramirez for the first time a year and a half ago opening for Shakey Graves at the State Theatre in Portland. I was drawn to him immediately and enjoyed the sparseness of a man with a guitar juxtaposed with the urgency and passion he demonstrated with his powerful, rich voice. I sadly missed him a year ago at One Longfellow Square (I had tickets, but unfortunately didn’t make it to the show), so was eager to see him again. Colin went to that show a year ago and David played with a full band, which just isn’t really how I want to see him (or so I told myself, since I missed him). I was very excited to learn that I’d be seeing his 2016 Bootleg Tour–just David and a guitar–and each show would be recorded and audience members would get a link to a download of the show the next day. Right up my alley. Add that this was at teeny, intimate One Longfellow Square, and I was pumped.

I got to see my dear friend Fiona who was visiting from Minneapolis after school and then drove down to meet Colin at OLS. He snagged us great seats in the second row and we took in the living room scene assembled on stage–an area lamp, table, some books, and framed picture of Billy Murray–that gave us the feeling of really being in David Ramirez’s living room.

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David Ramirez wowed with his incredibly powerful voice and honest lyrics. At some point in the show, it dawned on me that David is probably not the nicest guy in real life. There was a distracting woman sitting right behind us who responded loudly after each song. David would finish a song and she’d shout “yes!” (I forgot her other go-to responses) and then try to initiate a conversation with him in between songs. We get it,  you KNOW him! (WOW!) It was annoying, and I totally chuckled when David realized it was his friend in the crowd who kept making it about her (which it sadly became, at times). Etiquette tip–don’t be that girl. No one came to see you perform if you’re not the one on stage. When I said that to Colin after the show, he smiled at me and said “doesn’t he say as much in his songs?” Good point, Colin. I was especially glad to hear “The Bad Days” and “Harder to Lie” in person. 

I will say, though, that even though David’s songs and stage banter mostly make him seem like a guy struggling to feed his healthy ego, he ended his set with “Find the Light,” which was a welcome surprise and an about face from his general tone. The song starts with some warm wishes–“I wish upon you peace/I wish upon you grace/I wish for less of what you want and more of what you need.” I’m so glad I went, even if David Ramirez is probably not someone I’d want to chat with or go have a beer with after the show. His voice and songs are layered and beautiful. And we’re all just learning how to be ourselves anyhow, and he seems to do that with his music, which is a healthy way to grow, I think.

I just realized that Spotify has David providing commentary about every song on his newest album Fables, which is right up my alley! Going to go listen now.

xo,

bree

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The Lumineers, Langhorne Slim, and Rayland Baxter

Friday, August 5, 2016

Thompson’s Point, Portland, Maine

I snagged a ticket for this show at Thompson’s Point the moment they went on sale, and I am so glad I did. The show sold out early (impressive, given the capacity at outdoor Thompson’s Point), and as show openers were announced, I got more excited, because both Langhorne Slim and Rayland Baxter have both been on my radar for ages. I feel really lucky that I got to see three great bands for the first time at a fantastic venue on a perfect summer night.

I picked up my friend Marian and we got to Thompson’s Point early to grab a spot up front. We ended up seventh row center, surrounded by great people who’d also arrived early to enjoy the music up close. There was a brief bit of drama where a woman pushed her way through the crowd to get a better spot, but another woman who’d been there since doors opened with her kids convinced her to do the right thing and leave. Concert etiquette–if you want a good spot, arrive early. You can’t push your way to the front and expect to stay there and have people welcome you with open arms. It’s rude. Don’t do it.

Nashville’s Rayland Baxter took the stage and was friendly with the crowd. 98.9 WCLZ has been playing his song “Yellow Eyes” for ages, and I was glad to hear that live. He seemed like a chill guy and his country music inspired jam band was a fine opening to the night.

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Raymond Baxter

I have a handful of friends who are devotees of Langhorne Slim, so my expectations were high. Langhorne Slim & The Law took the stage and worked it. I like the lyrics to his opening song “Airplane”You and I’ve got our backs against the wall/When you don’t move, no one throws you the ball/Life’s a dance between riding the bench and/Waiting for your chance to swing for the fence.” “The Spirit Moves” sounds a lot like a song The Lumineers would write, so it seemed fitting that Langhorne (born Sean Scolnick) would open for them. We sang along on “Love Crimes” while Langhorne jumped off stage and into the crowd and sang most of the song sitting on a fan’s shoulders. I was glad to hear “Changes” live. Langhorne Slim & The Law will kind of incredibly be back to Portland to play at teeny One Longfellow Square on Friday, October 28. It will be a great show and will sell out early.

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Langhorne Slim & The Law

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The Lumineers took the stage and the audience roared. My friend Ken Templeton introduced me to them back in 2012. I fell in love with their Daytrotter session he recommended and looked up their tour schedule, just to find I’d missed them playing at teeny tiny Red Room at Cafe 939 at Berklee in Boston by three days. I’ve been waiting for four years to see this band. I also sang their breakout hit, “Ho Hey,” at my best friend’s little brother’s wedding. He’d played the song to woo his now-wife and I sang it while they had their first dance.

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The Lumineers

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The huge crowd roared with applause and sang along every word of every song. It was such a feel good night. I loved hearing “Ophelia” and “Ho Hey” early in the set. Lead singer Wesley Schultz made a deal with the enormous crowd that we’d all put our cell phones away after “Ho Hey” and just be present in the moment. It was so refreshing to see a show without having to watch through the cell phone screen of the person in front of me. Wesley told us that “Cleopatra” is a true (and heartbreaking) story of a female taxi driver who he met in the Republic of Georgia.

The band grabbed their instruments and ran back to rear of the crowd and played a few songs on a small stage set up there, including “Gale Song,” which was featured on the Hunger Games soundtrack. I thought it was cool that the band wanted to reach as much of the crowd as possible. When Wesley returned to the main stage, he walked through the huge crowd and right by me! The Lumineers returned to the main stage for another eight or so songs and a three song encore. They wrapped the night with “Stubborn Love,” which the happy crowd ate up. What a night! I feel lucky I got to be at this show. Seeing The Lumineers live was well worth the wait.

xo,

bree

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The Paper Kites with Larkin Poe

Friday, July 29, 2016

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I was so grateful for this concert experience. I received a very nice email from Larkin Poe’s publicist a few days before the show inviting me to come, and I decided to rearrange my schedule to attend. I am so glad I did. Larkin Poe had just played the Newport Folk Festival, and anyone who is invited to play there is definitely worth checking out. The Paper Kites have been popping up on my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlists for a long while now, and I particularly like their song “Bloom.” I went to my first Muay Thai boxing class at my gym, and then showered and motored down to Portland to Port City Music Hall. After attending a show the night before at the Maine State Pier (which is such a disappointing place to “see” a show), I was so glad to be on my way to a venue I love where I knew I’d get to be up close and actually see the bands.

Larkin Poe is Rebecca and Megan Lovell, sisters from Atlanta, Georgia. They’ve both toured in Elvis Costello’s band, and they’ve got chops. They took the stage with a powerful a cappella song, and I was sold. I got there early, so was front and center, and I was mesmerized. These sisters have tons of chemistry, and I liked their lyrics, rock sensibility, and effort to connect with the crowd. Rebecca told us that their band name comes from their great-great-great-grandfather, who was a cousin of Edgar Allen Poe. I don’t know their music well, but I remember “Tornado” stuck out. They played “Trouble In Mind” on Conan O’Brien back in April. You should definitely check them out live.

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Rebecca and Megan Lovell are Larkin Poe

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During the break, I chatted with a trio of women who’d flown up from New Orleans, partially to visit a friend from Maine, but surely to coincide with seeing Australia’s Paper Kites live. They were lovely to chat with, and the crowd that night was 18+ and quite respectful and nice to be around. It’s always great when people come to a show to actually see the show, and an 18+ show often means there are fewer drunkards who detract from the overall concert experience. The “kids” in the audience were clearly fans, and they sang every word of every song.

The Paper Kites‘ front man Sam Bentley was quite chatty with the crowd, and he told us the stories behind a handful of their songs, which is something I absolutely love. He joked that “I’d like to connect with you by telling you the story of another song,” which was charming and worked beautifully. I wish more artists would tell us about their songs. Sam told us the story behind “Paint.” He was in a long distance relationship when he was young and living at home, and wanted to make a grand gesture to his girlfriend by painting a love note to her in invisible ink he’d ordered online from China on his bedroom ceiling. It turned out to not be all that invisible. His parents were mad and he had to paint over it. They also broke up. He explained the song as “dealing with a life that didn’t quite happen.” This was the last night of the Paper Kites’ tour, and I’m so glad I got to spend it with them. This fantastic show was a completely welcome nice surprise. Pictures below!

xo,

bree

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The Paper Kites

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All the way from New Orleans for this double thumbs up show!

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Brandi Carlile

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Thompson’s Point, Portland, Maine

If Brandi Carlile is coming to town, I’m going to be there. It’s a no-brainer. Brandi and the Hanseroth twins—Tim and Phil—bring it every single time. They’re easily one of my top five live acts. The last time I got to see them was at the State Theatre back in May of 2015, which they sold out in two days. People packed into Thompson’s Point to see them on this cloudy night, and it was lovely to be surrounded by good people and good music. This was the furthest I’ve ever been from the stage at a Brandi show, and since proximity is paramount to my concert going experience, this was my least favorite Brandi show to date, but it was my fault for being over scheduled and not making the show my top priority. I should have gotten to Thompson’s Point when doors opened to get a spot up front against the stage like I normally would, but it was my 15th college reunion weekend and my dear friends’ daughter’s second birthday, and I tried to do it all. I’ve had the front row Brandi experience a few times, so I am still a whole person, but it’s hard for me to be so far way. A few of the perks of our spot, though, were that we got to witness a sweet proposal by the entrance, had room for our friends Kay and Spud to join us for the second half of the show, and that Portland songstresses Monique Barrett and Sorcha Cribben-Merrill spotted me on their way to the beer tent and we sang a song together.

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My 15th college reunion! And I just moved back to town, too!

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Mira is 2!

Proposal

Check out the newly engaged couple kissing on the right. Congratulations!

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This makes my heart happy! I felt like a celebrity when fabulously talented songstresses Monique Barrett and Sorcha Cribben-Merrill stopped by!

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Thanks for taking this, Sarah! I’m rarely in concert pictures!

Sarah, Megan, and I were in the first row of low folding chairs, which is the first section back from the standing general admission area. Thompson’s Point is absolutely gorgeous, and if you’re someone who likes the feel of a festival, it’s going to be right up your alley. They have a handful of delicious food trucks, a fully stocked beer tent, and are in a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.

 

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I found this information very helpful!

Brandi opened with “Again Today,” and it was great to hear one of her “older” songs. I love “The Eye” and “That Wasn’t Me,” and was so glad to hear both. Brandi invited an adorable kiddo named Isabelle from the crowd up on stage to sing “Keep Your Heart Young” with her and it was precious. I’m so glad someone got it on video. It’ll make your day to watch. Ruby Amanfu opened the show, but I missed all but her very last song. I hate to miss an opening act, too, but I did this concert experience totally unlike the norm. I was glad when she joined Brandi for “Shadow on the Wall.”

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Courtesy of @statetheatreportland on Instagram

Brandi and the Twins

Brandi Carlile, the Hanseroth twins, and the band

BrandiBrandi introduced a new song about the “beauty and terror of being a mother” aptly titled “Mother.” I love that Brandi is open and shares her life with her fans. She reaches out and offers herself to the audience and it’s impossible not to feel that positive energy at her shows. They ended their set with a powerful, beautifully orchestrated “Pride and Joy,” and came back to play a two song encore—Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” (which gave me chills) and Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California.”

Brandi Carlile and the twins have soul and sincerity in spades, and getting the opportunity to see them live is a treat. Sarah dropped me off back on campus, and I rejoined my 15th college reunion and stayed up until last call dancing to Boston’s phenomenal Soul City. Quite a little Saturday! Thanks, Brandi, Tim, and Phil! Y’all rock!

xo,

bree

PS—I found a driver’s license on my walk to Thompson’s Point, and mailed it to Jamie on Monday morning with my card. She emailed me a very sweet note, which included “It’s cliché I know, but I am so thankful that there are people in the world like you.” #goodconcertkarma

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Darlingside with Haroula Rose

Friday, April 1, 2016

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

What an extraordinary April 1st! My dear friend gave birth to a beautiful (and surely brilliant) baby girl, I got to hold baby sheep and goats after school at a friend’s farm, and I finally got to see Darlingside again after an all-too-long break! (The last Darlingside show I caught was in late 2014, when they shared the stage with the wonderfully talented Maine Youth Rock Orchestra).

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I got to hold baby farm animals!

Darlingside is one of my favorite bands to see live. Think indie rock meets orchestra. “Grandpa” Don, the eldest band member (I learned during band introductions), emailed me to invite me to Darlingside’s show at One Longfellow Square back in 2012, and they stole my heart. Multi instrumentalists Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, and Dave Senft are magnificently talented. Their perfect harmonies show how close they are and how long they’ve been making music together. They really sing with one voice, which is a real feat.

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From left to right, Darlingside is Don Mitchell, Dave Senft, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner

IMG_3312IMG_3318Colin and I grabbed our favorite spot up front at Port City Music HallPort City Music Hall for the show, where we met Westbrook High School teachers Darcie and Erin. It’s always nice to find a pocket of real music lovers to share a show with. Don emerged from backstage and gave me a quick hug. He was trying to track down some missing equipment on stage. I joked with him that I was impressed he was still dealing with his own gear now that Darlingside has gotten so famous. He laughed, but they’ve had a really big year! Darlingside was featured in The New Yorker (in an article called “Harmonious,” no less), their song “The God of Loss” was named a Favorite Song of 2015 by NPR Music, and Folk Alliance International named them 2015 Artist of the Year. Well deserved!

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Haroula Rose

IMG_3282Haroula Rose took the stage alone to open the show—just her and a guitar. She told us that her name means “joy” in Greek, which she gets asked a lot. Her set was sparse and somber, and I respect that her songs are so personal. “Time’s Fool” is a song about love, and “The Leaving Song” is about loss. She told us that she couldn’t play that song for a long while, too. Haroula just released her sophomore album, Here the Blue River, and I particularly like “Songbird.”

Darlingside was flawless, as always. Their banter was hilarious and their songs crisp and inviting. Seeing them live is a real treat—without exception. They played a lot of their new album, Birds Say. They opened their set with “The God of Loss,” which is one of my favorites from the new record, but I was really glad to hear “My Love” and “Sweet and Low” from Pilot Machines, too. I think the song that surprised me most live was “Clay & Cast Iron,” which kind of took my break away. Come join me the next time Darlingside is in town. I’ll be front and center and you should be, too! More pictures below!

xo,

bree

P.S.—I just remembered that David Wax Museum co-headlined this show and I didn’t mention them at all! I think they’re super fun live, but their music just isn’t in my wheelhouse. I stayed and danced for a handful of songs, but didn’t recap their set above because I really don’t post about a band unless I see their whole set and/or fall in love.

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Mipso

One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I was so grateful to get to spend Valentine’s Day with my dear friend Dot in Portland. We had a delicious dinner at Empire and arrived early at One Longfellow Square to grab seats up close for Mipso. North Carolina’s Mipso kindly invited me to their show with Dan Mills back in January of 2015, and I’m so glad I decided to check them out. They were so delightful, in fact, that I scheduled my February vacation trip to visit my dad in Florida around getting to see them play again in Portland. I also randomly caught Mipso playing “Bad Penny” on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so they’ve had quite the year! Maybe they’ll be a household name by the next time they play in Portland?

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Mipso riding on the KFC float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mipso is Jacob Sharp on mandolin, Wood Robinson on upright bass, Joseph Terrell on lead vocal and guitar, and Libby Rodenbough on fiddle. This talented, charming group plays beautifully and their harmonies are spot on. They are clearly good friends and good people and are warm and friendly with the audience. I loved “Father’s House” and “Louise,” and it was a treat to see Maine’s most famous mandolin player, Joe Walsh, join Mipso for a couple of songs, too. “4 Train” and “When I’m Gone” both hit me in the feels with their somber lyrics. It’s refreshing to hear songs from a band that feel authentic and meaningful. It’s also wonderful to hear vocalists perform who have crystal clear voices so you can understand every word.

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Jacob Sharp on mandolin, Joseph Terrell on guitar, and Libby Rodenbough on fiddle

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Joseph’s voice has a decidedly Paul Simon sound, which became even more evident during their lovely cover of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” I’ve already named a lot of favorite songs of the night, but “Get Out,” was another top favorite. Mipso really does it right. They are an absolute pleasure to see live and I’m already eager to have them back to Maine. They joked that they keep coming in the winter and would really like to come back in the summer, so I hope we don’t have to wait as long for their next show here. Thanks again, Mipso! Libby—I hope you had a fun birthday in Portland!

xo,

bree

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Maine’s Joe Walsh joined Mipso on mandolin

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Joe delivered a gift basket to Libby on stage at the end of the night. Her sweet parents sent it to One Longfellow Square to arrive on her birthday.

 

 

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