Tag Archives: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Saturday, September 15, 2019

Thompson’s Point, Portland, Maine

So here’s the thing about seeing shows at Thompson’s Point–it’s so much a festival experience, with a beer tent, food trucks, and plenty of other booths and entertainment–that hearing a band in person just doesn’t seem to be a big priority for a lot of folks at those shows. Thompson’s Point is booking bands I desperately want to see in person, but the crowds at their shows are full of people who are pushy, talkative, drunk, and flat out rude. It’s getting harder and harder to balance the desire to see some amazing bands in person with wanting to have a positive concert experience. Even on this night, when I did a “normal” show experience for Dan’s sake–we got there after doors opened, had dinner at Tacos Del Seoul, and didn’t stake out spots way up front like I normally would–we were still surrounded by inconsiderate people that really put a damper on the night. Someone lit a joint immediately in front of the 8 year-old kid and his mom standing between us, and when the mom quickly grabbed her kid to move away, person after person circumvented us to stand inches in front of us where they’d been and block my view of the show entirely. One gaggle of women “apologized” as they scooted in front of us and assured us “don’t worry–we’re short.” They were all taller than me, and they talked non-stop for the rest of the show, too, so why their need to push past people there to actually listen to the performers? I’m just so floored by the consistently poor behavior of audience members in Portland in the last two years, but especially at Thompson’s Point shows. It really feels like there’s no way to actually see and hear a band there without people physically pushing, talking over the show, or rudely cutting in front of you and blocking your view. It’s also not Thompson’s Point fault in any way or the fact that these shows were sold out that’s the problem. Concert goers are responsible for their behavior and should have basic common courtesy. I’m disappointed that it’s so difficult for people to be respectful of others at concerts and am curious about people who seemingly have so much disposable income that they’d buy a $50 concert ticket to just talk through the whole show.

Dan thought Nathaniel Rateliff put on a great show despite the disappointing crowd around us, but I have almost no feedback about the music itself. I could actually see and follow so little of the show because of the frustrating crowd that I could have stayed home and watched a Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats concert on YouTube and gotten more out of it. I felt like I was standing outside of an arena listening to a show from the parking lot, which sucks.

Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats

For the record, both Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats are talented and are quite compatible big bands with amazing horn sections to boot. Dan and I enjoyed Sister Sparrow’s set from the rear at the food trucks, and we were probably about 20 rows back stage left for Nathaniel Rateliff’s set. I thought we’d chosen a spot far enough back and to the side to avoid some of the usual antics from fellow audience members, but I was sorely mistaken. I haven’t discovered the secret to having a great Thompson’s Point experience. If you have, please share!

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My view of the show. At least I could see the stage through their iPhone?! Ugh.

Since I saw so little of their set with my own eyes, I read a bit about Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats online after the show. I didn’t firmly know Nathaniel was from Mississippi and had played in a church band with his family growing up. His father was killed in a car accident on his way to church, actually, and Nathaniel dropped out of school to work as a janitor in the school where he otherwise would have been a student. Nathaniel and his best friend and bassist Joseph Pope III moved to Denver and have been making music there for 20 years. I didn’t realize how lucky their big break on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was (one of Jimmy’s friends sent him a link to their video and he loved it). Their sophomore album, Tearing at the Seams, contains songs about Nathaniel’s divorce, and I’m impressed with how personal and soul-baring songs like “Babe I Know” are.

A tender moment that sticks out from the show is that Nathaniel told us that they’d just flown in from Portland, Oregon where they laid their friend and producer Richard Swift to rest. They dedicated their last song of the night, “Tearing at the Seams,” to him, and I heard some of the his dedication and the song over the girls near us who were Snapchatting and talking over it. Again, folks–I don’t get you when you act like this. Especially in the tender moments, you’re missing everything.

I think I’ve got to stick to small venues and folk shows for a bit.

xo,

bree

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The Ghost of Paul Revere with Max Garcia Conover and GoldenOak

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I really care about the clean slate a new year provides, and so I am always a little anxious about having New Year’s Eve plans I am excited about. This night fit the bill perfectly. I had a blast. Welcome, 2018!

I specifically bought a ticket to this show because my friend Max Garcia Conover joined the bill as the night’s first opener, so I knew friends would be there to support him and we could ring in 2018 together. Max was on fire. His songs always have teeth, but the crowd was clearly feeling him and folks erupted with applause after each of his songs. Max is shy by nature, but he shared with the audience and told us the background stories of a few of his songs, which I always appreciate as a concert-goer. Max mesmerized with his guitar playing and kick drum. I’ve seen Max play at least a dozen times, and this was one of his best shows. After his set, people in the audience near me asked me to tell them more about him and asked me to pass along to him how much they’d enjoyed his set.

Max Garcia Conover

Max’s new album, Motorhome, is excellent. No Depression Magazinecalled Motorhome “one of the strongest albums of 2017.” I had coffee with one of my former advisees who also attended the NYE show. She told me that she keeps meaning to take Motorhome out of the CD player in her car so she won’t overplay it, but she keeps forgetting and loves listening to it every time. “Gone,”“Motorhome,”“Abigail for a While,” and “Self Portrait”are some of my favorites on the album, but I love the whole album and think it shows Max’s most cohesive and best writing yet.

I’d never seen Portland’s GoldenOak before, but I liked their sound. They were mellower than Max, so I might have put them on first, but they have a good thing going and I’m glad I got to see them. Check out their new video for “Brother.” They’ll be at Empire with Max Garcia Conover opening on February 22.

GoldenOak

Where do I start about the Ghost of Paul Revere? 2017 was a huge year for them. They toured basically non-stop, criss crossed the country playing in most of the states in America, and put out a killer album–Monarch–that premiered on Billboard. Griffin, Max, and Sean are the best of friends, and it shows in their tight sound and relaxed, engaging stage presence. This was clearly a hometown show for GPR, and they thanked us many times for our ongoing support of the band. In their seventh year as a band, they’ve had their most successful year to date. The momentum they’ve built is palpable and will carry them to the next level. That’s even more obvious as they take the stage tomorrow night to play Conan–their first late night national talk show performance. GPR is definitely on the way to stardom. Ray Routhier featured GPR in an article for the Portland Press Herald last week appropriately titled, “The Ghost of Paul Revere is on the road to making it big.”

The Ghost of Paul Revere

img_7610Ghost had a blast on stage and played their hearts out for us. We were a doting sold out crowd, and it was all good vibes. They invited a few friends on stage to join them throughout the night–Kevin Oates from Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, Devin Mauch from The Ballroom Thieves, and Brian Graham from Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds–come to mind. Someone proposed to his girlfriend during their set, and another friend of the band announced that they’re expecting their first baby, too. It felt like a family reunion as much as a show. I like that.

Sean, Max, and Devin from The Ballroom Thieves

We counted down and rang in 2018 together, and the first song I heard in 2018 was “Next Year,” which is a heartfelt, complex tune and my favorite on Monarch. GPR invited everyone from both opening sets on stage for one of two finales and covered Dawes’ “All Your Favorite Bands” for us. Did they close the night with Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”? They definitely played it towards the end of the night, along with a fantastic cover of the Isley Brothers’ classic feel good song, “Shout.” This night was a total blast and a great way to turn the page on 2017. All good things to all of you in 2018!

xo,

bree

I spy Kevin Oates of MYRO on cello

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I’m usually the one taking photos at concerts, so I was surprised to see that I’m front row center in this picture that Matthew Robbins of matthewrobbinsphoto.com took!

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