Tag Archives: Studio Z

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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Studio Z: The Lone Bellow

Monday, February 23, 2015

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I was THRILLED when my friend Colin invited me to join him to see my very favorite band, The Lone Bellow, at 98.9 WCLZ’s intimate Studio Z at Port City Music Hall. It was quite the treat to get to see them up close and personal with such a small group of fans. Zach Williams even reached down from the stage to introduce himself to me and shake my hand before the show.  They played four songs for us:

“Then Came the Morning”

“Call to War” (Featuring Kanene on vocals—this is my favorite song on the new album)

“Watch Over Us” (Featuring Brian on vocals—this is my favorite song to see performed live)

“Take My Love”

98.9 WCLZ's Studio Z with The Lone Bellow

98.9 WCLZ’s Studio Z with The Lone Bellow at Port City Music Hall

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Brian Elmquist, Zach Williams, and Kanene Pipkin of The Lone Bellow

Zach Williams

Zach Williams

98.9 WCLZ host Brian Farrell asked the band well-researched questions that would be a great introduction to the band if you don’t know them (which could mean you’ve been ignoring me raving about them for two years). His questions addressed their history as a group to their incredible live performance to their album art for their latest release Then Came The Morning. You can listen to the whole Studio Z performance. I’ll add the video when it’s posted next week. The band also graciously chatted with all of us and posed for photos as well. I don’t usually like to meet people whose music I care so much about, but they were sincere and kind and grateful for our support of their music.

I’d seen The Lone Bellow live four amazing times before this, but it was such a pleasure to get to see them in such a personal, unique way. Thanks to The Lone Bellow for being so lovely, to Colin for inviting me, to 98.9 WCLZ for putting it together, and to Port City Music Hall for hosting. I am rarely starstruck, but this got to me and I smiled ridiculously for hours afterwards!

xo,

bree

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Carbon Leaf with Tall Heights

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

What a fun night! I held baby Isabelle for a while after school, and then picked up Megan for an adventurous evening celebrating our Friendiversary! We met six happy years ago at Bowdoin College’s amazing annual Thanksgiving dinner. We stopped by the Maine Tweetup at Glass Lounge in the Old Port’s new Hyatt Place hotel for a bit, and then had a scrumptious dinner at Empire before heading over to Port City Music Hall for the show.

Friendiversary!

Friendiversary!

I was surprised by how big the crowd was when we arrived, but I had a press pass and was able to snag a spot just behind the barricade adjacent to the stage with room for Megan, too. We were excited to see our Carbon Leaf friend Stacey very nearby with her husband Don. It’s always great to see them for a Carbon Leaf show and Stacey and I haven’t missed a single Maine Carbon Leaf appearance together since we met at a Carbon Leaf show at Port City in 2009.

Megan, Sarah, Me, Barry from Carbon Leaf, and Stacey at Port City in 2009

Megan, Sarah, Me, Barry from Carbon Leaf, and Stacey at Port City in 2009

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I’d seen Tall Heights back in May of 2013 with Tricky Britches and The Ghost of Paul Revere at One Longfellow Square in Portland and was looking forward to seeing them again. Boston-based folk duo Tim Harrington on guitar and Paul Wright on cello impressed again with their flawless harmonies and engaging stage presence. I particularly liked “Eastern Standard Time” and “I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know.” Tim told us that Paul had just jumped into the Atlantic Ocean in Beverly, Massachusetts to celebrate his recent birthday, and Paul told us it was similarly cold in Maine while pointing out the winter hat Tim was wearing on stage. Their cover of “Yesterday” was really quite pretty, as well. Check out this story about Tall Heights’ background (including their extensive busking experience) and this live recording of “Running of the Bulls” filmed by Boston’s Sofar Sounds.

Tall Heights: Tim Harrington on guitar and Paul Wright on cello

Tall Heights: Tim Harrington on guitar and Paul Wright on cello

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Virginia’s Carbon Leaf took the stage as an enthusiastic crowd cheered them on. Lead singer Barry Privett welcome us and they launched right into songs played frequently over the years on 98.9 WCLZ including “Life Less Ordinary” and “What About Everything?” There were lots of folks in the crowd singing along to all of the songs all night long. “Desperation Song” was a big hit with Barry on penny whistle. Carter Gravatt debuted a new guitar that sounded great and Barry joked that if Carter sold half his gear the band could retire tomorrow.

Carbon Leaf's Barry Privett

Carbon Leaf’s Barry Privett

Terry Clark

Terry Clark

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Jon Markel

Jon Markel

Jason Neal

Jason Neal

Carter Gravatt

Carter Gravatt

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Barry and Carter were joined by the rest of their bandmates—Terry Clark (guitar), Jon Markel (bass), and Jason Neal (drums)—around a single microphone to sing a handful of songs, including a couple a cappella. Their harmonies are incredible—clearly the product of nearly twenty years playing together. Barry told us about their newest independently released album, Constellation Prize, and the re-release of their 2004 album Indian Summer, which had been the property of their former record label, but now belongs to them in the form of Indian Summer Revisited, which inspired their current 50 city tour.

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The guy running stage security was particularly nice and even offered to create a path for me to get to the center of the room so I could take photos from another angle. I turned down his very kind offer, but took my camera and ventured over to the center of the room. I couldn’t believe how great everyone in the crowd was! It’s been a while since the crowd at a show was so lovely. People literally moved out of my way with smiles on their faces like I was Moses parting the sea. Even the guy standing front and center at the stage gladly moved aside to let me in to take a few shots. Maybe the crowd was so wonderfully kind and easy going because the guys in Carbon Leaf are down to earth and friendly themselves? Just a hypothesis.

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Barry told us that we could take home a recording of that night’s show on USB (which is an awesome idea that I wish more bands would borrow). He told us about the music festival they curate at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia called Carbon Leaf’s Ragtime Carnival in May (in case anyone’s up for a road trip). The guys gave a shout out to WCLZ for always supporting them and for sponsoring the show and a Studio Z earlier in the day. They wrapped up the evening’s encore with one of my very favorites, “Let Your Troubles Roll By,” which was the last song I heard live in 2013 at my last Carbon Leaf show. Energized by the show, Megan and I turned to leave, and I ran into my cousin Jake on the way out, which was a big bonus! Megan was so enthused by the show that she spent part of the ride home downloading more Carbon Leaf music. She was especially taken with “The War Was in Color” during the show and downloaded a couple of versions as we talked about how much fun we had. We’re already excited for our next Carbon Leaf show! Thanks, guys! (Check out more pictures below!)

xo,

bree

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Ingrid Michaelson in Studio Z

Friday, August 1, 2014

The VIA Agency, Portland, Maine

I first saw Ingrid Michaelson four years ago at Port City Music Hall in Portland play for a sold out crowd on a Wednesday night in the thick of winter. I remember the show fondly—I came straight from a graduate school class on the New Testament that ended down the street at Bangor Theological Seminary right at 9PM. I booked it over to the venue, but there was already a huge crowd gathered to see Ingrid’s now-husband, talented singer-songwriter Greg Laswell open the show. I very sadly missed almost all of his opening set, but Ingrid was so quirky and chatty and charming that I quickly put that aside and had a truly fabulous night. I think we were all floored when she asked the crowd if anyone knew the song “The Chain” from her then new(ish) album, Everybody, and wanted to SING IT ON STAGE with her and longtime guitarist Allie Moss. An enthusiastic woman in the front popped right up on stage and sang along and sounded great. It was such a lovely night.

I was thrilled to be invited to join my favorite radio station 98.9 WCLZ for an intimate noontime Studio Z performance with Ingrid. My friend Marian and I sat on a couch just a couple of feet from Allie on stage, which is exactly how I like to see a live show! Maine’s own Billy Libby is on tour with Ingrid and it was great to see he’s doing well. I love getting to hear from artists about their lives and music when they’re onstage, so Studio Z is the perfect setting because there’s a good mix of interview, music, and storytelling. Ingrid has a beautiful voice and Marian and I were pumped to get to be there. Thanks for hosting, Ethan! You can hear the whole performance here.

Thanks, 98.9 WCLZ!

Thanks, 98.9 WCLZ!

A little pre-Studio Z selfie with Marian!

A little pre-Studio Z selfie with Marian!

They asked us not to take photos during the show, but this is what it looked like at VIA after Studio Z. Awesome setting!

They asked us not to take photos during the show, but this is what it looked like at VIA after Studio Z. Awesome setting!

I didn’t make it to Ingrid’s sold out show later that night at State Theatre (but I did make it to Fill the Steins’ Cheap Beer Challenge to be a guest judge earlier in the evening), but I know (and heard) it was great and there was even an on stage proposal. If you get the chance to see Ingrid live, definitely do! (Taylor Swift agrees!) Thanks again, WCLZ! Oh! And check out this adorable Soul Pancake video featuring Ingrid.

xo,

bree

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Studio ZZ (An Intimate Pre-Show Performance from ZZ Ward)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

I had the pleasure of chatting with ZZ Ward a couple of weeks ago on the phone while she was in a laundromat. Life on the road isn’t always so glamorous. She was very kind and I was even more excited after our conversation to see her live. Ethan Minton, 98.9 WCLZ’s program director, saw my interview with ZZ online and invited me to come to her intimate performance before the night show with just a few lucky fans. 98.9 WCLZ is my favorite local radio station that plays the music I love the most, so I was happy to accept his kind invitation.

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Waiting outside Port City Music Hall for Studio ZZ!

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My favorite local radio station!

My favorite local radio station!

You can listen to ZZ’s whole Studio Z (Studio ZZ in this case!) performance here.

The very talented ZZ Ward

The very talented ZZ Ward

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Ethan Minton asking ZZ some good questions

Ethan Minton asking ZZ some good questions

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She played “Put the Gun Down” and “365 Days” for us. Her album, Til the Casket Drops, is great from start to finish and is clearly about a failed relationship. She told us that “365 Days” is about waiting for “way too long” for someone to change their ways. Ethan asked good questions and we learned about ZZ’s love for the blues that inspired her signature hats (including some she’s designing) and her brother’s hip hop musical influence. Ethan surprised her with her own ZZ Ward WCLZ water bottles (which are SO cool!), and she was really excited to see her name on them.

Ethan gave ZZ a Fitz and The Tantrums 98.9 WCLZ custom water bottle. . .

Ethan gave ZZ a Fitz and The Tantrums 98.9 WCLZ custom water bottle. . .

And then Ethan surprised ZZ with water bottles with her name on them!

. . .and then Ethan surprised ZZ with water bottles with her name on them!

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I met some great folks at Studio ZZ and got to say hi to ZZ in person and have this photo snapped, too:

Me and ZZ

Me and ZZ

Thanks, Ethan! Thanks, 98.9 WCLZ! Check out more pictures from Studio ZZ below!

xo,

bree

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