Tag Archives: port city music hall

Measuring a Year in Music

by Cherie

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I kicked off the year with a bang, going to see the Vaccines play a headlining show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The Paradise Rock Club is one of my favorite Boston venues, because its just small enough that there’s really no bad spot in the house. The openers for the show were a (relatively) unknown band from Australia named San Cisco. I looked up their music ahead of time and was impressed by their catchy first single, Awkward. San Cisco is group of young kids, just barely out of high school, but they put on a great live set. I was an instant fan after seeing them live. The Vaccines put on a tremendous set as well. Some might criticize Justin’s vocal performance, which was less than perfect, but he puts so much energy into his live sets its hard to not be won over by his passion and enthusiasm.

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Next I got the chance to see English folk artist Benjamin Francis Leftwich play a set for Radio BDC at Naga in Boston. The venue was beautiful, with hanging glass above the bar; but the crowd was less than respectful during the show. Leftwich is a very mellow artist, its just him and his acoustic guitar, and there was a group of obnoxious people over at the bar who were disrespectfully loud throughout his set. He made sure to call them out on it though, causing the rest of us to laugh. I got the chance to meet him after and he truly is a sweet guy.

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Not long after I saw San Cisco open for the Vaccines I was thrilled to hear that the band was coming back through Boston for their first US Headlining Tour. They played Great Scott in Alston, another one of my favorite venues. The support bands were great, and I discovered a great local artist (Steph Barrack) when she opened for the band. My fellow concert goer was more impressed by Chaos Chaos, who won me over with their live vocals but also for having a oboe in their backing band. San Cisco put on a great live set, and we even got to meet the band afterward. The band swung back through one more time in July, and we were there front and center once more. Mark my words, they really are a fantastic band and they have such a bright future ahead of them. It will be fun watching them grow over the years.

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It was a long, hot July, but the hottest day by far was the day I saw Frank Turner in Portland, Maine. There’s no reason the show should have been as hot as it was, the day was actually cool and rainy but for some reason the temperature inside the venue was off the charts. After just a couple of songs Frank was drenched in sweat and joked about it being the hottest show he’d ever done. It was an amazing experience getting to see Frank perform songs off of Tape Deck Heart which is one of my favorite albums of 2013.

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I also got the chance to see the amazing Ben Marwoos, sorry Ben Marwood, open for Frank Turner; which ended up being a more momentous experience then I realized at the time. After every show I go to I try to find the setlist and burn a copy of the setlist onto a CD. I make personalized art work and everything (though its really nothing that special to be honest). When I realized that I probably wasn’t going to find Ben’s setlist on setlist.fm (my usual source for the information), I felt like I was facing a brick wall. On a whim I reached out to Ben via e-mail, not expecting to ever hear back from him. To my surprise he responded almost instantly, revealing that he actually keeps a notebook full of setlists and promptly sent me the information I had asked for. Realizing what a great opportunity I had I immediately thanked him and asked him if he’d be willing to do a short interview for my music blog and he instantly agreed (you can read the article here and the full interview here). It was the first “big scoop” for the blog, and I will always be proud that my first interview was with Ben (seriously, he’s such a talented guy, you should check out his music if you haven’t yet).

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August brought one of the biggest concerts of the year. Mumford and Sons had announced a show in Queens, NY and with the help and company of some good friends, I had the chance to go. It was an unbelievable experience. The crowd might have sucked, but the company I was in certainly didn’t. Forest Hills Stadium was an incredible venue, being a converted tennis stadium, and despite the hiccups I hope they finish the restoration project and restore it to a concert venue in the future. I fell in love with the opening band, Bear’s Den, who put on an amazing set despite only having three members. The Vaccines came next, and the highlight from their set was when Winston Marshall, from Mumford and Sons, came out to play guitar on a couple of songs.

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Mumford and Sons themselves were, of course, amazing. Words can’t express my love for this band. They are such a great band, and their songs have helped me through some really hard times. Their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover shows are such an amazing experience; I’m glad I got to experience not just one but two of them. When news broke a few weeks later of their temporary hiatus I was sad, but happy I got to see them twice before they went on break. Rumor has it the boys will be back in the studio in February working on the new album. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take them as long to write album #3 as it did to write their second album!

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My last concert of 2013 was Noah and the Whale, and what a fitting way to close out the year. This was my second time seeing the band, but this year they were playing the House of Blues; a step up from their last show at the Paradise Rock Club. They blew me away once more. NATW are one of those bands that are made to perform live. Not only did they sound fantastic, but they also dug deep and played songs off their debut album that don’t get played much more. A highlight for me had to be hearing “Mary” played live.

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After the show we stuck around for a little bit hoping to meet the band. We picked a time to hang out until and decided that if they didn’t come out by that point we would give up. It was cold and windy and with our light jackets we were soon freezing. The time came and passed and no band. I didn’t mention the time to my friend, hoping she wouldn’t realize it and we could stick around a little bit longer. Eventually our patience paid off and the band exited the venue. They seemed surprised to see so many people waiting for them, perhaps because of the weather, but they cheerfully stuck around for pictures. They were the band that really introduced me to British indie folk music, and getting the chance to meet them was truly awesome.

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But the biggest highlight of 2013 for me had to be Lyrically Addicted. For years I’d had the idea to start some sort of music project, though the specifics were always vague in my mind as to what exactly that project would entail. In May I finally solidified the idea, creating Lyrically Addicted as a sort of music blog, and inviting two of my closest friends to take part with me. It’s been difficult at times, trying to come up with new ideas for stories and debating the relative merits of various albums that were released this year. The whole thing has been a blast so far, and if you’re reading this right now, thank you so much. Your support (even if it’s just silent support) means a lot to me and the rest of the team. I’m proud to announce that by the end of 2013 we reached 2,023 views!

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Frank Turner at Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME 7-18-13

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by Cherie, blog founder and contributing writer

Frank Turner has always been known for his live sets, and once more he delivered. Sunday night in Portland he played an intense twenty-one song setlist, featuring songs from his latest four albums. Each song was delivered with passion and conviction, along with a seemingly endless supply of energy. Frank bounced around the stage all night, even standing on the barricade on several occasions to serenade the crowd up close. The crowd responded to his performance with equal passion and enthusiasm, singing along throughout the set and not only when prompted. At one point Frank even managed to convince the crowd, or at least all the people as far as I could see, to play the air harmonica for the solo in Dan”s Song. The story goes that Frank used to invite a fan onstage to play a real harmonica solo for the song but then he lost the harmonic. Hence the air harmonica.

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The band started off the set by playing Four Simple Words. At first glance starting a set off with Four Simple Words might seem like an odd choice, something a friend pointed out to me when he saw the set list. But I would argue that it was a brilliant choice for opening song. Its a song off the new album, something the tour is meant to promote, and it threw the audience straight into the chaos and energy of a Frank Turner concert. When not strumming along on his guitar, Frank took his own advice, dancing around the stage theatrically. After that the band launched straight into the foot stomping hit “If Ever I Stray,” barely giving the audience a chance to settle down. The pace for most of the show was brutal and the temperature inside the venue was ridiculously high, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. The set finally slowed down in the middle when the Sleeping Souls left the stage for a bit. Frank first preformed “Wherefore Art Thou, Gene Simmons?” a bonus track off the new album. He then welcomed first timers to the show, telling them they were now a part of the family. Digging deep he then played “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” for older fans, after which he was once more joined by the band. One of the band members joked that they had enjoyed their little rest because they got to cool down, to which Frank replied “lucky bastards!” The temperature indeed was stifling in the venue; Frank remarked at one point that it was probably one of the hottest shows he’d ever done. For an encore Frank played the audience a new song, never before played live, before ending the night with “I Still Believe” and of course, “Photosynthesis.”

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It’s funny to think that over in England Frank is huge; just last year he played a sold out show at Wembley Arena to 12,500 fans. Last Sunday I had the honor of seeing him preform a sold out show at Port City Music Hall to just 550 fans. I can’t really complain, however. I managed to snag a spot in the second row behind some reasonably short people and was thankfully able to see for the entire show, something I can’t often say. I prefer seeing bands in smaller spaces if truth be told. There’s something much more intimate in seeing bands in small venues like that one. Frank deserves all the success he can get and I doubt he’ll be playing small shows forever, but I’ll treasure them while they last. The entire show was fantastic from start to finish. Frank has such an incredible catalog of songs I didn’t even know which songs I wanted to hear the most but the final set list was impressive. I was surprised when he played Broken Piano because while it was one of my favorites off the new album it didn’t seem like something that would be played at a show. The first time I saw Frank I was mostly familiar with England Keep My Bones, but this time I was proud to know the words to every single song and sang along at the top of my lungs. Seeing a Frank Turner concert, to me, is like a religious experience. He’s one of those artists I can relate to because he’s so honest and open in his songwriting. You don’t have to have experienced the exact same things as him to feel the same emotions. And that’s what I love about him.

Though this was mostly meant to be an article about Frank Turner I just wanted to put a brief shout out to one of the opening acts. Ben Marwood (pictured below) opened the show for Frank and did an amazing job. When I heard he was going to be playing at the show I looked up his stuff (thank god for Spotify). I immediately was captivated. He reminds me of Frank in a lot of ways, but his music is a little more simplified. I was immediately a fan, but seeing him live sealed the deal. He was charming and personable, joking between songs to the crowd like we were old friends. I didn’t manage to meet him during the show because I was saving our spot in the crowd, and I somehow missed seeing his stuff at the merch table after. Hopefully his first US tour goes well and he’ll decide to come back and tour again sometime soon. If you are a fan of Frank Turner you should check out Ben’s music. Actually, you should check out Ben’s music regardless (you can find his music for free on spotify and it’s available to buy on iTunes).

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