Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Music Seen: Out on the town

Published in the Portland Phoenix

It was an impressive year in live music in Portland and Southern Maine in general. The party began with the Kino Proby homecoming show at the Big Easy, where Russian-speaking fans rocked out with folks who just loved a great time. There was February's 48-Hour Music Festival at SPACE Gallery, with impromptu bands showing off the amount of creativity Portland's musicians keep in reserve. Anthony's Idol at Anthony's Italian Kitchen highlighted Broadway talent, and Clashes of the Titans kept mixing up live and tribute performances,

Our writers covered karaoke with big talent (Christopher Gray wrote of DJ Annie's at Bentley's Saloon in Arundel, "many of the singers were fantastic. If you were outside . . . you'd swear you were listening to the radio"), with a live band (Kill The Karaoke at the Empire), and for the holidays (Christmas caroling at a Franciscan monastery in Kennebunkport).

We saw hip-hop legends (El-P, Brother Ali), hard-rockers (Ogre, Man-Witch), indie-folk (Christopher Teret, Neko Case), and many more.

Among the high points were Wilco on the Maine State Pier (which Chad Chamberlain said showed a model for Portland's up-and-coming bands to make it without losing their edge), Sufjan Stevens at Port City Music Hall, and a way to enjoy Portland's live-music scene on those evenings when you just can't make it out of your apartment (Sonya Tomlinson said the videos made by Nick Poulin and Krister Rollins at [dog] and [pony] — viewable at dogandponymusic.net — look deeper into the music than many get a chance to).

But let it be said that if watching videos online is how you experience Portland's music scene, you're missing out.