Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tower of Song Fundraiser @ Slainte 4.26

Our first fundraiser show for the Tower of Song Festival last Sunday was a success!

We had a great crowd, especially considering Portland often turns into a ghost town on Sunday night. The show opened with Bird in the Rafters and their primal energy. All three of the members took turns at vocals over a bed of controlled mania. They also plugged one of their guitars into a book that had been converted into an amplifier- an invention created by Galen Richmond, who will be appearing as a vendor at the T.o.S. Festival on May 23rd.

Meghan Yates was the next to take the stage, and a hush fell over the crowd as she opened her performance with a mesmerizing song done a capella. Meghan is old friends with Moses Atwoods, Portland's prodigal son of Appalachian Folk who now lives in Asheville, and she sings on his highly recommended debut album. She also is constantly recording new stuff of her own, and I encourage you try to pick up some of her spell-binding work.

Dominic Lavoie was joined by a keyboardist (from the Lucid) and drummer (from the Manes) for another showcase of an incredible voice in an intimate space. He treated the crowd to a wonderful variety of song, including "She's Got A Soul"- a song originally written for the Empire's Valentine's Day Show, a "stoner version" of "Cease to Exist" from the Lucid's most recent album, and an awesome cover of David Bowie's "Oh! You Pretty Things".

The show closed out with Johnny Fountain & The Manes, who always bring the entertainment. Johnny was clearly enjoying himself as he strutted and strummed his way through songs like "88 Olds" and "Thought Machine". The Manes were also more than up to the challenge of some of the new songs added to the set. It was a wonderful night, full of friends, good vibes, and great music. And, hey, we even made a few extra bucks to help with the Festival.

Our second fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, May 16th at the Sylvia Kania Gallery. Line-up TBA.

All Photos courtesy of Hilly Town:

Bird in the Rafters

Meghan Yates

Dominic Lavoie

Johnny Fountain

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tower of Song Fundraiser Tonight @ Slainte

Come down to Slainte tonight for the first Tower of Song fundraiser!

Johnny Fountain & The Manes
Dominic Lavoie
Meghan Yates
Bird in the Rafters

$5 Suggested Donation. Music starts at 8 pm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Johnny Fountain Live on WMPG

Johnny Fountain will be appearing live on WMPG's "Us Folk" this morning at 10 am! Tune in here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tower of Song Fundraiser & News from Eternal Otter Records

The first Tower of Song fundraiser in support of the May 23rd, Arts & Music Festival is taking place this coming Sunday at Slainte. The show will feature Eternal Otter Records' Johnny Fountain & The Manes, in addition to Dominic Lavoie, Bird in the Rafters, and Meghan Yates. The show starts at 8 pm and there is a $5 suggested donation. More information about the Tower of Song Festival can be found here.

The other bands on the Eternal Otter Records roster have also been keeping busy. Last Saturday, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper played an in-store show at Newbury Comics in South Portland for Record Store Day, an event celebrating independent record stores across the couuntry. Yesterday (420), Anna's Ghost appeared live at Slainte. The mixing for their debut LP has also been finished, and should be released by late Spring/early Summer.

The Otters have also released some old recordings from 2008. I'll be previewing some of those tracks in an upcoming post.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tower of Song Festival Line-Up Announced!!!

The line-up for The Tower of Song Festival taking place on Saturday, May 23rd is official (and spectacular). Click here for pictures and information on each of the performers.

NOON - 12:30: Jesse Pilgrim
12:35 - 1:05: Chriss Sutherland
1:10 - 1:40: Anna's Ghost
2:30 - 3:00: Samuel James
3:05 - 3:35: Over A Cardboard Sea
3:40 - 4:10: Dilly Dilly & Sontiago
5:00 - 5:55: Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
6:00 - 6:55: Johnny Fountain & The Manes
7:00 - 8:00: Spencer & The School Spirit Mafia

The Portland Phoenix has also posted their nominations for their Best Music Poll. Several performers taking part in the Tower of Song Festival have been nominated, including Chriss Sutherland (Best Folk Act), Samuel James (Best Blues Act), Dilly Dilly (Best Female Vocalist, Best Live Act with Sontiago), Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (Best Female Vocalist, Best Indie Act, Best New Act), Spencer & The School Spirit Mafia (Best Male Vocalist, Best New Act). Also vote for these past Tower of Song performers: Dead End Armory (Best Album, Best Rock Act), Big Blood (Best Category-Defying Act), Dominic & The Lucid (Best Local Act, Best Male Vocalist, Best Pop-Rock Act), Phantom Buffalo (Best Local Act, Best Pop-Rock Act).

Go Here to Vote For Your Favorites.

More information on the Tower of Song Festival can be found here (including information on how to apply to be a vendor for the Arts Fair in Congress Square).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Port City Music Hall 4.15 - Portland Phoenix Best of '09

The Port City Music Hall hosted a sold out show on Wednesday, honoring the winners of the Portland Phoenix Best of '09 Readers' Poll. The night also featured some great live music, with Eternal Otter Records' own Lady Lamb the Beekeeper kicking off the night. It was great to watch them rock out in front of a huge audience, and I especially loved their electrified version of "Antique Shop". They ended the set with their new epic "You're Turning Violet, Violet Clementine" - you can watch some of that footage below (dig the smoke machine):

As for the awards portion of the night, Tower of Song was nominated for "Best Public Event", and we were announced as the category winner. However, this turned to out to be a mix up- we had, in fact, won an Editors' Choice Award for "Best Tribute to Leonard Cohen". Although we were a little disappointed at first, we're ultimately thankful for the very nice write-up, which you can read here.

The event ended with Spencer & The School Spirit Mafia, a color-coordinate ten person band, taking the stage with a cover of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". They then sang, trumpeted, and jammed through a number of awesome songs that will apparently be released on an upcoming debut album. It was a great performance! And one more thing... they'll be headlining The Tower of Song Festival on May 23rd! The full line-up will be announced very soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tower of Song Festival Approved for Saturday, May 23rd!

Last Monday, Portland's City Council voted unanimously to approve the Tower of Song Festival! The event will take place on Saturday, May 23rd, of Memorial Day Weekend. The festival is in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Tower of Song Project, and will feature live music from noon to 8 pm. Nine bands are scheduled to perform, and we will be releasing the full line-up by the end of the week- it's going to be an amazing day of music.

The Tower of Song Festival will also play host to an Arts Fair in Congress Square, directly across from the Tower. As live music hovers and glides over the city, local artists and vendors will be selling their art, jewelery, clothing, records, and magical inventions. The event is completely free, so mosey on down to Congress Square on the 23rd for great music and awesome art.

We are currently accepting vendor applications for the Arts Fair. If you would like to participate, the forms can be downloaded at this general information page. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 1st.

Also, the Tower of Song Festival is a completely independent enterprise, receiving no business sponsorship, and started out of a love for music and Portland. However, putting on this festival isn't cheap, so if you would like to help contribute to this event, please consider donating here. If you don't have the cash to donate, but still want to help out, please email about our volunteer opportunities.

Long Live Tower of Song!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Live on the Red Telephone #9: Adriana Stimola

I first time I met Adriana Stimola was in Boston, through our mutual friend Ms. Phoebe Flower Gelfand. Adriana is a women of limitless charm, and I have fond memories of her playing the guitar on the roof of the apartment she shared with Phoebe. It had been a few years since I'd last seen her, so Alicia and I were thrilled when Adriana accepted our invitation to come up to Portland for a "whirlwind tour" of The Tower of Song and The Red Telephone.

We had a magnificent time gallivanting around Portland & Portsmouth with Adriana and her boyfriend, Ryan, and her performance on the Red Telephone was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful weekend. You can check out a sample song from the show here. Also, next time you are in Cambridge, be on the look out for Adriana- her music and personality is a pleasure to know.

More pictures from The Red Telephone here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tower of Song 4.3.09

Last Friday Tower of Song played host to its largest line-up of musicians yet. First, Johnny Fountain and Adriana Stimola (visiting from Cambridge, Mass) traded songs back and forth as the rain cascaded down the window panes. The few souls who chose to brave the elements were treated to the beautiful reverberations of this music as it rolled down the street to Monument Square.

Although the downpour kept many people off the streets, those who made it inside the comfort of the Tower were treated to an amazing performance by Big Blood that included the addition of a Bow Chime and Brendan of Visitations. Check out this video of their new song "Well Water" - an appropriate choice for a rainy day.

Christian Cuff also stopped by to treat us to a few songs before Lady Lamb the Beekeeper took the stage to close out the show. Continuing their streak of surprises, Lady Lamb's setlist included a mix of old favorites, unreleased tunes, and brand new songs. I'm really, really looking forward to their upcoming show at the Port City Music Hall.

Check out more pictures from Tower of Song here.

Johnny Fountain & Panda Bandits reviewed in The Noise

The Noise, a music journal based in Boston that occasionally branches out into other parts of New England, recently published a nice review of Johnny Fountain and the Panda Bandits regarding their performances at the Johnny Cash Night at SPACE. You can read the full review here (it's about halfway down the page) or just cut to the good stuff by reading the excerpt below:

"The first act of the evening is Johnny Fountain, who stands center stage with his acoustic-electric guitar and is flanked by a drummer and a stand-up bassist. They perform “A Boy Named Sue,” and I’m impressed. Not only does Fountain move his whole body as he gets into the rhythm of the song, but his voice is crisp and deep. The entire audience is engaged and singing along. Johnny keeps with the momentum of the tune pretty closely, but chooses to disrupt the exactness as he belts out the last line—instead of saying that he’ll name his son anything but Sue, he says “I’ll name him Sue, I don’t care.” This tears a rip in my heart and I long to hear the original lyrics. However, Fountain does do an outstanding job throughout the rest of the song so I am not too upset with him.

The second band worth reviewing here tonight is the Panda Bandits, who ironically are the second band to hit the stage. This nine-piece band is insanely energetic. They’ve got two hand drums on stage left, a tambourine and a bass on stage right, an acoustic electric guitar in the back of the stage, and then the lead singer at center stage. Their cover of “Drums” is a cultural experience in itself. They fill the room with the pounding of drums, the stomping of feet, and backup vocals from the whole band. The lead singer gets so into the lyrics that his face mirrors desperation and his body is like a fish gasping for water. I mean this in a great way—Cash’s lyrics are heart achingly troubled. The singer tells us they were an “imaginary” band until tonight. I vote for them to remain a “real” band."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adriana Stimola Live on the Red Telephone Today

Tune in to the Red Telephone on 106.1 fm Portsmouth Community Radio this morning at 11 am to hear Adriana Stimola play live in our studios! Adriana is a singer-songwriter from Cambridge, Mass with a beautiful voice, a wonderful guitar, and magical words.

Before Adriana plays, Alicia and I will be spinning songs about Adventure on the High Seas from 10 am to 11 am.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tower of Song Tonight!

It's my favorite time of month- Portland's First Friday Art Walk & The Tower of Song! Even though the rain is miserable right now, I think we having an amazing show in store for this evening.

First of all, we'll have Big Blood! Caleb and Collen, the heart & soul of BB, have already welcomed us into Spring with their great show at the Meg Perry Center. Not only did that performance include a number of new transcendental songs, but also a cover of Missy Elliot's "Pussy Don't Fail Me Now" (sung by Caleb, of course). I've also been informed that they will bring a new version of Already Gone, the self-released CD-R they debuted at MPC, to Tower of Song (and it might even be a double album). So, it's a lot to look forward to- I'm pretty sure that Colleen's voice alone will be able to beat back these rain clouds.

I'm also jazzed to see what Lady Lamb the Beekeeper will do at Tower of Song considering how full of surprises their show at Slainte was on Tuesday. Not only did they debut an amazing new song, but they also played "Antique Shop" (from Samples for Handsome Animals) live for the first time, and performed "Until I am Bones" on autoharp. I'm still hoping that Aly will pull out her new singing saw at Tower of Song, but we'll have to wait and see.

Johnny Fountain has also been keeping busy, and on Wednesday he treated the patrons of Dogfish Grille to some new songs he's been working on. And frankly, I'm just excited to see my friend (and one of this month's featured musician) Adriana Stimola, who I haven't hung out with in over two years.

So, like I said, it's going to be a great night. I hope you'll wander down to Congress Square and listen to our songs of love. Music begins at 5 pm and ends at 8.