Parsonsfield ~ 2014 December 11 ~ Oberon ~ Cambridge, MA
Personnel: Chris Freeman (vocals, banjo, guitar, accordion, pump organ, saw), Antonio Alcorn (vocals, mandolin, banjo), Max Shakun (vocals, pump organ, guitar, accordion), Harrison Goodale (vocals, stand-up resonator bass, electric bass, percussion), Erik Hischmann (vocals, drums, bass)
Opening act: And The Kids: Hannah Mohan (lead vocals, electric ukulele and guitar), Rebecca Lasaponaro (vocals, drums, bells) and Megan Miller (vocals, synth, glockenspiel, woodblock)
Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me - Stroll Down the Highway - Ghosts That Live Next Door - Don't Let Your Burden Touch the Ground - Anita, Your Lovin' - Hang Me - Shady Grove - Right Now - Lay Some Flowers On My Grave - Empty Rocking Chair - unknown [the band's written set list says 'Moon'] - Footsteps in My Ear - Stronger - Hot Air (lead vocal by Erik) - Punching the Air - Weeds or Wildflowers - Sweet Virginia Lee ... encore ... (with And The Kids) Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Scroll down past the videos for review.
"Anita, Your Lovin'"
Harmonies, energy, and exotic instruments are the rule when one goes to see Parsonsfield (formerly Poor Old Shine), a band Concert Going Partner and I discovered at this year's New Bedford Folk Festival. We have now seen them three times and are getting to know their catalog, which consists of madcap reimaginings of old traditional folk songs along with a barrel full of melodic and imaginative originals. These five musicians are making a name for themselves as the on-stage musical accompaniment for the soon-to-be-on-Broadway The Heart of Robin Hood. They talked a bit about this musical and how it has taken them to places they had never been, both geographically and musically, and said that playing a concert like this was great fun because they get to play their full songs (instead of the snippets the stage play requires), and they also get to wear their own clothes.
Wearing their own clothes seems like it would be really important for these guys, especially the long-bearded but shy Antonio, who always chooses a stage uniform of ripped jeans, white t-shirt, and sailor hat. The other lead vocalists, Chris and Max, looked schoolboyish with horizontally striped shirts, which was appropriate since this venue, Oberon (second stage of the American Repertory Theater) is located right in Harvard Square. The Robin Hood play had a run at this venue a year ago. This venue usually presents theatrical productions. But for tonight's concert the seats had been removed, except for tables around the periphery of the space. The venue is located just off Mass. Ave. a short distance out of Harvard Square. We thought the venue was very nice and will go back if there is another show there we want to see.
As soon as the opening band finished their set, the audience crowded up to the stage. The audience consisted of a much younger crowd than most of the folk concerts we've been going to, and the singing along and general response to the band were very enthusiastic, helped along of course by the energy always generated by a standing venue. What fun this show was! Concert Going Partner and I wound up standing in front of two young women who sang along vigorously to many of the songs, but they had very good voices and knew the lyrics, and their singing wasn't annoying at all.
There was an opening act, a three-woman band called And The Kids who played a half hour of melodic indie pop. They also played unusual instruments including a glockenspiel. The three of them were summoned by Parsonsfield to join in on the encore, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
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