Parsonsfield ~ 2017 June 3 ~ Hadley Asparagus Festival ~ Hadley, MA
Band Personnel: Chris Freeman (vocals, banjo, guitar, pump organ, harmonica), Antonio Alcorn (vocals, mandolin, banjo), Max Shakun (vocals, pump organ, guitar, accordion), Harrison Whale Goodale (vocals, stand-up bass, electric bass, xylophone), Erik Hischmann (vocals, drums, percussion), Dave Norman (pump organ on one or two songs) ... this band plays so many instruments, forgive me if I missed any
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Blooming Through the Black
The five-member bundle of harmony and musical energy known as Parsonsfield graced the stage at a very folk-ish venue, the Hadley Asparagus Festival. There had been three other bands earlier in the day, but Concert Going Partner and I did not get there in time to hear any of them.
Multi-instrumentalists all, these five young men play a mix of traditional folk songs, usually turbocharged and played at three times the original tempo, along with a batch of melodic and thoughtful originals ranging from folk-rock, to alt-bluegrass, to straight-ahead rock. They play banjo, acoustic guitar, and mandolin, but they also play electric guitar, a full rock drum kit, and electric bass. And they play a hundred year old pump organ, and they sometimes play the saw (although not at this afternoon's show). They are the master of tempo changes. And they all sing. Chris Freeman and the angelically-voiced Max Shakun are the lead singers, showing off a vocal blend that's every bit as good as Simon & Garfunkel's, and then when you add the cherub-cheeked Antonio Alcorn into the mix, you've got pop vocal heaven on stage. All five play with a joyful demeanor that makes it really obvious that they are having fun doing this. They are not just talented musicians, but their songwriting has really blossomed with the release of their latest album, Blooming Through the Black. Just take a look at the lyrics to "Barbed Wire" with its commentary on the harm brought by greed and environmental destruction.
The band played for about an hour and fifteen minutes, performing a good number of songs from Blooming Through the Black, and finished with an encore of one of their older songs, the appropriate "Tear Down the Stage." They packed quite a few songs into a relatively short set; this is not a band that features a lot of stage banter.
It was a venue that felt familiar to anyone who favors the folk festival circuit. Admission was free (a small donation at the door was suggested but not required), and there were many local vendors. Kids' games and asparagus-themed cuisine were everywhere. I tried the asparagus pizza, and I was interested in trying asparagus ice cream, but couldn't find any. A tent was set up for the band with a plentiful lawn area for the large and appreciative crowd. Sound was surprisingly good, for an outdoor venue.
Here is a page with a handy list of links to all pages on this website with content relating to Parsonsfield (formerly known as Poor Old Shine).
Click for 2017 Concert Page with links to all 2017 concerts ... Click for Main Concert Page with links to all years