4/1/09 Portland, ME @ Strange Maine
Ryan Cutler is a Tree / Lisa/Lisa
Letters to the Moon
Strawberry All Stars
We all met up with Jeff Poot (Witches With Dicks, Closet Fairies) at Steve’s diner on Harvard in Allston. Our waitress had Cleopatra eye make up, a fake tan, huge nails, and a red bra underneath a see through black shirt. She had attitude mixed with a thick Boston accent too. She was giving us an earful of her antics since it was the day of pranks and fools. She called her boyfriend and told him she was pregnant. She actually informed us that pregnancy would have been impossible for her due to a stab wound from a previous relationship. She talked right past that tragedy like she had just told us our fries were on the way. Her April fools call went to him an hour later to let him know that no baby was on the way. Then she called work and told them she gashed her leg open and couldn’t come in. April fools! She went on to tell us about getting drunk with her sons and their friends. If they passed out, she had a free pass to do what she wished with them, or “Fuck wid em,” as she said. Her favorite was drawing penises in sharpie on their cheeks and writing, “You got dicked by Mamma D!” on their foreheads.
Shane, a friend grown in a Berea neighbor suburb called Strongsville, goes to BU. He came through for us and treated our tour crew to lunch in the school cafeteria. We ate until discomfort. That seems to be the rule of thumb when it comes to being treated with the joys of a school cafeteria buffet. Shane is a real good kid with a sharing heart. He has a respectable work ethic in school, earning scholarships and free boarding, and has done a lot of volunteering. With swollen guts we drove up for Maine.
Portland, ME held a cold front but a warm reception at the Coyle Street house we would stay at. Most punk kids in Portland have lived there. According to one resident, “You gotta do your time” at Coyle street. Coyle Street kids are good kids.
The show was at Strange Maine: An awesome independent living-room-like store stocked with obscure records, classic books, comics, random oddities, and a dream selection of VHS tapes. It was their 6 year anniversary. It is nice to know a unique business like that can endure and give people a place to celebrate art, culture, and best of all; strangeness.
The first act was a combined set of two locals. They were a noise project. They put on a screwy, cartoony, performance art type of display. They lost me at points completely. Highlights included them micro phoning a drill screwing into a Styrofoam mannequin head and a balloon being blown up to an epic size inside one of the performers stretch pants. They contact micro phoned it’s deflating.
Up next was local youngens Ryan Cutler is a Tree and Lisa/Lisa splitting a set. Ryan performed his first ever solo set and his first solo songs. He showed promise. He played with unrestrained honesty. I think his songs will grow in depth as he continues writing. Lisa/Lisa has a voice. At times it was sweet and quiet and at other times it was loud, full and beautiful. Often it was on the verge of shattering or wavering and sometimes it did. That is a fragile vocal quality that can evoke and stir emotion. I hope she gains a strong command over her voice because her music has potential to be incredibly moving.
The American War and LTTM sets went well but the response from the crowd wasn’t something to harness energy from. We had to stir it up with melody and pelvis twisting. It caught on a bit. Some nights you just have to do what you do, regardless of how a room seems to be responding.
The electro-pop local, Strawberry All Stars, closed the show. Turns out the All Stars were just one person and a small amount of equipment. I loved the music. Perfectly appealing to indie pop senses and super danceable. It felt so good to dance like fools and kick up some arm pit stank. We got carried away with our Midwest region dance skills. Sorry East Coasters, we like to get down. We like to get low. We shake in ways you don’t find in the books. The Columbus shuffle.