Rustic Overtones began their set on the stage at the Port City Music Hall last night at around 11:30 PM.
Every New Year's Eve for maybe 15 years, I have celebrated the incoming year with my wife and my daughter. Traditionally, it was meal out and a movie. No likker, no high jinks, no waking up on New Year's Day looking for a Bloody Mary instead of OJ. Not this year. Lis wanted to go see Rustic Overtones instead.
Great. A rock show on New Year's Eve. Show was slated to run to 2:00 AM. All day I considered my inclusion with this trip to Portland a necessary parental duty to make my daughter happy. I was positive I would not enjoy it. Any fascination with being crammed into a hall filled with young folks partying to music played way too loud had lost it's charm I guess about 20 - 30 years ago. My inner whiner was in high gear all day.
So we get to the Portland area around 5, stopping off at Bull Moose Music near the Mall. All of us had gift cards to use up. Bobbi and Lis both walked out with music or books in hand. My card stayed in my pocket. I did not want to fritter it away just because we were in the midst of umpteen gajillion cd's retailing at very low prices. I'd rather cruise the smaller local Bull Moose in south Sanford. I knew that store like well, the inside of my pocket.
Had a meal at a place called Macaroni Grill. Italian food, but oddly, no grilled macaroni on the menu. Good meal going down, but later I would regret it some after I threw some beers on top of it. We parked in downtown Portland around 7:30 PM and had to walk around for awhile before the Music Hall doors opened at 8:00PM.
First of all I should mention that I have been out of the hip loop for quite awhile. No better evidence existed than my fascination with some of the outfits the women wore. Obviously many wore their "Look at me, I'm in a partying mood" outfits. Sequined clingy things or bare shouldered tight I guess they were dresses. On many dainty lady feet, boots that climbed high like the tops were looking for something. And then there was the grunge crowd or should I say the folks who wore what they left work wearing. Quite a mish mash of garb standing in line to get in. It seems everyone had two things on their mind, see a concert and pound lots of alcohol into their bodies. I did not know likker would be served. Uh Oh.
Lis had scored the three of us "VIP tickets". What that meant was 50 of us had chairs and a waitress to fetch our likker. The rest of the 500 or so people stood, leaned, danced, and staggered around for 6 hours. About the 3rd PBR pounder, I was grateful to have a chair under my butt.
A group named Gypsy Tailwind or was it Tailspin opened for Rustic. They were good, but more country than I had prepped myself for. But they did their duty. They warmed the crowd up and by the time Rustic hit the stage around 11:30, the crowd was rockin.
I have always liked Rustic Overtones. I did not know how much until last night. Even with some rough moments when they got a tad out of sync, the energy and complexity of their music came through loud and clear. Dave Gutter is a dynamic front man. Decent voice, just enough guitar, and he knows how to work a crowd.
Speaking of their music, I have no idea what category they would fall into. Rock, Funk, Reggae, some jazz, a smidgin of Metal and just when you think they haven't covered all the bases, some Techno tossed in just to give them a hat trick. Let's just say my inner whiner was quickly subbed out with my inner grinner. I had a great time. Good music, a young crowd that partied but kept it sane, and I was out with my two favorite ladies. Leave one year to music and greet the next one with more. What more could a man hope for on New Year's Eve?