[dog] and [pony] DVD Release Party @ SPACE Gallery, Portland, ME, 12.12

On Saturday night, the [dog] and [pony] DVD Release Party was held at SPACE Gallery. [dog] and [pony] is a local filmmaker team that documents performances of local Portland bands and musicians and edits footage of them to capture the essence of their performances. [dog] and [pony] started in March of this year with an intimate performance by Dead End Armory, followed by one of Highway Jackson. If you know both of those bands, you’ll understand that [dog] and [pony] is aiming to find the great diversity of Portland music, with Dead End Armory’s alt-country/rock and Highway Jackson’s southern rock style.

This release party celebrated [dog] and [pony]’s first DVD volume of 15 videos. Of the musicians and bands on the DVD, nine of them were there to perform—The Lobolly Boy, Samuel James, Dana Gross, Wes Hartley (of Dead End Armory), Chriss Sutherland, Jesse Pilgrim, Kris Rodgers (of Highway Jackson) and Jacob Augustine—along with Portland’s hottest new rock band, Marie Stella.

One of the better moments of the show was when Samuel James performed his re-imagined Blues version of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.” As soon as people realized what song he was performing, a collective grin stretched across the audience. I find it alarming that there can be such a talented artist who still has to hold a regular job at Videoport to make a living. This is true for many of the musicians who performed tonight, but hopefully [dog] and [pony]’s exposure will help them reach the stardom and praise that they deserve.

Another exciting moment was Jesse Pilgrim’s entire set. I had heard his voice had the likeness of Johnny Cash’s smoky bass, but I didn’t realize that he mixed his old country voice with punk-rock instrumentation. Jesse Pilgrim may have been the most exciting new voice I’ve heard in recent times.

Jacob Augustine was undoubtedly the crowd favorite of the night. His music was folk-based, infused with the incredible soul of his voice, all with a great backup band of piano, guitar, horns, and violin. Augustine was later joined by Aly Spaltro of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper for the final few songs of his set. Though the juxtaposition of the two figures was outlandish, the intensity and soulfulness of their voices were evenly matched. As a past enthusiast of Lady Lamb shows, it was exciting to see her perform with a full band behind her (she usually plays solo); I can only imagine how great her songs would sound with more instrumentation. You can pick up a copy of the [dog] and [pony] at all Bull Moose stores. A live CD recorded from the show will be released within the month. Follow the links below for video clips of [dog] and [pony]’s work:

Dead End Armory: http://vimeo.com/3553250

Samuel James/Chriss Sutherland: http://vimeo.com/4967713

Jacob Augustine video http://vimeo.com/5998694

–Dylan Martin