State Theatre Portland
The Ballroom Thieves

98.9 WCLZ presents

The Ballroom Thieves

These Wild Plains, The Harmaleighs

Sat, December 9, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Port City Music Hall

Portland, ME

$15 Advance / $18 Day of Show / $25 Preferred Seating

This event is 18 and over

Buy tickets in person at the Port City Music Hall box office (504 Congress Street) Wednesday-Friday 10AM-5PM, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online right here. PCMH box office will open one hour before doors night of show.

The Ballroom Thieves
The Ballroom Thieves
Life on the road is easily glamorized: the joy shows, the wonder of new places, the stories. Yet the lifestyle is also a trying one: the suffocating isolation, the misery of being separated from loved ones, the unspoken tensions. If unprepared, this life can become your downfall. For Boston’s The Ballroom Thieves, it became their sophomore album, Deadeye.

The harmony-rich folk on the Thieves' debut, A Wolf in the D oorway, led to guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch spending the last two years in a sustained state of touring, taking stages across the country, including venerable ones like at the Newport Folk Festival. Though they were prepared for the sudden lack of a sedentary existence -- even packing their apartments into storage units -- it wasn't long before nearly nonstop touring began to take its toll.
As the stability of home faded along the relentless road, fresh anxieties came into focus: depression, financial burdens, illness, crumbling relationships. Instead of addressing these troubles, the Thieves doubled down on the band, and the edges began to fray. "I think if you give everything to something for long enough, you have nothing left for you," Peters says, "and then you break down." Resentment and stress built up; the only thing that would provide temporary reprieve was taking the stage to perform the music they so dearly love.

That need to play through the pain led to the band crafting new songs, ones written in the midst of all their bitter feelings. What couldn't be spoken between the bandmates was put down into fresh material that transmuted the drama of the past few months into a weightier, expanded sound. All that pent up negative energy was unleashed as the fiercest music the band has ever recorded.

It's evident in the beaten dirge of "For Mercy" and the thick grunge of "Pocket of Gold", tracks bristling with both regret and resolve. Peters' voice sears with confident fire on the venomous "Blood Run Red", as does Earley's on the bluesy romance of "Anybody Else". "Noble Rot" kicks like a tethered mule, as if the instruments are expressing every heated thought that had ever crossed the musicians' minds.

These are the songs The Ballroom Thieves needed to write. Although they're not proud of how they've handled these issues, they're immensely proud of the music that has come as a result. Rough times have helped them explore the darker corners of their sound -- which is why they've chosen to forgo the standard label rel ease cycle to put out D eadeye on October 21st by themselves. Sharing it now is exposure therapy, letting their fans pay witness to these hardships and the resulting creative growth while simultaneously helping the band move on. The struggle is still very real, but these songs are a reminder that for this band, the only course is forward.

Deadeye captures the band at a time when they were at their absolute lowest, but it may also prove to be the album that saves The Ballroom Thieves.
These Wild Plains
These Wild Plains
It was only a year after the band played their first live show to a sold out Great Scott in Allston, MA, that Esquire Magazine featured them in their “15 Bands to Watch in 2014” feature. They’ve been busy since on the live front as go-to support in Boston for national touring bands like Deer Tick, Futurebirds and The Sadies. The boys capped off 2015 with a Boston Music Award nomination, opening for Evan Dando at his induction into the BMA Hall of Fame. They’ve earned some fantastic looks from festivals and showcases around the

country: Mile of Music ’14 (Appleton, WI), SXSW ’15 (Austin, TX), and most recently Stagecoach Country Music Festival ’16 (Indio, CA.). In 2016, TWP have their sights set on the road in support of their forthcoming full-length “Distant Ways” due out July 22 but not before a string of big hometown Summer showcases at Harpoonfest, the Mass Fallen Heroes Patriotfest at the Blue Hills Bank Pavillion and at Boston Calling. “Old Reasons,” the debut single off of “Distant Ways” is now available for streaming or download via Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.
The Harmaleighs
The Harmaleighs
The Harmaleighs honestly craft poetic, passionate, and powerful songs cut from a pastiche of indie, folk, pop and Americana. In January 2015, The Harmaleighs—Haley Grant [lead vocals, guitar] and Kaylee Jasperson [bass, harmonies]—embarked on something of a modern odyssey in support of their independent full-length debut, Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush. The band-mates and partners got rid of their Nashville apartment, put everything they owned in a storage unit, bought a van, equipped it with a bed, and hit the road with their 8-month-old pug Gus sleeping on the dash for the next nine months. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of this trek would ultimately inspire their upcoming EP, Hiraeth, released on May 5.

“Hiraeth is a Welsh word that we stumbled upon while we were on tour,” says Kaylee. “It basically means, ‘Longing for a home.’ It’s a feeling of rootlessness and homesickness that we started to collectively feel around month six. By the end, we had burned out.”

“Even when we visited Nashville, we would be staying in a Walmart parking lot,” sighs Haley. “That’s where the whole concept came from. It’s the basis for this body of work.”

The lead track from the EP is the ethereal “Birds Of A Feather”, which is out now via all digital outlets. “I wrote the song about a friend who was going through a tough time with a relationship ending,” says Haley. “She was explaining to me what exactly was happening and said ‘I’m just convenient for her.’ That specific sentence stuck in my head for a couple weeks and sparked the idea for the entire song.”

The Harmaleighs’ debut LP Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush received accolades from American Songwriter, Songwriter UK and more and Spotify featured “I Keep Ticking On” on its coveted Folk Pop playlist, amassing millions of streams and counting. The duo spent the bulk of 2016 “working regular jobs and saving up money” for their next musical chapter. They hit the studio with producer Paul Moak [Mat Kearney, Caitlyn Smith] and recorded the six songs on Hiraeth in just one week. As a result of the previous two years, their signature “Indie Americana” sound further solidified.

“Our last record was very folk-pop,” says Kaylee. “At that point, we were going through transitions and really trying to figure out what we wanted to be. When we finished that marathon tour and regrouped, we got the chance to decide who we are as a band. We wanted to utilize more electric instruments and go more indie pop with storytelling at the core. All of Paul’s productions are different. That was the allure of working with him. He helped us step up and define our style. This is really the first time we’re being true to ourselves.”

On “Lady Brain”, delicate electric guitars entwine with Haley’s hypnotic and heavenly delivery before crashing into an unforgettable refrain. “I was watching Orange is The New Black, and in one scene the main character Piper says, ‘Well, I’m going to use my lady brain and think really hard,’” Haley recalls. “I thought it was so fucking funny. I kept it in the back of my head. It’s a bit of a sarcastic song.”

Then, there’s “Mouthful of Cigarettes” which twists and turns through a bluesy lead line until eventually culminating on a powerful proclamation, “I am a fire without any wood.”

“I was sitting at a bar in Portland on month six of our tour,” Haley continues. “There was an ashtray full of cigarettes, and I was having this moral dilemma in my head. I thought, ‘What if I put all of that in my mouth and swallow the burning cigarettes because there are flames and maybe I won’t be burning out anymore?’ I thought it might spark the flame again.”

The flame has been sparked with Hiraeth and their journey really begins now…
Venue Information:
Port City Music Hall
504 Congress St
Portland, ME, 04101