Portage & Main CD Release @ Anza Club -- 03/18/11

Last night was the much anticipated CD release show for Vancouver's Portage & Main. So anticipated, that the Anza club ended out being sold out by the end of the night. And rightfully so, as it was a pretty good lineup of Vancouver talent.

Adrian Glynn was first for the night, hitting stage alone with his guitar -- though for a couple songs he added a harmonica or a kick drum. He seemed really comfortable on stage, with a good presence; mostly because you could see the emotion put into his heartfelt folk songs. And even though a few of them sounded a bit similar, it was quite an enjoyable set. It came to a close with some audience-assisted stomp/clapping in a song, but by the end of the set the din of the crowd was getting a little loud. I think last time I saw Glynn, it was also with a noisy crowds, so I wouldn't mind catching him live again, where people are a bit quieter.

Sumner Bros were next up. I had seen them a couple weeks back at the Railway and enjoyed the set, and last night was no different. Well, except for the sound. It was a bit off at the beginning of the set, but after a few songs it seemed to be quite a bit better. Aside from that, the set was pretty similar, with their cover of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" the traditional "Pay Me My Money Down", and their own catchy, blues influenced songs. They were pretty lively and energetic, and definitely worth seeing again.

And finally was Portage & Main. Had I not known, I never would have guessed this was their first show. True, John Sponarski and Harold Donnelly, who share vocals and guitar duties, have been playing in bands and with each other for years, but for the first show as this incarnation; and they were incredibly tight and firing on all cylinders. Their sound was very folk- and roots-rock influenced, and they played their new self titled album front to back.
Savannah of Redbird (a band that John also plays with) was out for backup vocals on "The Morning After", and other highlists included the infectious "What Have I Done", the incredibly energetic "Tonight pt. 2", and the slow build of "I'd Never Climbed A Mountain", that "ended" the set. But they were back out, with Savannah joining them again, for the album closer "Carolina", another high energy song and a great way to end the night.

In all, a pretty great night of music, and an impressive debut from Portage & Main. I already can't wait to see them live again.