REVIEW: Portland Cello Project & Emily Wells @ Cozmic Pizza (Eugene, OR – 6/13/09)
I first heard of Portland Cello Project via cellist Anna Fritz. Her 2005 album Wake featured a couple of songs with singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey guesting, of whom I had been a longtime fan already. Anyway, shortly thereafter, Anna Fritz was posting on her MySpace page about this new band that she was in, the Portland Cello Project. They kept playing around on times that I couldn’t see them… so last night was the first official time for me to see them, though I guess I’ve been a fan for a while.
We showed up around 8:30 to a beyond packed house. Oh crap, I underestimated the draw of the PCP on a Saturday night in Eugene. Emily Wells was into her set, and some of the PCP was sitting in on her set. Great stuff… enough to buy her Symphonies album. I hope she comes around Eugene or Portland again… I loved her sound.
The Portland Cello Project came on around 9:30. Their sound seemed very much standard “chamber music” until they hit the more energetic Pantera and Dave Brubeck pieces. PCP pulls off the “modern / alternative chamber music” sound pretty well without getting lumped into the sometimes cheesy Apocalyptica and the almost always cheesy “String Quartet Tribute to…” compilations. PCP had a mix of classical, jazz, rougher music, tween pop with John Brophy, and indie rock (the songs featuring Justin Power on guitar & voice)… seemed to be enjoyed by the very large, very diverse crowd…
Setlist: (per the PCP blog)
- Collaborations with Emily Wells
- The Batman Theme Song (by Danny Elfman)
- Turkish Wine (by Norfolk and Western)
- Denmark (by Gideon Freudmann)
- Mouth for War (by Pantera)
- Take 5 (by Dave Brubeck Quartet)
- A piece by Ashia
- Ashia and Justin Power playing Hungry Liars
- Two more Justin Power pieces!
- Toxic (by Britney Spears) featuring John Brophy
- What Goes Around…/…Comes Back around (by Justin Timberlake) featuring John Brophy
- Push-it (by Salt N Pepa) featuring John Brophy and Emily Wells
- 3 pieces collaborating with Run-On Sentence
- Encore: Transformation from The Dream: A Three Movement Suite for Cellos, Mallet Percussion, and Drum Set by Rachel Blumberg
We stuck around through the Justin Timberlake tune (it had been a long day). Great stuff all around. I was very impressed with Emily Wells set (never heard of her before), and the size of the crowd at Cozmic. I mean, seriously, I’ve never seen that many people packed in there. It was great to see so many people out there, but I’m wondering how they heard about it. Here I was thinking I’d show up at 8:30 and get right in…
Next time, I’ll know to show up early for PCP in Eugene.
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Portland Cello Project Online
- Portland Cello Project on MySpace
- Emily Wells on MySpace
- Justin Power on MySpace
- Cozmic Pizza