I was excited to see that Mark Olson (formally of the Jayhawks) was playing in Portland on Thursday the 7th. I’ve been trying to save some green but figured he wouldn’t be around Maine again for a while so I ponied up the money and myself and my domestic partner headed over to One Longfellow Square (which is fast becoming my favorite place to see a show.)
I love it when a band has no opening act, which was the case for this show. Mark and his touring partner/wife Ingunn Ringvold took the stage promptly at 8:05 and treated the small but enthusiastic audience to an almost two hour set. Now I’ve got to admit that I only recently discovered Mark Olson’s music with the release of Many Colored Kite. I’ve known and listened to the Jayhawks’ music casually for years now but after I experienced car problems on two separate occasions while listening to Tomorrow the Green Grass (on cassette even!) I figured that the Jayhawks had cursed me somehow and that I should probably never listen to them again. Looking back, I think the fact that I was driving an ancient Mazda Protege with a questionable transmission probably had more to do with the car trouble than Mark, Gary & the boys. Anyway, I think that Many Colored Kite may be one of the best albums I’ve ever heard so I was excited to hear these songs live and what the musicians would do with them. Sadly, they only played one track of off Many Colored Kite but that was ok because the rest of the set list was filled with solo tracks from Mark’s almost-as-awesome-as Many Colored Kite album Salvation Blues as well as some faithful to the source material versions of Jayhawks tunes and a couple of early Jayhawks tunes that Mark and Ingunn performed with only hand percussion. A joke(?) was made onstage about looking for backers to finance a re-recording of Hollywood Town Hall in this fashion. I for one think it would make a great Record Store Day release but after Mark’s quip about YouTube taking the place of record stores; perhaps he’s not interested? The set also included at least one tune from Mark’s Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers project and some good-natured stage banter about deer, littering, the difficulties of an intercontinental relationship, and the fact that Maine is always dark and rainy when he visits.
The show was a lot of fun, the price was right ($15) and any show that I can sit down at is a show that I like. Thanks to the folks at One Longfellow for bringing Gary Olson to Maine. Keep ’em coming.
Below is a cruddyy picture I took with my phone. You’re not imagining things; Gary Olson really does look like Bill Murray. I’m thinking he may get that a lot.