One summer, five towns in Maine, one gym, four gazebos: The first-annual World Famous Grassholes Gazebo Tour of Maine is in the books and was nothing short of a “wild success.”
We know, because that’s what we dubbed it: a “wild success.” Not any sort of “tame success.” That would have been lame.
Despite an auspicious debut of the tour in Gorham, where rain forced the initial gazebo show to be relocated to the Shaw Gym, the tour’s momentum was undeniable, taking the Grassholes to packed gigs in Falmouth, Poland Springs, York, and Andover though the summer and delighting fans with some of the band’s best-ever performances.
“It’s funny,” said guitarist Sam Pfeifle, “the gazebos really seemed to suit our brand of performance. Being outside, we could crank the amp, really dig into our solos, and interact with a new audience who were often coming to the Grassholes for the first time.” Yes, the tour was so good that Sam said something sincere and not sarcastic or ironic in any way. That’s how successful it was.
For those of you who weren’t able to make it out, here’s a recap:
Well, this was kind of a lame way to kick things off. We got rained out, so moved into the gym, where we played in front of those weird padding things underneath the basketball basket, which sucked up all the back-slap and kind of deadened the sound in general.
However, we still had about 25 people in attendance, and they were enthusiastic and generally seemed like nice people. One of them even bought a Grassholes patch!
Best of all, we got a cool video out of it, which you can check out here:
Thank you Gorham Community Access! Hopefully, next year we’ll get to actually hit the gazebo and make a better video.
We had lots of people say they had a hard time finding this particular gazebo (yo, it’s next to the Ice Arena!), but, in the end, this show was packed. Easily 150 people in lawn chairs and on blankets. Some local retirement spots even bussed people in.
This one started out a bit surreal, since there were doing some kind of seated yoga that involved lots of fake laughing while we were loading in, but once we got started all the laughs were genuine – Sam came up with his “river in Brazil” joke here for listening to us on Amazon and people went for it in a big way. Also, they were giving out free ice cream sandwiches, which put everyone in a good move. Really, they should just have people giving out ice cream sandwiches by the side of the road on a regular basis and many of the world’s problems would be quickly solved.
They even took video. Check out this good one someone posted to Facebook of a rousing rendition of “Orange Blossom Special” (click here and then scroll down to the comments).
Even though it’s off of a weird parking lot kind of behind Wal-Mart, Falmouth has a damn fine gazebo set-up. We look forward to revisiting this joint.
With no offense to any other gazebos out there, Poland Springs has the best gazebo set up we’ve encountered: sitting up on a hill, with the sunset in the background and rows of white chairs set up in front, and the Poland Springs Inn sitting even farther back, where some people listen from the front porch.
And that’s what you get from Field’s crappy 2009 iphone!
Truthfully, though, we raged these two sets. The weather was perfect, people were super into it, and we had a blast. Heck, we even helped drum up $340 for the 50/50 raffle.
In particular, this show was where the audience really responded to our originals: “Maybe,” “Gently Used,” and “Janey” all went over big. And we would have played “Pedicab Pervert” too, except Field forgot how to play it and we decided to quickly move on.
Nor was the experience ruined by the fact that Sam picked up a screw in the parking lot somehow and had a flat tire when he went to leave. A very nice fan stuck around and helped out with an electric pump and it was all no big deal at all!
Jiminy Cricket: If you haven’t been to Ellis Park in York, you should. It’s part of a great little beach resort York is rocking. Who knew? Probably lots of people, we guess, but it was new to most of us (Field lived there 30 years ago or something, but he can’t remember much from that long ago, so it seemed new all over again).
The gazebo sits right in front of the beach, with the waves crashing like crazy, so we had to really crank the amp, which made for a good time, in general. The crowd was a little more transient, since people play the gazebo just about every day and the shows are more part of the overall experience of going to the beach and then grabbing a couple of beers afterward, but there were a ton of folks there in total, including a nice little girl who came up and asked us to play “Wagon Wheel,” so we did.
(Side note: If you’re a band too snooty to play “Wagon Wheel,” or a venue that “bans” the song, you’ve got a serious disconnect with what music is all about. People want to hear songs they like and have a good time and connect with the band. If “Wagon Wheel” is your only connection to stringband music, we’re going to play the hell out of that song and make you happy as hell.)
Anyway, that girl was cute as hell and we hear she ended up asking for a Grassholes-themed birthday party after seeing us. Smart kid!
Also, in case you were doubting us, we looked like this that night, so obviously we sounded amazing:
Man, Andover was really, really cool. Thanks to Pete Coolidge and his Andover Summer Concert Series, we got to travel to a town none of us had ever visited before, a little place just north of Rumford with an amazing town green, filled with big oaks and surrounded by beautiful old homes and a big white church.
The sound was incredible, with just a bit of echo off the buildings, and maybe 200 people came out to set up on the lawn and check us out. It was great to see people dancing and moving around and just enjoying being out together in front of a band on a beautiful Friday night.
Unfortunately, Flann wasn’t available for this one, but we managed not to lose our rhythm entirely and Sam got to make fun jokes about losing our bass player on the way to the gig (has anyone seen him?!?!).
Just look at this setup:
We also busted out our new Sam-Heather duet “Saw That Smile,” which went over great, and finished up just before the big thunderstorm rolled in and chased everyone away.
We’re not sure what it means, but we definitely should note that during one of the driest Maine summers on record, we got rained out once, and then had rain start immediately after our York and Andover gigs.
World Famous Grassholes: Making it rain in 2019!