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A Night of Rock with Land of Talk

Benjamin Lederer

Benjamin Lederer

Concert Reviewer and Events Volunteer at Portland Radio Project
Benjamin Lederer

Canadian indie band Land of Talk performed at the Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, June 28. PRP’s own Don Scheidt recounts the exciting event below:

“It’s been an uphill battle for Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell, including the loss of her hard drive loaded with songwriting, multiple band members, her voice, and having become a caregiver for a few years. None of this struggle was apparent at Land of Talk’s gig Wednesday night. Broken guitar strings and a missing keyboardist didn’t deter Powell’s band from taking the stage as a trio, with Lauri Torres on bass and harmony vocals and Mark “Bucky” Wheaton on drums.

Land of Talk’s current tour is in support of their new album Life After Youth, marking Powell’s return to form after several years away from music. The three-piece band was in good spirits, getting a healthy ego boost from a sold-out show. Powell didn’t hesitate to express their gratitude between-songs audience chat. Operating as an indie power trio, Powell’s jangly guitar and up-front vocals moved the music steadily forward with solid backing from her rhythm section.

Songs from Life after Youth were prominent, mixed in with earlier selections. Powell’s been recording with Land of Talk since 2006’s Applause Cheer Boo Hiss EP, so there’s a fairly deep catalog to choose from. The title cut from 2008’s Some Are Lakes shows off plenty of power-pop chops, a fine guitar-driven tune that keeps the listener holding out for more.

On stage, Land of Talk’s configuration as a trio works well, from slow building ballads like “It’s Okay” to bright, strong rockers like “Quarry Hymns,” all played with conviction and energy. It may have been a long, hard slog to get from the band’s beginnings to its current state, but Powell and company were clearly energized, even strengthened, by a supportive audience. Here’s hoping they’re planning on a return gig to Puddletown.

Opening band Half Waif is a keyboard-heavy project led by singer-songwriter Nandi Rose Plunkett, supported by deep bass grooves and steady rhythm. Plunkett’s vocal style is a bit reminiscent of Tori Amos, who emerged in the 1990s with a starkly confessional lyrical style.”

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