LIVE REVIEW: Trousdale, John-Robert in Portland, ME (06.23.24)

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LIVE REVIEW: Trousdale, John-Robert in Portland, ME (06.23.24)

“In case we ever forget what happiness is, this is it,” a mantra Trousdale sings about and lives by, essentially summing up the feeling of experiencing live music in a comfortable crowd, much like the one Portland House of Music and Events provided on Sunday, June 23 for the first headline show of their Still Out of My Mind Tour. Kicking things off right away with their vocals in full, “Bad Blood” put feminine power at the forefront. Leading ladies Georgia Greene, Quinn D’Andrea, and Lauren Jones alternated the verses, taking turns at the melody before building the chord back up. The smoky, country-tinged stinger “Point Your Finger” followed, starting the claps and frills with their “Lie, lie, lies”, while party anthem “This Is It” reminded the crowd to take a second to breathe, put their shoulders down, and be present in the moment with a sing along.

“Happy Anymore” highlighted their superb ability to harmonize, as well as provide variance in the repeated chorus. Jones’s wispy “ooh-hoos” added another layer that piqued the ear and added intrigue to the melodious round. The deliciously bubblegum pop “Sometimes” featured crystalline vocals that played upon the polarity of a fickle relationship. Playfully bouncing between the hot passion and cold shoulders tossed around by a jilting lover. “Can’t Get Your Love Back” harped on the heartbreak and built back with stacked vocals, climbing up from alto to soprano as Jones started, D’Andrea joined in, and Greene topped it off.

In a little breather segue, they commented that this was the first headline show of the tour, as they were opening for The Teskey Brothers and making festival stops at Bonnaroo and Western MA’s Green River Music Festival previously. While they love festivals because they play to people who otherwise might not have known them and, “Usually win them over by song seven,” they love the intimacy of their headliners and fans singing back at them. They joked they were, “Running on Celsius and snacks, and you guys!” before inviting Jones’s cousin Kim up to the stage to be their “Movie Star” for the next song, aptly named. Cousin Kim proved to be a fan as well as family and sang along to the sweetly star-crossed ballad.

“Love” brought a little bit of disco and dance to the atmosphere, as Greene hit all the high notes and the jangly groove kept everything upbeat as the crowd kept dancing through every hook. “Smart Iowa” slowed things down by seeing off the accompanying band, and leaving the three ladies on the stage with just Jones playing a plugged in acoustic guitar. A little simpler and more relaxed, it pinpointed the more delicate tones as each of them picked up a verse and rejoined for dazzling harmonies. Probably the best culmination of their talents, “If I’m Honest” demonstrated their high level of vocal training combined with their songwriting skills. Taking a little acoustic bit in the middle, they brought it low before the perfect climax, keeping everyone on their feet.

“Placebo” and “Always, Joni” showcased the three becoming one in unity as they sang every word together and created melodic chord progressions. Pretty tones blended with acoustic guitar until the band kicked back in and brought the energy fluttering around the stage. Very popular cover, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” proved to be a favorite as their voices rang over the twang and created a frisson from the amount of power and control exhibited to a classic. Spirited tambourine in the breakdown kept the energy palpable. Having met in college and studied in a music program, they covered that song a lot and loved it, so it’s stuck with them ever since.

“Go There” brought back the volleying of vocals, as they split up and swirled around the harmonies and underlying layers. Taking a moment for a serious note, they talked about how touring can take a toll on people, but everything comes and goes with the highs and lows, and the lesson they learned that, “No feeling is final, so feel them all” before launching into the hauntingly beautiful “If You’re Hurting.” Soothing waves of tenderness then tenacity swelled as they created echoing levels of dynamics between the three of them.

“Any Day Now” lifted the mood back up with inspiring lyrics and a poppy rhythm. The audience could feel their camaraderie as they joked about the goofy antics they get up to on tour, like sharing a hotel room and marching around making up songs because the acoustics of the floor sounded cool. “If we don’t have shopping, what do we have? Nothing!” D’Andrea and Greene sang and stomped around the stage demonstrating their new hit single.

Further connecting with the audience, they explained that at one point in their career a couple years ago, they took a look at themselves as a band and really reflected on what they wanted to do for the future. “When we started producing our own music, it just sounded right,” Greene informed. They touched upon how important it is for women in the music industry and young girls who want to be in the industry to see other women doing things for themselves, like producing and mastering, because there aren’t as many women in the field, and they are fully capable to achieve that goal. They followed with one of the first songs they self-produced, “Wouldn’t Come Back,” a track about love swallowing you whole. Starting with just the three of them on stage in unison, they delivered a goosebump inducing, heartstring pulling aural odyssey, with the band gently joining back in to emphasize the high points as their main set closer.

Because the stage is so far from the dressing room and the side wing isn’t exactly conducive for waiting, they stayed on stage and proclaimed, “This is our encore!” before launching into a leave it all on the floor version of “Out of My Mind.” The joy and passion while they danced, jumped, and swayed around the stage without missing a note was the perfect wrap up to the choral exploration the audience was treated over the hour and 20 minute long evening.

No one woman stands out above the rest, they all contribute their own style and highlight and complement one another to make a beautiful harmony. Adding to their cohesion with visuals, they’re dressed in what is perceived as their stage personas, D’Andrea in green, Greene in pink, and Jones in blue, much like the animated childhood favorite girl gang The Powerpuff Girls. And much like the cartoon, they emphasized the powerful possibilities when women join together to make something concordant.

Notable Opener: John-Robert, a young singer-songwriter from Virginia who warmed the crowd with his funny and charmingly awkward banter and won them over with his pivoting range of rough, raw vocals and sweet falsetto. Songs “Good Days’ll Come” and “Westward Bound” were catchy and held attention, while the treat of testing out new song, “Mama, You Don’t Have to Work Anymore” showed a gentle vulnerability that will only mature with his career. And he’s an Over the Garden Wall fan, which inspired his song “Come Pick Me Up.”

Featured image: Caity Krone

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