Porlolo CD release @ the Hi-DiveBy | July 21st, 2008 | No Comments »
Erin Roberts (Porlolo) was joined by Sorellina, Wentworth Kersey and Bad Weather California for her CD release at the Hi-Dive on Friday. Photos by Brian Carney.
Three little whiskies, all in a row.
Whose were they? I’m not at liberty to say. At the beginning, they were all full, lined up on a squat Fender amp. And every few songs, they would disappear one by one, down the gullet of a band member I could never seem to catch.
This was a celebratory occasion, but also a casual one — of overalls, plaid shirts and liquor surreptitiously sipped. Porlolo is the music of a comfortable chemistry, where the R’s lie flat and hardened at the ends of words as they would in conversation. It’s music that bears the intimacy of a small room, regardless of a crowd’s mass (which was, on this evening, substantial).
Erin Roberts stands small and modest at the microphone, the blue stage lights on her calm, liquid eyes. Among her are Bela Karolians and Placervillians, buoying her songs with an upright bass and a Casio SK-1 with notes written on the keys in Sharpie. There is a chunk of the Denver community onstage, playing with familiar faces to a group of the same.
On the bass drum is an illustration which reads “This is a religion.” Maybe so, if this is the religion of home — a state, a city, a house. Make that an old house, where the nightly settlings-in make their own music, and chipped saucers sit in laps. The audience is here to be familiar, to roost. After each song, punctuated by Roberts’ earnest “Thanks!” there is a din of cheers and whistles that only friends and fans can make. Then, again, the light, warm harmonies soar out over the crowd.
“I don’t need a microphone in real life,” says Roberts, back in the midst of chipper between-song banter, which ranges on subjects from pools and car keys to cosmonauts. Perhaps she was referring to the impressive force of her lungs, but I saw it differently. Anyway, she’s not a belter, but a triller, crooner and warbler.
I was told as a child that the softer one speaks, the more people will listen. It sounds entirely counterintuitive, but if you recall the Roosevelt-appropriated African proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” it begins to hold water. Roberts’ voice may need amplification against the electric wallop behind it tonight, but her songs do not. The gentle, deliberate lyrics stand on two steady feet.
Before the night draws to a close, I discover the identity of the shot-swiller. It’s Roger Green, who, until he took a telling whiskey break on the stage floor, has been playing his guitar with a black pick clenched firmly between his front teeth.
The show is almost over, but no one wants the truth. “I think this is our last song,” says Roberts, to a chorus of “Noooooo!”s. No wants to have a good, cozy blanket torn from around their shoulders. She laughs and looks around. “Maybe our second-to-last,” she offers, and the crowd responds with an affirmative clamor.
Alex Edgeworth is a Denver-based writer and regular Reverb contributor.
Brian Carney is a Denver-based photographer and regular Reverb contributor.
MORE PHOTOS: Sorellina
BAD WEATHER CALIFORNIA