March 11, 2010

The Night Is Young


— By . PONTI

I'll begin with a Father's Day shout-out to my male parental unit, Joseph T. Ponti, who is at this very moment, I am quite sure, whistling himself silly. And you wonder where I get my appreciation for music from!

Dad can't, however, be relied on for any semblance of lyric accuracy when the whistling gives way to singing, but I digress.

I invite you all to sing along to the theme song of ''The Courtship of Eddie's Father'' to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father's Day: ''People, let me tell you 'bout my best friend, he's a warm-hearted person who'll love me till the end. People let me tell you bout my best friend, he's a one boy (or gal) cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.''

There are many shows to get to before Sunday, and I'm gonna hit you with a few options since you'll already be out and about buying neckties, Old Spice or, in my case, a tasteless card.

About 17 gazillion (well, OK, 12, but that's still a lot) local acts and DJs are converging at Port City Music Hall on Friday because a friend in need is a friend indeed. Cape Elizabeth native Brett Cooper was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) two years ago at the age of 30.

Proceeds from the Port City show will help Cooper with the purchase of communication and mobility equipment to help with the management of ALS, a progressive degenerative disease that results in paralysis.

Some of the funds raised will be given to Boys to Men, a non-profit organization that provides support and education for boys and those who raise them, with a goal of reducing interpersonal violence. Cooper is making the donation in honor of his father, a source of inspiration to him.

Oh, and hello, let's not forget the aforementioned dozen acts that are helping Cooper get by with a little help from his friends: Murder of Crows, Grupo Esperanza, Dave Gutter, Dominic and the Lucid, Nigel Hall, John Nolan, Jerks of Grass, Tony McNaboe, Royal Hammer, Plains, DJ Boondocks and DJ Greymatter.

The Brett Cooper ALS Benefit. 7 p.m. Friday. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland. 899-4990; $8 minimum, $18 VIP, at the door only. Ages 21 and older.

Since my amigo Bob Keyes wrote the cover story about Gypsy Tailwind (see page 10), I will refrain from extensive rooftop shouting. This would include how much my pal Smitty and I love this band, and how we are beside ourselves with glee and excitement over not only the show on Saturday night but also over GT's new CD, ''Grace.''

Their debut CD, ''The Halo Sessions,'' is still in heavy rotation at my house, and now there are another eight songs to add to the playlist. Enough said, but I simply must mention the Til Tuesday moment I experienced in the car last week whilst I was freeing ''Grace'' from its cellophane. Upon scanning the track list, I spied ''Coming Up Close'' and thought to myself, ''Wow, could it actually be a cover of one of my all-time favorite songs?'' Sure enough, Gypsy Tailwind has done the song justice, and Anna Lombard sounds glorious. Until Saturday

Gypsy Tailwind CD-release party, with Will Dailey and the Rivals, and the Grant Street Orchestra. 8 p.m. Saturday. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland. 899-4990; $10, $25 VIP seating; Ages 21 and older.

Ain't nobody out there who can throw a Pride Party quite like the dynamic and dazzling DJ duo of H ++ L. The gals will be spinning with bells on and with more pride than you can shake your bootie at Saturday night over at the White Heart.

Pride Party with H + + L. 9 p.m. Saturday. White Heart, 551 Congress St., Portland. 828-1900; Ages 21 and older.

To say they've got a way with words barely scratches the proverbial surface when speaking about singer/songwriter Kate Schrock and her father, Pulitzer-nominated novelist/playwright/essayist Gladden Schrock.

The two have been collaborating in a handful of appearances in this area, including a Friday-night performance at the St. Lawrence. The evening will be a melding of spoken word and song. Both artists can evoke laughter, tears and a tapestry of emotions in between.

Voices: Schrock & Schrock. 8 p.m. Friday. St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center, 76 Congress St., Portland. 775-5568; $15; $12 in advance. All ages.

The avant-garde/garage/soul sounds of Miami's five-guy band called the Jean Marie will be available for aural consumption Saturday night at Asylum.

I still don't know what to make of the song ''Vampires Pt. II,'' the tune that greeted me upon arrival at, other than to say I certainly enjoyed it, and it brought my 6 a.m. morning eyes into focus.

Headlining the evening is another Miami musician, Rachel Goodrich, whose MySpace page describes her sound as acoustic/folk/psychobilly/shake-a-billy. I heard whistling and a kazoo in the song ''Light Bulb,'' and knew I liked this gal.

Her latest record is called ''Tinker Toys,'' and I'll swipe a paragraph from her Web site because it does a superb job of describing what she's all about: ''Hello, I'm Rachel Goodrich. I am a songwriter. I write songs. I sing and play guitar and other instruments like keys, uke, kazoo, harmonica, recorder, xylophone, banjo, mandolin, spoons, pots, pans, and with that ... I make music.''

What my pal Smitty doesn't know is that we may be slipping out the back door of Port City the nano-second Gypsy Tailwind's set ends and doing the 50-yard dash to Asylum to catch Goodrich, so Smitty better be wearing her running shoes!

Rachel Goodrich with the Jean Marie. 9 p.m. Saturday. Asylum, 121 Center St., Portland. 772-8274; $10. Tickets at Bull Moose Music. Ages 21 and older.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

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