Any sport compatible with drinking is probably compatible with music. Portland bands should be thankful Bayside Bowl has figured that out. As if the truly good food and cheap bar weren't enough, Bayside folds its bowling-shoe rentals into the door fee on many live-music nights. This way, if one of the bands in a lineup doesn't strike your fancy, you can throw some strikes of your own.
From the lanes, Jesse Pilgrim's set sounded broadcast from Folsom Prison. Songs like these are fit for bold storytelling, and Pilgrim's clear, brassy pipes were a shiny and inclusive welcome.
Playing the slowest and most contemplative set of the evening, Jakob Battick and his band were a better accompaniment for a rousing bar conversation or a late dinner than for clobbering spares. His sinewy guitar lines and slow-building songs require a less distracting environment. Billy Libby's immaculate hooks and melodies seemed apt for those young bowlers on awkward kinda-sorta dates.
If Jacob Augustine didn't exist in Portland, it would be necessary to invent him. Possessing the stage presence and integrity of a firebrand preacher (except without all the answers), Augustine commands urgency and attention. His nine-piece misfit gospel band blends the Western-Baltic flourishes of Beirut with the post-punk immediacy of World/Inferno, but it's the unadorned earnestness of the man himself that binds it all together. His is an impressive voice that can hold a bowling alley rapt, and it'd be interesting to see what the House of Fire does on bigger stages.
: New England Music News
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