By the time the first few notes of “We Are The Tide” began to swirl through the auditorium, the crowd had already made it to their feet. Swaying back and forth in their seats throughout the evening, toes a-tapping, it had been a relatively even-keeled set, a bit of the pomp of the Oregon Symphony keeping the generally raucous Portland crowd at an easygoing level. But when the band members of Blind Pilot struck the chords of their final song, prior to the encore, after the strings and horns of the symphony had been paired so bewitchingly all evening on tunes like “Go On and Say It”, “Two Towns from Me”, “One Red Thread”, and “Keep You Right”, the packed house simply couldn’t go anywhere but up.
With co-founding member Israel Hebeker at the helm, the Stumptown-based sextet has received recognition from coast to coast for their inspired melodies since their start in 2007, opening for My Morning Jacket and The Shins, making appearances at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and Sasquatch. Their first release, 3 Rounds and a Sound, debuted in 2008, and was notably amongst NPR’s roundup of “Best Music of 2008”. In 2011, their follow-up album, We Are The Tide, recorded at Portland’s Type Foundry, brought critical acclaim with a debut at #56 on Billboard’s Top 200. On Saturday night, backed by the players of the Oregon Symphony, it was the title track of their sophomore album that brought the house down during their concert at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Oregonians all – Hebeker on lead vocals and guitar, co-founder and drummer Ryan Dobrowski, bassist Luke Ysdtie, keyboardist Dave Jorgensen, vibraphonist Ian Krist, and strummer Kati Claborn – the outstanding collaborative performance only helped to reiterate why Portland is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
“The Oregon Symphony loves music. Of all kinds,” explained Oregon Symphony Vice President of Communications Jim Fuller, who noted that collaborative concerts such as this helped to expand both the fan base of the band and the symphony. “That’s why you’ll see our musicians on stage year after year playing classical concerts, kids concerts, Pops concerts, as well as a host of special concerts like this one with Blind Pilot. It’s our way to celebrate the whole spectrum of great music, including local bands and their fine music.”
The Oregon Symphony has plans to continue such collaborative concerts, with an evening of Black Prairie, Holcombe Waller and Mirah scheduled for October 19, 2013. Blind Pilot will be making an appearance in Bend next month, before heading out to support Brandi Carlisle and the Dave Matthews Band in July.
*Photos: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender