Port O’Brien – A Bird Flies By, SXSW 2009

by oz on March 25, 2009

Port O’Brien isn’t for everyone. I’ve come to understand that as I’ve talked to others and read blogs that don’t quite understand the band’s appeal. POB’s sound struck me right away when I discovered their debut album, The Wind and The Swell, and they won me over on their sophomore release, All We Could Do Was Sing.

If you’re on the fence, I’d suggest seeing them in person. Port O’Brien has the ability to make the crowd feel like part of the band and it’s not just because they invite people up on stage to bang on pots and pans for their “hit” song “I Woke Up Today.” They are about the most genuine, hard-working musicians you’ll meet.

I had the chance to chat with Van just before his set and it went something like this:

Me: Hey Van! Good to see you. Where’s Cambria (banjo, vocals)?
Van: She’s sick and couldn’t make it.
Me: Where’s Zeb (lead guitarist)?
Van: He’s in the bathroom puking his guts out right now.
Me: Sooooo…
Van: Yeah, so I don’t really know who is going on stage in three minutes.

A minute later Zeb emerged, pale and sweaty. Van gave him a huge hug, said “I love you,” and they walked up on stage. I bought Zeb a bottle of water, but I don’t think he took one sip. He just started hopping around stage like a madman with his guitar. You can also see Rooftop Song and I Woke Up Today on our YouTube Channel.

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