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Re-Member SPACE (A staff playlist for Spring Fund Drive 2023)

As we barrel down the trail of our Annual Spring Fund Drive, SPACE staff would like to give something back.

So we did what any crew would do in our hyperdigital era: We made you a playlist.

Re-Member SPACE (Spring Fund Drive Thank You Playlist, SPACE staff)

Every song is by an artist our staff has seen play at our home at 538 Congress Street.

As we remember our great times here, our goal this spring is to rebuild our MEMBER pool. Your support helps a ton. It’s what helps us keep SPACE a place for arts, artists and ideas in Maine. We need another 15 members per week through the end of June to hit our goal of 500.

We have an unfathomable volume of thanks for the SPACE workers, founders, members, donors, leadership and artists who have built us up over these 20+ years.

Because SPACE has inspired you too, please consider donating to our effort! Or become a member! We’re looking to build capacity after a tough few years of s o c i a l d i s t a n c e, and we’d love to have you with us.

We hope this playlist reminds you of a few unforgettable artists from your own SPACE archives.

Track 1
Greg Jamie, Film Programmer (he/him)

Artist: Helado Negro
Song: “Pais Nublado”
Album: This is How You Smile (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: June 30, 2019

I hadn’t seen Helado Negro since 2011 when my band o’death did a west coast tour with them.  At that time they were a very new project, and it was so cool to see how much they evolved in that time, gaining so many fans, and putting out so many great albums.

Track 2 
Cam Howard, Event Staff (they/them)

Artist: Jonathan Richman
Song: “Not So Much to Be Loved As to Love”
Album: Not So Much to Be Loved As to Love (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: June 12, 2022 (too many to count, really)

Jonathan Richman came through last year on my birthday weekend, so I made a point to turn out to both of the shows. He’s always been a favorite artist of mine and getting the chance to talk with him after one of the shows (we talked about cold pizza) was a real treat. I had never heard this song before I heard it live, and it means a lot to me now. 

Track 3
Catherine Buxton, Event Staff (she/they)

Artist: Death Vessel
Song: “Triangulated Heart”
Album: Island Intervals (bandcamp)
SPACE appearances: August 4, 2017 (with the Huntress & Holder of Hands and Micah Blue Smaldone)

This was one of the shows where I popped out behind the bar between sets and made sure I bought a vinyl before they ran out. I am haunted by Joel’s voice and often return to this record when I need a twinkly, spooky, austere back track to a day at home. This track is one of the more upbeat on the record, but still…strong haunted music box vibes.

Tracks 4-5
Jocelyn Leighton-Cory, Managing Director (she/they)

Artist: Assasi
Song: “Laysh”
Album: Third World Wide Vol. 1 (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: October 16, 2021 (with Angie Assal, Graphic Melee and Jins Ensemble)

I saw Assasi perform during his Third World Wide tour and it was a beautiful show. One of the attendees told me that she had bought the tickets as a present to her boyfriend who is Syrian, and brought him to the show because he was missing home. Assasi heard this story and spoke directly to this guy and had this wonderful heart and home connection with him, it was beautiful and emotional to watch. 

Artist: Cadaverette
Song: “Sledgehammer”
Album: We Are Everything but…Not Anything (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: August 20, 2022 (with Iron Gag, Exit 18 and Goiter)

One of the band members dropped a Wayne’s World 2 reference and I will forever be a fan of this band. I’m typically not into metal but the vocals, passion, and love of the genre drew me in close. As for metal fans, the best audience, drinkers, and attendees an event space could ask for. 

Track 6
Meg Hahn, Development Coordinator (she/her)

Artist: Mitski
Song: “Thursday Girl”
Album: Puberty 2 (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: July 25, 2016 (with Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som)

A friend invited me to go to the show, not knowing very much beforehand. I ended up having such an amazing experience, and walked away as a long-term fan. The energy of the room was a feeling I didn’t know I needed, but has really stuck with me since. The openers from this night I’d like to say are both pretty big on their own too and feel really lucky to have seen these artists at SPACE. 

Tracks 7-8
Bobby Carroll, Event Staff (he/him)

Artist: Holy Fuck
Song: “Latin America”
Album: Latin (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: August 16, 2022 (with KevCoast)

Holy Fuck is an incredible band that’s been on my radar since 2010. When I was in the military, I detested running, and this was the album that I ran to. It’s boppy, jammy, it’s so consistent with strong and consistent drumming that’s so meditative and alive and shifting. Seeing them perform this track live in August 2022 and talking with them after the show was just such a top moment of my life. 

Artist: Pink Navel
Song: “AN INVOCATION FOR BEGINNINGS” (recorded in the SPACE green room)
Album: EPIC (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: April 9, 2022 (with R.A.P. Ferreira and She Ray), among several

Pink Navel comes around quite a bit and, having recorded their debut LP in our green room, has strong Portland and strong SPACE ties. I love how this album was recorded in one take, I love how sincere it is, how powerfully delivered it is, and how unapologetically themself this artist is on this album. This track stands out from the rest in that regard. Such an incredible album, great beats, and such a great track. 

Tracks 9-10
Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Executive Director (she/they)

Artist: La Luz
Song: “Floating Features”
Album: Floating Features (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: June 5, 2018

Listening to La Luz play their unique blend of surf rock mixed with dream pop, live was totally euphoric. I remember they cued the disco ball on and parted the audience with a line down the center of the venue for folks to strut their stuff and dance. It was the kind of high energy live show that the recorded music only touches. I highly recommend listening to La Luz’s albums for an easy, breezy afternoon.

Artist: Vagabon
Song: “Fear & Force”
Album: Infinite Worlds (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: September 13, 2017 (with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya and Greef)

I could make a whole mix of leading local and national ladies we’ve had grace our stage and trying to select just one song is really hard. (Coming to mind is Lucy Dacus, Weyes Blood, Y La Bamba, Angel Olson, Lady Lamb, Mitski, Dead Gowns, and so many more!) This song was brand new when Vagabon played it on our stage in September of 2017 and my experience seeing Vagabon live for the first time has always been a stand out for me. The vulnerability of her voice accompanied by the downtempo croons building into crescendos of beat based choruses or huge guitar riffs thrilled and deeply moved me. The show had incredible openers: local Greef and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya who was touring with Vagabon. A perfect bill that felt like a truly interesting conversation between artists. 

Tracks 11-12
Jordan VanderBeek, Event Staff (he/they) (bandcamp)

Artist: Dear Nora
Song: “flowers fading”
Album: human futures (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: November 1, 2022 (with Greg Jamie)

When I caught Dear Nora at SPACE, I was blown away by the lyrical and musical inventiveness of the group. Flower’s Fading is a great example of this — the song is full of surprising, concrete turns that leave you feeling like you just grabbed drinks with a dear friend who always has a perfectly timed punchline to every story.

Artist: Haley Heynderickx
Song: “Oom Sha La La”
Album: I Need to Start a Garden (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: February 12, 2019 (with Andy Shauf)

At the end of this song, each time Haley Heynderickx shouted “I need to start a garden!”, it felt like she was encouraging the audience to start carving out more space for each of us needs, not to survive but to thrive.

Tracks 13-14
Carolyn Wachnicki, Designer & Exhibitions Manager (she/her)

Artist: Mal Devisa
Song: “Daisy”
Album: Kiid (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: June 4, 2018 (with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya and Family Planning)

Hauntingly beautiful bass and vocals. Mal cast a spell with a pared down and powerful solo set.

Artist: Tim Fite
Song: “Big Mistake”
Album: Fair Ain’t Fair
SPACE appearance: September 1, 2020 (among several)

In 2020, Tim performed for SPACE through a livestream and his combination of visual art and performance reeled me in. For the duration of the set I forgot we were in the throes of Covid. 

Tracks 15-16
Nick Schroeder, Communications Manager (he/him)

Artist: Mission of Burma
Song: “Academy Fight Song”
Album: Signals, Calls and Marches
SPACE appearance: Jan. 25, 2009 (with the Rattlesnakes and Huak)

I was 12 when I first heard the early ’80s hardcore punk compilation This is Boston, Not L.A. played on Jim Rand’s show on WMPG, and it changed everything. I ran out and bought records by Gang Green, Negative FX and Mission of Burma, and played them incessantly. (Burma would really catch on a little later — for a while I didn’t think it wasn’t fast enough!) Of course, Mission of Burma and their artful sophistication were always an odd fit in that scene, partly why they are still so listenable decades later. So it was a dream to see them play before a packed SPACE crowd in their surprisingly good late-aughties revival era. It helped too being blown away by local legends the Rattlesnakes and Huak, a sharp-as-hell and sorely missed post-punk group whose album still shreds.

Artist: Grouper
Song: “Traveling Through a Sea”
Album: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: June 6, 2010 (with Animal Hospital)

I was vaguely familiar with Grouper when I went to see this set, but I had no idea it would be this resonant and emotionally habitable. Going in, I think I had expected Liz Harris’s project to be something more in line with the drone/psych-wave of guitar noise emerging that decade — a lot of which is also quite good, but nowhere near as affecting, to me. This record opened a portal for accessing weird old half-decayed personal memories that still holds together today.

Tracks 17-18
Daniel Grier, Intern (they/them)

Artist: Water From Your Eyes
Song: “Adeleine”
Album: Somebody Else’s Song (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: October 30, 2022 (with Palm and Junesevere)

Seeing these folks open for Palm completely melted my brain! Totally stole the show in my opinion. A completely uncompromising group that makes incredibly refreshing music for the times.

Artist: The Snails
Song: “Barnacle on a Surfboard (Barnacle Boogie”)
Album: Songs from the Shoebox (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: March 6, 2016 (with The Texas Governor and Swamp Ass) — though of course Samuel T. Herring’s Future Islands has played here a couple times too…

Just such a fun project, hard not to smile when listening to this kind of music.

Track 19
Kris Clark, Event Staff (he/him)

Artist: Lady Lamb
Song: “Aubergine”
Album: Ripely Pine (bandcamp)
SPACE Appearance: March 2, 2013 (with Xenia Rubinos and Cuddle Magic)

One of my most memorable shows was getting to see Lady Lamb the Beekeeper [as Brunswick native Aly Spaltro went by then] live for the first time at SPACE. I had heard her on WMPG and was intrigued by her unique voice and style, which sounded so different than anyone else I had ever heard before. Her spritely performance and totally original music that night won me over and converted me to a certified fan.

Tracks 20-21
Jaina Neri, Lead House Manager (she/her)

Artist: Speedy Ortiz
Song: “Raising the Skate”
Album: Foil Deer (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: September 23, 2022 (with Yeasayer and Snake Lips)

Though I was not actually in attendance of this show due to a prior personal obligation, this show was my “oh, shit I work at SPACE Gallery moment!”. Speedy Ortiz has been on regular rotation for me since 2014. I have always admired Sadie Dupuis and to work with Sadie professionally is a real dream. Hopefully they’ll be back so I can redeem my chance! 

Artist: Wednesday
Song: “Twin Plagues”
Album: Twin Plagues (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: November 14, 2021 (with Horse Jumper of Love and They Are Gutting A Body Of Water)

I went into this show totally blind to Wednesday and I was hooked immediately. Karly Hartzman has a really amazing stage presence and very obviously loves what she does. Very high energy show, all my friends were there and it was just so much fun! 

Track 22
Peter McLaughlin, Music Programmer (he/him)

Artist: Laraaji
Song: “This Too Shall Pass”
Album: Sun Piano (bandcamp)
SPACE appearance: October 11, 2019 (with Kafari)

Laraaji’s two-day “Sun Piano” residency at SPACE in October 2019 included one of the first piano concerts he’d performed in decades— on an orange baby grand no less.  We did lunch across the street following the family concert on day two. After a curry and mango lassi, His Orangeness gave me an immense goodbye bear hug, intoned a soul-reverberating, long “Om” right into my ear, and broke into a deep belly laugh when I jumped. An earthly being he is surely not. 

SPACE Reader