We all were “bloodied from the brawl” delivered by Chris Porterfield’s new project Field Report. They’re onslaught of subtle quiet melodies and interweaving dynamic song delivery eased the Pittsburgh crowd into a pure listening den. All settled in for the their short but fantastic set. Judging by the interactive eye contact, and acknowledging movement of the band, they were on a mission to let the songs be their vehicle on this spectacular evening at Stage AE. Porterfield doesn’t rely on singularity or front man disease. It would be hard to do with Counting Crows captain, Adam Duritz, sitting like a proud patriarch stage left during the whole set. He sees the quality of the canvas that his band provides. Porterfield was ready to mix the sonic palette with lulling colors.
Years ago when the rest of Eau Claire band Deyarmond Edison – a band which also featured Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and future Megafaun members – pulled up the stakes and decided to relocate to North Carolina, Porterfield made the decision to set up shop in Milwaukee with local talent and Field Report was formed. Field Report, recorded and live, features Porterfield, who also plays guitar, Nick Berg on keys, Travis Whitty on bass, Damian Strigens on drums, Jeff Mitchell on baritone guitar, and Ben Lester on pedal steel.
One doesn’t require keen investigative skills to realize the evidence of a caring band. Songs should be nurtured and allowed to materialize over time. In discussions with FR, prior to their show, we talked about the process of writing and playing “small ball”. Using the baseball analogy FR doesn’t look for the “long ball”. “The songs require a quiet delivery”, states Porterfield. He also states that the band ” tries to remember who they are” and realizes that sometimes it’s harder to hold back and fold to the temptation of playing loud. They remain true to the songs in live setting as well. They eased into their set and recognized the quiet pocket within minutes of their first number. The audience was absorbed into Porterfield’s storytelling while the band locked down the soundtrack. Lyrical strengths abound with songs like “I Am Not Waiting Anymore”. (lyrics below)
I am red in tooth and claw God’s favorite child, bloodied from the brawl This bitterness was killing me all along I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore
Blowing through time like nickel slots in a windowless room, on a credit card: flash it like a semaphore- a vague, drafty metaphor- I am not waiting anymore
I’ve been a keen eyed observer of the movements of concentric parts of bodies of bones and breasts and unmapped chambers of hearts
Sand in hand has turned to glass a Jeroboam filled with a life that’s passed Toss it off the balcony and listen for the crash I am not waiting anymore
I spent eight long years working on my screenplay it’s a teen movie with young actresses that plays to the middle aged
I have read between the lines I have been wrong every time It burned up on the alter, but I am fine I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore
Field Report has been very gracious of the experience of touring with The Counting Crows. Adam Duritz and his crew have acted as a supportive family for the band. The relationship certainly exemplifies the good karma of a man who uses his fame to pay it forward. A lesson all of us can learn to appreciate and model ourselves after. We anxiously await their new release due to drop in September. Field Report will be playing a hand full of dates with the Counting Crows and some on their own. Catch them if you can.
Ian Eldge for Pittsburgh Music Magazine