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Brewery Sessions brings together quite the attentive group to Wormwood Park for some acoustic sessions and a good beer. This night brought Portland’s Balto to the little greenery amongst the industrial Boston Harbor.
Balto offered material from October’s Road and their most recent album, Monuments, for some nostalgia and wishing. Playing folk-based music, the band found the crowd with their way of fleshing out ideas with their warm tones on the upright bass and conversational guitar lines. Everything just pulled together to make a clear environment.
As planes roared overhead on their way in and out of Logan, everyone stayed quiet and close enough to feel an impact of the music. Appropriately, Balto played “Airplanes” after they waited for a close one to pass. “I spent my youth, waiting in airports, convinced of a purpose,” vocalist Sheron sang.
The sorrow before the hope in each song made for a heavy build up. Sheron’s purpose in pulling out these layers was to make sense of things for himself. Balto began with Sheron isolating himself in the vast landscape of Russia, where he wrote introspective songs about his life experiences while in a totally unfamiliar place. When he moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2010, he banded friends together to make something out of all the layers. Now, Sheron and the band live in Portland, OR, but still find the initial inspiration from this trip to Siberia and just the willingness to step back from everything to reach in and figure it all out.
The nature of the material made for some vocally emotional moments which defined certain songs. One reoccurring moment of Sheron’s is when he slides out of his heavier voice, reaching breathy high notes that highlight certain words. It’s something that not only makes for interesting harmonies with the rest of the tones of the band, but also brings back focus to the roots of the song.
That night in Wormwood Park, people gave their full attention to experience the care Sheron poured into all his work. In a park full of friends, neighbors, and nearby workers, the pure interest in music made the night something worth noting. Before the band continued with their national touring, they had the chance to enchant twenty or so Bostonians who hold Balto’s music up as something worth an intent listen on a summer night.