Beats are deep, down on Grant Street by Emily Burnham
Published 03/18/2012 in Bangor Daily News
We regret to inform you that Grant Street Orchestra will be taking a long hiatus at the end of June. Yes, we realize that this has happened once before, but this time it's a bit different as a couple of our members are moving out of state indefinitely. So, what does this mean for you, our dedicated fans? Don't fret. GSO will be going out in proper style! On Saturday, June 30th we will be having our farewell show at Empire Dine and Dance! But wait, that's not all. We will also be releasing a brand new full length album of all our new material at the show! So, be sure to mark your calendar, tell all your friends, and prepare for an awesome night and some fresh new GSO tunes! See you on the 30th!
We are currently putting our summer concerts list together, so keep your ear to the ground are get ready from some awesome summer-time shows! Until then, enjoy this video of one of our favorite cover songs.
Beats are deep, down on Grant Street by Emily Burnham
Published 03/18/2012 in Bangor Daily News
Grant Street Orchestra Passionately Late self-released by Chris Busby
Published 11/17/2011 in The Bollard
"Passionately Late" album review in the Portland Phoenix by Sam Pfeifle
Published 10/11/2011 in The Portland Phoenix
Best R&B/Soul/Blues Act in Portland by Phoenix Staff
Published 06/14/2011 in The Portland Phoenix
By Emily Burnham
By Rachel Curit
Portland favorite Grant Street Orchestra played a concert at Kingman’s, Old Town’s newest hot spot, on Jan. 14.
Grant Street Orchestra is a Portland, Maine-based band formed in February 2009. In the fall of that year, they were nominated as “Best New Artist” in the We Push Buttons Awards, presented by the Milled Pavement Records label in Portland.
Last year, they were named the best “R&B, Soul, Blues act” by the Portland Phoenix. GSO released its debut full-length album, “Passionately Late,” and just months later unveiled their single “The Hood, the Badass, and the Funky,” in October and December of 2011, respectively.
GSO is a seven-piece ensemble with a typical set-up of guitar, bass and drums but with added saxophone, trumpet and upright bass. Interestingly, one singer even played a light bulb as an instrument; it had a whiny, synthesizer-like sound and lit up the stage like a Christmas tree.
The band spans multiple genres, owing their sound to a variety of musical disciplines and describing themselves as “a hip-hop band with major funk and rock undertones.” With jazzy instrumentals, rapped vocals and on-stage enthusiasm, it’s clear the members of GSO are passionate about their music — and that the audience is passionate about them, too.
At their 11 p.m. to nearly 1 a.m. performance at Kingman’s, the band played two sets of about eight songs each. To the untrained ear, their songs may all have sounded the same, but upon further investigation on YouTube and iTunes, it is clear that each of their songs has gained its own identity.
As usual, some songs stood out more than others, such as “City of Cracks.” One band member described it as their version of a love ballad, though not “too sappy.” It opens with a slow, extended instrumental intro, one that settled the dancing of the audience. During the concert the crowd began to stand and calmly appreciate its sound.
Another highlight was “Joaquin Phoenix,” whose beginning was slow enough that it could be sung along with after hearing the chorus only a few times. It was the sort of earworm that will find its way into students’ heads during particularly boring classes.
The smooth saxophone in “As Time Goes By” conjures imagery of a classy jazz lounge, and its rap verse changed the feel of the song without distracting from the instrumentals — one of GSO’s most appealing features and one that refuses to be ignored.
“Instrumentally, the group was tight with a particularly talented saxophone player,” said Evan LeBrun, a transfer student at the University of Maine.
Despite the audience’s small and intimate size, those who were there headed straight to the dance floor and left only during intermission. The crowd was enthusiastic about both the music and their own dancing, and seemed to have a great time.
“I heard about Grant Street Orchestra at the show,” LeBrun said. “I went with some friends to what I was told was going to be a funk show because I wanted to dance. They consistently played what I found to be interesting, entertaining and real danceable tunes.”
Grant Street Orchestra doesn’t play the type of music normally showcased on the radio but has a unique and instantly captivating sound. College is a time for trying new things — and listening to something that doesn’t sound like everyone else’s music is refreshing, to say the least.
By Emily Pappas
Portland’s mastermind hip-hop crew, Grant Street Orchestra, recently released a new single in honor of their upcoming show this NYE at the Asylum. Titled The Hood, the Badass, and the Funky, the new track is not only named appropriately- it gives listeners a preview of what the band is really all about- a smooth, upbeat sound, that blends horns, thumping beats, and rhymes that create clever, and compelling stories. In other words, GSO’s new single is too cool for school. After all, the opening of the song contains the lyrics: “The Grant Street Orchestra is back- back with a fresh set of funky tracks. Times have changed, but the rhymes remain supreme, still pushin’ against the grain.”
By Chris Busby
The funk/rap hybrid Grant Street Orchestra has released a debut album that answers this burning question: Is GSO a funk group fronted by two MCs or a hip hop duo with a live backing band?
Passionately Late proves they’re the former, which is not a bad thing to be. But if they sounded more like the latter, this above-average white band could be the Average White Band of our time.
Grant Street started three years ago, when the duo of MC Mint and guitarist Andy Barbo teamed up to do some open-mic gigs. They gradually added players — including a two-piece horn section of trumpet and tenor and another MC, I-Kue — and now they’re a seven-piece. There’s room for a few more, like trombonist Erin Burns, who joins the guys on two songs and fits right in. The two tracks co-produced by Doubletone and the scratches and samples here and there show that a DJ would be a fine addition as well.
The playing is tight. Straightforward funk cuts like “Joaquin Phoenix” and “In Check” alternate with jazzy, groovier numbers (“As Time Goes By,” “City of Cracks”). The aggressive rock-rap track “Night Writer” fuckin’ kills. “Lurkin’” starts slinky, then lifts off and gains intensity halfway through. It’s an impressive song, and you gotta love the local name-checks — Becky’s Diner, 3 G’s Tire.
MCs Mint and I-Kue do a solid job throughout, but their interplay is still a work in progress. The more they get comfortable passing the mic and establishing their own identities, the better this band will be. Passionately Late is a solid foundation from which to fly.
— Chris Busby
By Aimsel Ponti
Grant Street Orchestra is a Portland-based, seven-piece hip-hop band. But wait, it's also a funk band. And a rock band. With guitars, horns, bass, drums and two MCs, GSO has earned its stripes across a spectrum of genres, culminating with the release of its debut CD, "Passionately Late." With an unofficial mantra of "We are here to make people move and to move people," vocalist Jeff "Mint" Griecci and guitarist Andy Barbo break it all down.
By Sam Pfeifle
Live, band-driven hip hop is a lot of fun and it's no wonder Portland has embraced Grant Street Orchestra, who this week make the Big Easy party central for the release their debut full-length Passionately Late. Harking back to early-'90s hip hop, with some contemporary underground flavor, it's an album that does well to translate the band's on-stage energy and sounds great in the headphones.
GSO ride two primary strengths: The chemistry of co-MCs Mint and I-Kue and the pop of Henry Redman's sax and Geoff Zimmerman's trumpet in the horn section. They manage to ride the low rumble of Jurassic 5's sound, keeping interest high with deliveries that switch up and jump on top of each other, alongside the high-end of classic Motown soul and big band. There's a smooth rolling introduction to "As Time Goes By," out as a single for some time, which morphs into the kind of acid jazz Guru made popular. "Boris Karloff" features interesting rhythms created by the chaotic drumming of Charlie Sichterman (also in This Way), which refuses to settle into a backbeat and brings the band up to a pretty great instrumental break late, just as a gang vocal makes everything primal and guttural.
"Phone Sex" is probably the standout track, though, with an Andy Barbo guitar riff, muted until a full jailbreak that might remind anyone who hung around Burlington, Vermont, in the early '90s of the underappreciated Belizbeha, who were similarly constructed. Mint and I-Kue are sharp and witty and the band build behind them into a finish that's as much rock as anything else.
If anything, Grant Street just might lack a little substance. As they say in "In Check," which reminds of Del the Funky Homosapien, "we're all about fun," and that does come through — these guys are definitely a good time — but I felt like a couple of songs could use a little more grit. Songs where Portland is so prominently featured, like "City of Cracks," could use a little more underbelly, and a little less pine tree state.
But maybe that's unfair. It's probably just best to enjoy a band that deliver with a smile in their voice and can comfortably rhyme "scooter" with "Macintosh computer" and stop being so damn heady all the time. If you want underbelly and cynicism, just pay attention to the real world for a few minutes.
Sam Pfeifle can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
PASSIONATELY LATE | Released by Grant Street Orchestra | with Sandbag + Model Airplane | at the Big Easy, in Portland | Oct 14 | grantstreetorchestra.com
By Phoenix Staff
"Portland hasn't been to this kind of party since Rustic in their prime. Though they got write-in votes in a bunch of different categories, GSO take home their first Bimpie for helping in large part to resurrect Portland's R&B circuit over the last few years. Grant Street are a big, funky unit that imagines what George Clinton might have sounded like if he grew up in Parkside, blending '90s alt-rock, '70s soul, and smooth, modern, party-minded rhymes. Consider the set-up: two MCs fronting a five-piece horn-and-rhythm section. It's a rare band that can juggle this many big personalities without stepping on each other's toes, but it's exactly that sort of loose, egoless, anything-goes mentality that keeps GSO ticking. In the words of Mint (or maybe it's I-Kue): "I'm not a rapper or a master of ceremonies; I'm just a kid with a laptop and a fat dictionary." You can't be a soul band without being honest."
Grant Street Orchestra is a seven piece Hip Hop band, with major funk and rock undertones. Hailing from Portland Maine, the group’s personality shines through in their exciting, high energy music. From funk'ed up guitars to blazing horns it's no wonder they are one of Portland's top live acts.
G.S.O. was formed in February 2009 bringing together some of the areas best musicians, sharing the stage with Portland's top musical talent's and packing venues ever since. In the fall of 2009 the band was nominated as "Best New Artist" in the We Push Buttons Awards, put on by local label Milled Pavement Records. In the summer of 2011 the band received more local recognition when they were awarded best "R&B, Soul, Blues act" by local arts and entertainment publication, The Portland Phoenix.
G.S.O. has played at nearly every live venue Portland has to offer. From the legendary Big Easy, to the grand Port City Music Hall. The group’s first single "As Time Goes By" was released in the summer of 2010 and enjoys success on local radio. G.S.O. has just released their first full length debut album, "Passionately Late", and are currently scheduling and playing shows around New England.
Jefferey Griecci - Vocals
Jared Burst - Vocals
Andy Barbo - Guitar
Geoff Zimmerman - Guitar/Trumpet
Henry Redman - Sax/Keys
Peter Eberhardt - Bass
Charlie Sichterman - Drums