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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Blog with Aimsel Ponti
Posted: August 20, 2014

3 different and wonderful musical experiences, 1 night (tonight!)

Bombadil is, from left, Daniel Michalak, Stuart Robinson and James Philips.

Bombadil is, from left, Daniel Michalak, Stuart Robinson and James Philips.

Here’s a show with three acts that are all worth seeing tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 21. The headliner is Kishi Bashi and the two openers are Bombadil and Heidemann. I’ll start with Heidemann and work my way to Kishi Bashi.

Heidemann was most recently the lead singer in the electronic pop act Xylos and is now a solo artist playing her bass and singing her heart out. She’s set to drop her first EP, “Orphan,” on Sept. 2. On Twitter (@HEIDEMANNmusic) she describes herself as a “singer, writer of song and lover of sound, dancy, trancy and deep.”

Twitter led me to her Soundcloud page ( where I listened to the track “Swords.” The song is a full-on trip into electronica that’s bass-heavy and vocally awesome courtesy of Heidemann’s smoky pipes. I’m pretty sure I heard a laser beam at one point being fired. First I wanted to fly into outer space and see what’s out there, then I wanted to flop around in a black light-lit bounce house wearing a dozen glow necklaces with a dozen like-minded friends.

I look forward to hearing the rest of “Orphan” because if “Swords” is any indication, I’ll be a very happy new fan. You can, of course, also find her at

The second opener is the North Carolina-based electric folk trio Bombadil. They’re on tour in support of the vinyl reissue of their 2009 “Tarpits and Canyonlands” album. Bombadil is Bryan Rahija, James Phillips, Stuart Robinson and Daniel Machalak. This tour is a big deal for the band because when the album was first released, they were unable to tour. Machalak, who plays keys, bass, harmonica, guitar and ukulele, had been diagnosed with neural tension and could barely function, let alone play his instruments or go on tour.

Time and a zillion visits to many different doctors put Machalak back together. The album is finally getting its proper due, and it’s certainly worthy. “Tarpits” contains 15 songs beginning with the gorgeous “I Am.” It’s only a minute and a half long, and I played it four times in a row in an enchanted state of music appreciation.

“Reasons” was the next one that wrapped itself around me and held me close: “But if I ever wonder why I love you, just open up one bright brown eye and I will surely find that the way I feel inside will sure remind me who it is that makes the butterflies within my stomach twist and turn and dive.” With a gentle acoustic guitar backdrop, vocals shine from the entire band. Said another way, with tongue in cheek, move over, Mumford.

Then there’s “So Many Ways to Die” which gave me a Simon & Garfunkel-esque chill. Don’t let the title fool you, the song is surprisingly uplifting, even through some angsty lyrics, thanks to unexpected visits from a cello, organ-sounding keys and the fast strum of an acoustic guitar. The song builds momentum and then ends cold. I love it. If you’re a fan of acoustic music with outstanding vocal harmonies and songs that venture in and out of folk, Bombadil could very well be your next favorite band.

I’ll end with a few words about the headliner, Kishi Bashi, also known as Kaoru Ishibashi. Bashi’s live shows are known for his incredible looping and musical sorcery with his voice and violin. His latest record “Lighght” was released in May on Joyful Noise Recordings. It didn’t take too many songs to realize that Bashi’s got something very special going on. The violin invited me in and everything else kept me interested. The listening experience was so many things all at once: fun, satisfying, soothing, electrifying,creatively glorious and musically eloquent.

Wow. This is one heck of a night of live music. Three different experiences await you and, I might add, the tickets are only $14. I predict that all three of these acts will continue to make their marks on the musical landscape. Here’s your chance to bear witness to it all on one stage.

Kishi Bashi with Bombadil and Heidemann. 8 p.m. Thursday. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland $14, 18-plus;

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