Playing the first of three Colorado dates at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, Po’ Girl proved they are not only ridiculously talented musicians but that they know how to put on a great show.
Comprised of Awna Teixeira, Allison Russel, Benny Sidelinger and J.J. Jones, Po’ Girl took the stage after Harbor Collective played an opening set.
“I don’t know if you guys are ready, but we are,” Allison said.
“This song was inspired by a 26-hour drive to Colorado,” Awna said.
Drive All Night
“Last time we were here, this is our second time in Fort Collins and we’re really happy to be back,” Allison said. “Last time we were here we met the most amazing drummer and we subsequently kidnapped her and that is Colorado’s own: Miss JJ Jones!”
“This is a historic evening because this very venue is where we met her,” Awna said.
“And over here we’ve got Mr. Benny Sidelinger all the way from Wayne, Maine via Olympia, Washington,” Allison said. “Now, Benny and our wonderful tour manager, Maggie who’s back there with the merch and chili lights, Maggie is the best. Benny and Maggie, who are life partners, have a lovely place in Olympia and in their lovely place in Olympia, in the back shed, Benny builds these beautiful guitars. He build this guitar.
“I was on the plane on the way to meet the band a couple of days ago in Oklahoma and I was carrying my guitar, and another guy was carrying a guitar and we were giving each other this kind of like, ‘Yeah,” and he was like ‘So what do you play?’ and I said ‘A Sidelinger original.’ He pretended he knew what it was!” Allison laughed. “It’s like in 20 more years it’s going to be synonymous with Martin.”
“I don’t know if any of you noticed that 2000 sort of maroon-colored Chevy Astro out front with the trailer,” Allison started. “You might have noticed it’s got some character – a busted-in eye and a crushed side and stuff like that. That is due to the deer in South Dakota. She was a doe, she was a beautiful doe and we are so, so sorry. If we could take it back we would. This is for her. It’s called ‘Deer in the Night’ and I wish I never wrote the bloody song.”
Deer in the Night
“This is the most wonderful tour manager in the world, Maggie,” Allison said, as Maggie brought drink refills to the stage.
Someone in the crowd said, “I love the glockenspiel.”
“Me, too,” Awna laughed.
“That’s Gilda,” Allison said.
“We have to do at least one a set, she demands it,” Awna said.
“Gilda demands a tune, she needs her voice represented,” Allison giggled.
“I think 2009 will be the year of the glockenspiel,” Benny said. “I just want you to know that we had the glockenspiel in 2007. Just so you know, they’re all copying us. All the indie rock bands are gonna have glockenspiels.”
“We thought we’d one-up them by getting a bassoon,” Awna said. “Copy that.”
There was some discussion about if anyone knew anyone with a bassoon or bass clarinet to let them know.
“Wouldn’t that be hot?” Awna asked. “A bassoon?”
“We made a record, not long ago,” she continued. “And the gentleman who was mixing it thought that this next song was about huffing gas. It really isn’t, so I just wanted to clear that up before we started, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.”
“Po’ Girl does not condone gasoline huffing,” Allison added.
“Even though it’s a lot cheaper now,” Awna quipped.
“It’s back to being the cheapest high available,” Benny said.
A little toddler had been walking towards the drums during the song. Allison said, “I have a prediction that young Kale is going to be a drummer, so you’re going to be even more exhausted. He was like ‘Just let me a the drum kit, Mom!'”
“Did everybody see what his shirt said?” Awna asked. “‘My parents are exhausted.’ It’s the best shirt I’ve seen in so long.
“There are a lot of amazing things that come out of what we do. There are a lot of hard things too. We miss out a lot on the little people in our lives, they grow up without us.”
“Our friends’ children, she’s talking about,” Allison clarified. “We’re not abandoning our own, we don’t have any kids. But we miss out on our friends’ children.”
“This song was written in the middle of nowhere, in a puddle, waiting for a bus that never came and I was feeling really sorry for myself,” Awna said.
Old Mountain Line
“So I understand we just missed the snowfall,” Allison said, referring to the several feet of snow the area had received in the last few weeks. “I’ve gotten wimpy, I grew up in Montreal and I realized that half of my family was from a tropical island and I decided I should probably try to escape winter whenever possible.”
“I’m really lucky, I come from a long line of sugar cane farmers and grave diggers,” Awna said. “Hard, hard working people. Back in the old country, in Portugal, on the small island where my family is from – it’s 500 miles west of Morocco. If you’re poor, you’re only allowed to stay in the ground for about 4 1/2 years after you die because they need the plots for rich people. But the Catholics need to be buried to pass on to heaven, so it was really interesting to go there and go to where my grandparents and my great-grandparents used to be buried. I’m just not used to that kind of thing.”
“So do they figure that 4 years was enough to pass through the pearly gates?” Allison asked.
“So this song is inspired by my family’s immigration to Canada,” Awna said.
“Awna Teixiera and Sofia the Accordion!” Allison said.
“So thank you so much for joining us on a school night, I know it’s getting late but thanks for sticking around,” Awna said.
Allison practiced her “monster voice” while some tuning took place and then said, “We love Brianna Lane and Cahalen David Morrison.”
One Little City
“Most of these songs we’re playing are from our new CD, which is called ‘Deer in the Night,'” Benny said. “We recorded it in Austin, Texas last July… July or June, one of those ‘J’ months. And we’re very happy about it, and Maggie would love nothing more than to sell you a copy of it. We don’t care if you buy one or not but Maggie cares, a lot. And you don’t want to piss her off, trust me.”
“It’s a blessing every morning to wake up and your head is still there,” Awna said during some more tuning.
“What Awna said is true,” Benny said. “I always do a little assessment, when I wake up. My dreams are really messed up, so I feel crazy every day when I wake up. It takes me a couple minutes to figure out, ‘Yes, one more day and I’m somewhat sane’ which is always a relief. It takes awhile, but I am thankful and I give thanks shortly thereafter and then I have breakfast.”
Awna said, “What was that?”
“Nothing, I was just covering while you’re tuning,” Benny said.
Dig Me A Hole
“For those of you who’ve never seen one before this is a bucket bass,” Awna said.
“Her name is Cayenne and she comes from Mexico,” Allison added. “And her prototype derives from African origin, from what is now Cameroon. The Baka people, who were like the first Cameroons, they invented the first gut bucket but they called it the ‘earth bow.’ Then it got brought to the Americas with the slaves and now Awna plays it. We brought in back to Cameroon in 2007 and everyone calls her ‘Miss Baka Bass.'”
“We’ve had a couple of requests for this song earlier in the evening, and we always oblige,” Allison said. “This was written by a dear friend of ours who, if any of you fancies a road trip, his band, his wonderful band, JT and the Clouds, will be joining us for our New Mexico shows. They’re the 23rd through the 25th. And it’s going to be wonderful. JT Nero wrote this song, if you ever get the chance to see him, don’t miss it. We love it and recorded it back in 2007.”
‘Til It’s Gone
“Thanks so much, we’ve got a couple more songs for you,” Allison said. “It’s been a pleasure joining you tonight, it was a pleasure having Brianna and Cahalen with us, that was just… it made our night.”
“Thanks so much you guys,” Allison said. “We’re gonna end with an oldie written by the late, great Miss Elizabeth Cotten.”
“What altitude are we at?” Awna asked. “Those ‘ooo’s’ were just getting me. And now they’re gonna make me do this thing that might actually make me fall over. I almost did, in Santa Fe one time.”
A lady in the crowd offered that she knew CPR, to which Awna said, “Oh, good. They actually do provide us with oxygen in Santa Fe. No shit. So when us lowlanders come, they provide us with oxygen tanks. It’s delightful, it actually really helps.”
“You feel pretty cool,” Benny said. “Very David Lynch.”
Gone in Pawn
After a short break they came back on stage for one last song.
“You guys are awesome,” Benny said.
“And now they’re gonna make me do that thing,” Awna said, putting on her harmonica and making the sign of the cross.
“We’re gonna play you a song for happy partings,” Allison said. “It’s kind of a traditional farewell song, though it’s not a traditional song.”
“What’s she saying?” Awna asked.
“I’m just mumbling,” Allison laughed. “Talking to the tuner.”
“She said she loves you guys,” Awna said.
“Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen,” Awna said. “Please have a lovely evening and drive home safe. See you next time.”