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Concert Series: Billie Marten

Film Photography by: Trent "Pax" Lowder

Writing by: DeVán Whitaker

  • Artist: Billie Marten

  • Origin: North Yorkshire, England

  • Genre: Contemporary / Indie Folk

  • Notable Works: Drop Cherries (2023), Flora Fauna (2021), Feeding Seahorses by Hand (2019)

  • Venue: Wonder Ballroom (NE Portland, OR)

  • On Tour With: Half Moon Run

A brisk, dark, late October evening aligned with Billie Marten’s second trip to Portland, OR in the calendar year: this time, we venture from one McMenamins Theater to another, just across town to the beloved Wonder Ballroom in the Northeast of the city.

In the company of Half Moon Run, an indie rock, pop, and folk trio hailing from Montreal, Billie’s pillow-soft melodies flared in likeness with the headliner’s smoother stylings, while also contrasting their penchant for spurts of lively energy with her consistently mellow warmth.

What strikes you about Billie live, in comparison to the years of in-studio material she’s produced, is the subtle charm and calm charisma with which she plays her carefully handmade offerings. Her near-lifetime of musical aspirations: posting her first YouTube videos at age 12, releasing her first EP at 15, and releasing four studio albums to date, has calcified her confidence into a rock-solid aura she carries with her on stage. She’s taken an innumerable amount of stages, playing for and meeting people around the world, time and again, and it shows with every note she strums, and every lyric she whispers.

From the opener, “She Dances,” to an intimate cover of Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird” for the finale, every track was given a healthy twist that wouldn’t go unnoticed to a discerning ear. While “I’m Like a Bird” already has an acoustic version, Billie’s folkier, singer-songwriter spin on the formula was revered from wall to wall, lighting up just about every voice in the venue.

Throughout the performance, Billie displayed tact and charisma in spades, with a knack for setting a crowd at ease as they shuffled into the venue – all signs of a consummate professional at work. Having toured time and again, perfecting each milestone in her discography as it continues to grow, we couldn’t help but notice what an extensive and protruding talent she is in a live context. Furthermore, the love and care that was so apparently stored in every song she played was warmly fed back by an audience that was growing by the minute, and you couldn’t help but be, or become a fan from the moment she began.


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