NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

August 22, 2013

'A remarkable ride'

The Brew says goodbye with Amesbury concert this weekend

By Ann Reily
Features Editor

---- — As far as breakups go, this one is as amicable as it gets.

After 11 years, Amesbury-based independent rock band The Brew is signing off. But there is no juicy story behind the split; the four members simply agree that it’s time to move on.

“We feel like we’ve given The Brew everything we can,” keyboardist Chris Plante said. “It’s completely mutual. It’s been a remarkable ride as far as we’re concerned.”

“Ending the band at the height of our musicality and our skills is the way I want it to be,” guitarist Dave Drouin said. “We really did achieve everything we set out to do.”

That includes several live and studio albums, more than 1,000 shows nationwide, and a few reinventions. Along the way, the band has built up a loyal fan base that is sad to see it all come to an end.

“The only reason we lasted this long is because” of the fans, who have stuck with the group as it reinvented itself “about every 16 months,” said Drouin, 28.

“We went from being like a totally quirky jam band into more of a Beatles-style pop-rock band to a local, vocally driven band,” he said. “We’re addicted to the renaissance.”

“It’s gotten more sophisticated and based around meaningful songwriting,” said Plante, 30.

The band isn’t planning to go quietly: It will play a huge farewell show this Saturday night at Amesbury Sports Park.

Concertgoers can expect to hear songs that span the entire career of the band, which also includes bassist Joe Plante, Chris’ brother, and drummer Aaron Zaroulis, who replaced original drummer Kelly Kane last year.

The three sets will encompass “a huge selection from the over 81 original songs we’ve recorded,” Chris Plante said. “A lot of the songs we choose will be songs we haven’t played in over five years.”

That’s good news to John Marciano, director of the Lowell Summer Music Series, who has worked as a promoter for the band since 2003. He’s particularly hoping to hear songs from The Brew’s first two CDs, “Tea Time” and “Deja Brew.”

“What these guys have done in 10-plus years is amazing,” Marciano said. “It’s just been a great evolution, a great ride.”

The Brew opened for Michael McDonald in the Lowell series last month, a show that was attended by Matt Phipps, music director and “Afternoon Drive” host at Boston radio station The River 92.5. Phipps was sitting next to McDonald during The Brew’s set when the singer turned to him and said, “These guys are pretty good.”

“They got the approval from Michael McDonald, which is a pretty darn good thing to have,” Phipps said.

The River is well-acquainted with The Brew, playing its songs for the past few years and featuring the band at last year’s Riverfront Festival in Newburyport. The station often gets requests from The Brew’s fans, and the band’s song “Into the Remembering Sun” was in The River’s countdown of the top 92 songs last year.

“It’s a shame to see them go,” Phipps said. “I’m holding out hope that maybe it’s a little break, and they realize that they’ve got something special together. I’m sure The River listeners are hoping the same thing, too.”

But Drouin squashes any talk of a reunion down the line. While he and Plante both agree that they will likely play together again, they don’t plan to ever perform any songs by The Brew after Saturday’s show.

“We want to wipe the slate clean for ourselves and our musical integrity,” Drouin said.

The band’s manager, Dana Marshall, said she is going to miss the “day-to-day, week-to-week kind of scenarios” the most.

“We’ve just had a really wonderful time, both professionally and personally,” she said. “Their music has grown to a level where I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Both Drouin and Plante said they are unsure what the future holds, though both plan to stay in the music business.

“We all have, believe it or not, bigger ambitions,” Plante said.

“I’m looking forward to a nice, open road in front of me,” Drouin said. “I know something cool’s gonna happen, because something cool always does.”

If you go

What: The Brew’s final show

When: Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Amesbury Sports Park, 12 S. Hunt Road

How much: $20, payable at the door or online at TheBrew.biz

More information: Show is 18-plus, and food and alcohol will be available to purchase. A VIP after-party will be held inside the park’s Corner Kick Pub, featuring an acoustic set. Tickets for that event are $5 and can be purchased during the concert.

Win tickets

The band is giving away 10 tickets to Saturday’s show, with winners chosen tomorrow morning. For details on how to enter, visit The Brew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheBrewMusic.