Communication: A Gig Reflection

I’m going to tell you about a gig I just did. I’m going to refer to the organizer and the venue by pseudonym because my point here is not to shame anyone or try and ruin anyone’s reputation, but a) to illustrate how important communication is in putting on a show and b) to frankly just process this and get it off my chest. I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief at how…weird the whole thing was.

I met this dude on Twitter who was something of a promoter and all-around indie music supporter. He was really great about retweeting links to my music. Whenever someone asked for new music to check out, he would reply with a list of local, unknown musicians like myself. He was probably the most engaged with my music of anyone else I messed with on Twitter. That’s why when he DM’d me in February asking if I wanted to take part in an anti-bullying benefit show at The Middle East, I was all over it. It was a joint effort with Filthybroke Recordings, who’d put out an anti-bullying compilation.

The first hiccup happened about a month after the initial announcement of the show. The Booker contacted me via DM again to let me know that the date and venue had changed. I wasn’t too thrown by that, since the new date wasn’t until July (and it was March at the time). My bandmates confirmed that they could do the new date, and we were on again.

For months nothing much else happened in regards to this event. Then it was 1 week until the show and I decided to start promoting. (I typically wait until at least 1-2 weeks before a show to promote because it’s my personal belief that any earlier and people will get promotion-fatigue, and are more likely to forget.) I went to The Booker’s Facebook page to get the details about the show for my own promo, and was surprised to find that all the anti-bullying language had been removed, and it now said that it was a benefit for The Venue.

It’s A Benefit, Don’t Worry About It

I was not excited to find out that the whole purpose of this show had changed. A change like this warrants reaching out to the bands and letting us know about it. We should have had an opportunity to decide whether or not we wanted to still participate. The Venue is a not-for-profit performance and art space that is apparently in dire need of money, but bands should have been given a say in whether or not they wanted to freely give their time and money for it. I considered pulling out but with 1 week to go I figured it’d be a shitty move so I stayed on the bill.

The Devil’s in the Details

When I book a show with WEMF I know that as soon as the lineup is confirmed I will get an email. The email will have the lineup, set times, set lengths, load-in time, and details about compensation. There was no such communication from The Booker about this show. Lacking that info I finally reached out to The Booker to get this info. He told me there were no set times, but that one band had requested to play at 9pm. A lineup of 6 (it started off as 10) bands, and no lineup? Never have I played a show with multiple bands that did not have the lineup figured out. I just asked to go on at 9:30 since the set length was 30 minutes.

These 2 things started to make me feel a little nervous about the show. I figured what the hell though. Do it anyway, keep an open mind, it’ll be interesting at least. I was a little miffed about the beneficiary being changed without notice, but I was willing to put that aside. Honestly, it’s not like we draw a huge audience and were missing out on hundreds of dollars. It was just the principle. Again, I wasn’t about to pull out 1 week before the show though. That’s just rude.

6pm Saturday night, me and the guys are loading in our stuff as instructed. The Booker isn’t there yet, but one of the other performers (someone else I knew via Twitter; we’ll call him Act 1) was there. Here’s where things get a little messy. My drummer had been mulling all of this over and getting increasingly annoyed by it. I think there are 2 parts to it: 1 is that he had offered to waive his normal performance fee for me because he thought it was a benefit for something that he cared about, and now it wasn’t, and 2) he really objected to how the whole thing was handled.

Side note:

A few weeks back my company held a big meeting of all the engineers and one of the break-out sessions was about communication, specifically about identifying your style of communication and using that knowledge to more effectively communicate with others. The communication styles were categorized into colors, and mine was blue. One of the traits of “blues” is that we “Avoid issues that might end up in conflict or debate” and are very concerned about how others perceive us.

In the context of this show it meant that I wasn’t willing to make a stink about things because I didn’t want to come across as a bitch, or worse (because I’m Black) have people write me off as An Angry Black Woman. My drummer, however, wanted some answers and asked my permission to get them. I don’t know if I did the right thing here or not. I gave him the go-ahead, because I felt he had the right to inquire about it because it affected his money, and I could tell it was eating at him. I’d offered to pay him after all but he felt like he’d already told me he wouldn’t charge me so he didn’t want to go back on that.

Back to the Devil…

He proceeded to ask Act 1 about the situation. It turned out that Act 1 knew quite a bit about it because he’d been involved to some extent in organizing it. Long story short, there was a personal falling out of some kind between The Label, The Booker, and some 3rd party Promoter. The Booker decided to put on his own show, but felt he couldn’t keep it as an anti-bullying benefit. At that point my drummer is asking questions like, “Why didn’t you guys let people know that?”, “Why didn’t you just change it to a regular show that charges people money?”, “Why didn’t you pick a different charity to donate to?”

He asked the same questions when he finally met The Booker. The answers were about the same with a little more detail, and just getting my drummer more pissed. He told The Booker that he was being disingenuous in not being forthcoming about the changes. He was also upset on behalf of the other performers, especially this band from Nashville that was on tour. They asked for donations for gas, and he ultimately convinced The Venue to give them some money at least.

The feedback that I shared with The Booker was that I thought the communication was poorly handled. He seemed genuinely remorseful about it, like things hadn’t gone the way he’d planned. At the end of talking with him I essentially said, “You know what? It happened, we’re here, it’s about the music, so let’s play and have a good time.” I was ready to move on from it.

 

It’s a Free-For-All

9pm came and instead of the band we’d been expecting to go on, someone else performed. This made me suspicious, so I found The Booker and said, “We’re still good for 9:30, right?” Glad I checked. He’d told Band A that they could go on next. Luckily, Band A was cool and said sure, you can go on at 9:30. Then Band B showed up, pretty persistent about going on at 9:30 because one of their members was sick. I wanted The Booker to handle this scheduling situation, but he just looked uncomfortable. I didn’t want to look like an asshole, so I gave in and let Band B go on at 9:30. Then they were done, and Band A stepped in and went next. We’d gotten pushed back two times.

The thing is, we seemed to be the only ones annoyed by this. The band with the sick dude was like “Things run behind schedule, it happens.” That made me feel like I was being unreasonable in expecting that they would have gone on at their allotted slot of 9pm. Frankly, I don’t even think this was a case of “things running behind schedule.” I think it was a direct result of there not being a schedule. It also seemed that most of the other acts had worked with The Booker before and were accustomed to things being run this way. One of the performers told us of how he actually didn’t get to go on at all one time because they ran out of time. They were all very “chill” about it.

By the time we went on, all of the other bands had left, save for one guy from the group that played before us. He stayed for our first 3 songs and then also left. Luckily there was this nice couple who stayed through the entire thing and seemed to dig it. If not for them, we’d have been playing to an entirely empty room. We tried to make the best of it and played our hearts out like we were in a packed venue. I still felt disappointed in how things had turned out.

We packed up our stuff and started heading out. I told the doorman (who also happens to run The Venue) that we were the last people inside. He seemed surprised and asked, “Isn’t there another band going on after you?” Nope. Yeah, the flyer says it goes until 1am, but here it was 10:30 or so and everything was over. The Booker? He’d left at least an hour and a half ago. We saw him walking away with the Act 1 while the band with the sick dude was setting up. We thought he was just helping the guy load out, but we never saw him again. Ghost.

Lessons

I can’t control how someone runs their shows. I can be more involved and ask questions early. I don’t know when the benefit was changed but if I had been periodically checking the event maybe I’d have caught it sooner. If I had asked about the lineup and scheduling sooner I’d have gotten a sense of the way he runs his shows; I could have made a decision about if that was cool or not for me.

I don’t shoulder all of the blame for this though. Having a scheduled lineup, communicating with the performers about changes, any number of small things like that could have made this better. And leaving before the show was over? I played one other show where the promoter ghosted before everything was done. I haven’t tried to book with her since. I’m sure she’s heart-broken. 🙂

I’m trying very hard not to slag The Booker (or The Venue). His heart is in the right place and he truly cares about his music community. Everyone you talk to tells you what a nice guy he is, and my own interactions with him have been nothing but positive. I’m thinking though that he should get someone else to organize his shows. Or maybe not. This was clearly not our scene. We were the odd ducks here. Maybe that’s why no one else stayed.

Either way, it was a learning experience.

 

-SC

You’ll Understand When You’re Older

heartA couple of weekends ago the Mrs. and I went to The Xfinity Center to see Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick—listed not in order of performance but in order of importance to me. In fact, the order of performance was exactly opposite. Anyway, this was an old school rock adventure for us. We had both seen Heart during their Red Velvet Car a couple of years ago, and had also seen Joan Jett do a short set at Atlanta Pride many years back, so we were looking forward to seeing them again, but we’ve never seen Cheap Trick. Admittedly, I wasn’t very familiar with Cheap Trick’s catalog—at least I thought I wasn’t. Turns out they have a gang of songs that I “know”.

Needless to say it was an excellent show! These folks are all professionals, they’ve pretty much perfected their stage show over the decades that they’ve been performing, so there was no disappointment there. All 3 bands had new material out, but they mostly stuck with playing their oldies. It’s gotta be challenging, you know, being a band with a strong catalog and trying to bring new material to the table during a show like this. Every time anyone played a new song you could see the wave as people started to sit down, waiting for the next song that they know. I mean, in all fairness to the crowd some of their musical styles don’t translate well to today’s music. We tried to listen to the new Cheap Trick on the way to the show and it was hard. Joan Jett played a tune called “TMI” that kinda had me like “Huh?”.

One of the things that kind of struck me as I was listening to them play some of their earlier tunes—I’m talking 70s era—was how there was a time when I didn’t like these older songs. I was introduced to Heart via 1985’s self-titled Heart album. Check out this cover:


heartalbum

Yeesh. I LOVED this album. After I was done devouring it I decided to go out and get some of their older stuff with zero idea of what I was getting into. I had no idea that the Heart I had found was a fairly new beast. I wound up getting Dog and Butterfly, and I was like, “WTF is this? What’s with all of this acoustic shit?” I tossed that sucker aside quickly and went back to listening to “What About Love”.

Somewhere down the line though I picked that album back up and gave it another listen and found myself starting to appreciate the songs. One by one they kind’ve grew on me. I think I simply wasn’t ready for them, you know? I don’t know how old I was when I gave that album another listen, but it started out with me listening to “Lighter Touch” on repeat, and then I grew to appreciate the title track, and before I knew it I was listening to almost the entire album. I wonder what changed for me? Like, what made my musical tastes evolve to the point where something that I was fairly dismissive of before turned into a favorite? It wasn’t like I’d stopped liking that mainstream brand of rock music. I adored 1990’s Brigade (maybe more than Heart), but I was also digging this classic rock vibe.

I find that this has happened to me a lot over the years—that I’ll really not dig on some piece of music, but find myself years later appreciating it. So, my question to you is: What song did you start off hating and wound up loving? Leave your answers in the comments!

-Stevie

 

 

Is There Such A Thing As “Too Personal”?

Unless you are amazingly disconnected from all pop culture (and no judgment here because I almost missed this!) you know that Beyoncé released a visual album called “Lemonade” over the weekend. Hell, even if you don’t follow pop culture it’d be hard to miss. CNN has an article about it for Pete’s sakes! Like, really?!

Ahem. But I digress.

If you read the headlines from a quick Google search it seems this album is solely about Jay-Z and his alleged infidelity. People are losing their minds specifically over the lyrics “He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.” So far it seems like people fall into one of three camps:

"Who is Becky...?"

“Who is Becky…?”

The Detectives

Loads of folks seem to have gotten their Detective badges recently. They’re decoding lyrics, looking for clues, pulling up records from the dusty file cabinet of the internet, and going on woman-hunts when they think they’ve found the culprit.  The Beyhive seems to be flocking from one Twitter/Instagram account to the next trying to lay some digital retribution on whomever had the audacity to cause trouble in Queen Bey’s marriage.

The Over This Tribe

Why are we talking about Beyoncé? Don’t you know Flint’s water is poisonous, Trump’s on the loose, and Brady has to serve a 4-game suspension after all? Who cares about Beyoncé?

The Marriage Counselors

These are the ones that prompted this post. I’ve seen a lot of comments from people narrowing their eyes at Beyoncé, wondering why she would air her “dirty laundry” in this way. Marriage is private, they say. Whatever problems you have are between you and your husband and putting it out there like this is shameful.

I find this to be an interesting line of thinking. If a musician writes a song about, say, their past physical abuse, or addiction, or mental illness, people applaud them for being brave and speaking out, but she writes what may be an entire album about the difficulty of marriage and she should have kept it private? For me, and I would wager for many other musicians, making music and writing lyrics can be a form of catharsis. We write about the things that hurt us, anger us, make us happy, sadden us. It’s therapy, and sometimes that stuff is pretty personal. Should we not write it? Is there a line to be drawn? What is it about (allegedly) discussing real life marital problems in her music, expressing her emotional ups and downs in relating to her husband, is taboo? I doubt these people have the same problems with her celebrating her marriage in her music.

I draw my own line about what I am and am not comfortable sharing in my songs, but I don’t believe there are topics that just shouldn’t be out there. If her album is indeed an emotional trip through the ins and outs of marriage, I don’t fault or judge her for it. Let her cope the way she wants/needs to cope.

Are there subjects you consider to be too private to be shared through music? Does it make you uncomfortable as a fan (or not as as fan) to be presented with certain aspects of a celebrity’s life? If you’re a musician, where do you draw the line in how much you share in your music, if at all?

 

-Stevie

Energy, Passion, and Audience Connection

I recently volunteered to work a show at Club Zuzu. This was a result of one of my 2016 goals, which is to get involved in the local music community, so I signed up as a volunteer with Boston Hassle. They put on this show in conjunction with another group called Rad Castle. I didn’t know any of the bands on the bill but I figured this was the fun of just getting out there to explore. I showed up with an open mind and my old digital SLR (I was on photo duty) and waited for the night to unfold.

Cove Sauce

Cove Sauce

I can honestly say that this was unlike any show I’ve ever attended before, even in my boldest of college days. Three bands played: Cove Sauce, Joe Passed, and The Taxidermists. Cove Sauce and The Taxidermists consisted of two people each: a guitarist and a drummer. The second band had five people in it I think, so they were odd guy out, but the genre/style of music was similar to the other two, which I guess I would classify as noise rock if I had to (in general I suck at classifying music though). It reminded me of old-school garage punk, especially the first and last bands, Cove Sauce and Taxidermists. I mean, Club Zuzu is small, you guys. The room was filled with noise rock. I think that’s the genre you’d classify this as; I’m honestly not sure.

So, imagine: small room, but easily about twenty to thirty people there. For comparison, my last show had about seven people in attendance. Loud, distorted, angry guitar strumming, banging the drums like there were ants crawling on it and drumsticks were the only thing that could kill them, and vocals that were essentially yelling, the words completely indiscernible. It was raw and energetic and loud and crowd loved it!

Taxidermists

Taxidermists

The energy in the room was like whoa. Have you ever been to a show (or performed at one) where some people were hanging out at the bar talking, and the floor in front of the stage was empty? Here there was a nice solid wall of bodies close to the stage, and the audience was bobbing and banging their heads and dancing and just feeling it. And what’s really interesting is that it wasn’t like the bands were doing anything crazy energetic. They weren’t jumping around or dancing or coaxing the crowd. Hell, they barely addressed the audience at all. In fact I can’t for the life of me put my finger on what it was about them that compelled that kind of attention and energy other than the music itself, which was definitely high-intensity music.

I was watching a YouTube video recently for some tips on stage presence, on how not to just stand there like a dummy with a guitar. The video included suggestions like: move your guitar around so you’re not holding it stationary all the time; make eye contact with the audience, and different places in the audience; move away from the mic sometimes, like when you’re soloing; and move the guitar from in front of your body when you’re singing and not playing. Good stuff, I found it very useful, but do you see the body positioning of the two guitarists in the pictures above? That’s pretty much how they stayed the entire set. Other than stepping back from the mic when they weren’t actually “singing”, they didn’t move, and they never made eye contact with the audience. I don’t think they ever even looked at the audience, and it didn’t seem to affect the connection between performer and audience at all.

I have found myself thinking back on that show over a week later, wondering what lessons I can take from that night to make my own live shows better, to give them that kind of energy. I think some part of it may be the genre of music, right? It’s hard to sit idly by while hard, thrashy music is playing. To be honest I wasn’t into the music but I still found myself moving with it. It’s like trying not to bop when a bass and drum kick in with the most basic of R&B grooves—something in your body just responds. There has to be more though—Tori Amos doesn’t exactly make you wanna get up and dance (most of the time) but she’s captivating live— and I think it’s passion and feeling. Those guys didn’t look at the audience, but there was feeling in their playing and performance.

Someone said of my last gig that it was one of the best shows so far, because all three of us seemed really into it. I actually thought it was a kind’ve crappy performance because we messed up a few times (like, playing the wrong parts in places kind’ve messed up). What a difference in perception. For me because it wasn’t technically good it was not a good show. For the audience, they weren’t concerned or bothered about the mishaps—they were interested in the feeling and the vibe. I remember feeling a little emotional during that show because it was unexpectedly the last show with Aram, so we said fuck it and threw everything we had into it. I know Aram was playing like the devil (he broke a drum stick). We were playing with feeling and despite our execution problems people were drawn in by the emotion.

When I heard that I was kind’ve like, “Huh, well, that’s interesting.” and filed it away for later thought. Seeing it in action with this Boston Hassle show, seeing how into it the band was (and how that affected the audience) has brought it back to forefront. I’m wondering how I can channel that same energy all the time. It’s not like I don’t feel my songs, but maybe I’m concentrating too hard on not messing up. It’s the same thing I experience when recording vocals, where I’m concentrating so hard on trying to be on-key that I’m not emoting well. I’m concentrating on execution and not allowing myself to relax and enjoy it—and to be honest, there’s a fair bit of nervousness/stage fright in there as well.

I’m going to record my next live performance and make myself watch it (which, ugh, I hate watching myself) and see if I can take my live show to the next level. Here’s to growth!

If you’re a musician who performs out, how do you connect with your audience?

SoundCloud: The Road Ahead

ILLUSTRATION - The Soundcloud app runs on an iPad in Berlin, Germany, 17 March 2014. Photo by: Ole Spata/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

ILLUSTRATION – The Soundcloud app runs on an iPad in Berlin, Germany, 17 March 2014. Photo by: Ole Spata/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

SoundCloud has not often been, in my opinion, the kind of music service that people wrote articles about. I thought of SoundCloud as a place where creators without “homes” (no labels, no A&R, no fame) went to share their music. Before the CDBabies and Distrokids and Reverbnations of the world made it possible via the push of a button (and a nominal fee) to put your music on the same platforms as “The Big Artists”, SoundCloud was where you sent people when you wanted to share your songs. At least, this was how saw the service. Over the last year though SoundCloud has been in the news quite often, and not necessarily for good reasons. There were licensing issues. On Twitter I saw rumblings from DJs and Producers about the Berlin-based company taking down remixes and such that they’d done due to copyright problems. There was talk of ads and changes being made that would hurt the little musician. And frankly, my own experiences with it made me question whether or not I really understood what the service was about.

When I first started putting And Then There Was One content on SoundCloud I had every intention of interacting with the SoundCloud “community”. I made it a point once a week (on New Music Monday, which is now New Music Friday) to listen to new tracks in the categories of music I was most interested in, like Alternative Rock and Indie. I noticed a trend though. Week after week I would see some pretty well-known names popping up in the list. I can’t tell you how often a Chris Brown song would show up. It disappointed me because my intention was to use the service as a means of discovering random independent musicians—the little names. I was truly in it for the discovery and it wasn’t cooperating.

Fan Art: Robot Devil by dover19 from sodahead.com

Fan Art: Robot Devil by dover19 from sodahead.com

Now, after settling its issues with PRS, this NY Times article comes out announcing that SoundCloud has reached a deal with Universal Music Group. For what? Apparently so that they can join the already crowded field of music streaming services and offer content from people who already have content everywhere else. With the coming launch of a paid subscription-type service, it also gives labels the ability to put some content behind a paywall, making it exclusive content for subscribers only. From a that same NY Times article:

In an interview, Michael Nash, Universal’s executive vice president for digital strategy, said that the new deal would give Universal the freedom and control to experiment with SoundCloud, including making some material available only to paying subscribers.

It seems like SoundCloud is kind’ve a victim of its own success. Google the history of SoundCloud and you’ll find a lot of stories about how the service started as a place for creators to share their content, collaborate, and connect with fans and peers more readily. Features like the ability to comment at a certain section of a track are unique, or to add your tunes to a group (such as adding your songs to a Boston-centric group if you’re from Boston) are part of what makes SoundCloud such a great place to release music. Pressure from investors to make money and legal issues with content that isn’t always properly licensed (like mashups and remixes and covers) means a change in model.

It will be interesting to see what path SoundCloud takes. I honestly think there are so many streaming applications and services out there that another one is simply unnecessary. What could SoundCloud offer subscribers that other services don’t? What’s going to happen to the little folks as the labels get more involved? I went to SoundCloud today and checked out the Most Played Tracks across all genres for the week. Here were the top 5 musicians:

  1. “Real Friends” Kanye West
  2. “Wonderful” by Travis Scott (feat. The Weeknd)
  3. Another song by The Weeknd
  4. Fetty Wap
  5. Kevin Gates

The only name i didn’t recognize was Kevin Gates, and a quick Google showed me that the it’s likely only because I don’t follow hip hop. I’ve also noticed a propensity for the same names (especially record labels) to show up multiple times on a list. And for the first time since I started using SoundCloud, I got an ad.

I started using SoundCloud because I’d heard that it was a great, free mechanism through which I could quickly and easily release music—and get feedback as well. I recently threw up a pretty shoddy demo to test out a new song I’m working on. I wouldn’t put something like that up on Bandcamp or Reverbnation, and while I could put it here the commenting engine isn’t nearly as robust as SoundCloud’s. I also truly enjoyed being able to discover musicians. Through SoundCloud I found the likes of NoMBe, Kotomi, Dum Dum Girls, and Battles. I haven’t used SoundCloud for new music discovery in forever because I was so discouraged that the top plays usually belonged to established labels and artists.

I’m interested to hear how others feel about SoundCloud and where it’s going. Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Peace,
Stevie

 

Club Bohemia: Debut for My Band

I’m so excited! Last night at Club Bohemia And Then There Was One played with more than one! There were three in this band in fact!

We played an 8 o’clock show at Club Bohemia, a little sub-venue downstairs at the Cantab Lounge. It was quite an eclectic show. We were up first with my brand of kinda alt-rock with a hint of pop. We’ve practiced 3-4 times with a huge week-long break between our last practice and this performance due to some scheduling issues, so there was some concern about how we’d pull this off. I’m pleased to say that we did a nice job. There were mistakes of course, but I was impressed with the way we communicated during the songs and managed to swerve back on course. I feel like it was the kind of synergy that a band that’s been playing together for a long time has.

Rollo Tomasi Quartet

They’re a jazz quartet and apparently regulars at Club Bohemia who play there once a month. They were quite impressive. I’m not a big fan of jazz but these guys were fun to watch, especially Jim Frey, the drummer. He has this small, low kit that he wails on, and his solos are kind’ve mind-blowing. Their entire swing was engaging because there were hints of other genres in there. Sometimes they’d get into a straight 4/4 rock groove, then switch into an R&B groove, then seem to lose any real hint of rhythm as everyone took their solos and went nuts, and then slide right back into that jazz feel. Here’s an example from another night at the same club.

Ghost Cats

They were a heavy rock band that my friend described as having “elements of Rage Against the Machine and arena rock”. Their sound is big, and their songs are epic; lots of sections and changes. The lead singer is a tall man, and he didn’t have a ton of room onstage to move so at first he seemed a little restrained. Towards the end he came off the stage and danced and thrashed in the audience and really livened things up! This is one of the songs they performed (although the footage is from a different venue).

Baeja Vu

Let me just say that when we went on at 8 there wasn’t much of a crowd. A few friends had shown up, a few members of the other bands were hanging around, but that was it. When the Rollo Tomasi Quartet went on the room started to fill. By the time Ghost Cats were on it felt like a bustling Saturday venue. There were a lot of college-aged people there, and it had a very different feel. here was energy and build-up in the air. It felt like people were actually there to see and enjoy music. When Baeja Vu went on it was as if someone lit a match to a stack of tinder. Suddenly everyone was on their feet, moving to the stage to get closer. I could have been at a big name concert instead of the basement of the Cantab. There were like seven people crammed on that tiny stage: drummer, guitarist, bassist, dude playing soprano sax and clarinet, keyboard player, and 2 frontmen. One dude was like a rapper or something, and the other was the hook dude. Their style of music was like hip-hop/soul/funk. They did a Jamiroquai cover if that gives you any indication, and if that doesn’t then how about the fact that the chorus of their first song said something like, “Fuck me I’m lonely.”. It was a feel good party band, and the crowd loved them. They announced that it was their first show, but I just don’t see how that could be given the turnout (these people were clearly here to see this band, not randos that wandered off the street) and the fact that folks in the audience were literally singing along with them.

But…

Nothing comes up when Googling them. Zero info. No SoundCloud, no Facebook. Nada. I can’t find a thing about them. So there’s that.

It was a great night and a very good debut for us! Club Bohemia was different than I remembered it, but I’d love to be back…and maybe in a later slot lined up right before some big-drawing band like a Beija Vu. I’m looking forward to playing more shows and building our tribe!

When I think of the blues, the first thing that comes to mind is this scene from “Adventures in Babysitting”:

God, I love that movie, and Elisabeth Shue is so adorably awkward.

Anyway, let me clear my head, because the blues, real blues, is what Scott Colesby brings to the table.

Scott Colesby is the man behind the alt/delta blues project So-Called Someone. A resident of New Orleans, Scott’s voice and playing embody everything I imagine the blues to be, not being a connoisseur of the genre myself. His voice is pure grit and growl, and he has a masterful way of playing guitar that makes it look effortless. Scott’s also very prolific—you can catch him doing Concert Windows, impromptu “Beer and Blues” sessions on Periscope, an open mic in his home of NOLA, or filming his latest vlog. The dude is hitting the pavement to get his name out there.

Scott recently released a four-song EP called “To Hell Or New Orleans”, which I believe was recorded entirely on his iPad. Two of the tracks have additional instrumentation in the form of drums, while the other two are just him and guitar. The EP is impressive, especially for being a DIY project, but I can tell you from experience that his live performance is where it’s at. If you ever have a chance to see him and experience his stomping feet in person, I’d do it. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a little something.

Links
http://www.socalledsomeone.com/
https://www.facebook.com/socalledsomeone
https://www.youtube.com/user/SoCalledSomeone/videos

Let me start off by saying that in general I don’t listen to instrumental music, so it’s a little hard for me to say much in detail about what Victor does. I’d also seriously have to be a much better guitarist myself to even begin to explain the ways in which he plays guitar, so I’m cribbing a lot from his bio and an interview he did with Amused Now’s Cynthia Khan. So, here’s the best that I can objectively say about Victor Samalot, musician:

The dude can play guitar really, really well.

Victor Southwest

Victor Southwest

Look, I never said this series would be a gold standard in blogging. 😉

Victor is from Ohio which, as a Cleveland native myself, automatically makes him A-okay in my book. He’s been playing guitar in a band with his wife for years, but his solo acoustic project is only about 5 years-old. His solo music is a blend of Latin, jazz, rock, and world music. It’s honestly the kind of sound that would be right at home on a Putumayo cd. He’s had two CD releases to date: a CD released under his Mind Lab Music project that focuses on music geared towards the healing arts; and an eponymous CD of originals.

In case you didn’t know, Cleveland is a music town (hello, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!) and Victor has a lot of opportunity to play. If you have a chance, catch him live. He has a lot of clips from live performances on his site and these are by far my favorite way to take in his music because seeing him work is impressive. He makes good use of looping effects to layer his live sound, including creating nice percussive accompaniment with the body of his guitar. He makes it look so very easy.

I’ll share with you my favorite clip so far. It’s a cover of Rush’s “Red Barchetta”. Head on over to his website (I list his links below) and check out more videos and music.

Links

http://www.victorsamalot.com
https://soundcloud.com/victorsamalot
https://www.youtube.com/user/vicsamalot