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Debut Open Mic Night @ Astoria Beer and Brew 1/7/15

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Last Wednesday night, a night so cold that it would freeze even Frosty’s snowballs, and a momentous occasion. The premier of the open mic night (Which I host) @ Astoria Beer and Brew, (my favorite haunt). I was beyond excited for the evening, and had already received attendee replies from several extremely talented people. I held hope that Old Man Winter wasn’t going win out and keep everyone in. He didn’t win. And what followed was an incredible evening.

For this show I use my own mixer, so I am “engineering” as well as hosting/performing. I got everything set up and said a few words, performed a few songs. I did:

Riptide (Vance Joy cover)
Uncommon Scents (original)
Play Pretend (original)

I may post some of my performances in separate blogs at some point, but I want this to be focused on the talent that we are showcasing. And the talent was stacked. I have been fighting a gnarly sinus/flu/ebola deal for the better part of two weeks now, so I am going to have to keep my words a bit short. I will let the performances speak for themselves.

I typically will edit clips to be shorter, or take shorter clips. This time, I’m just posting entire songs. It’s mostly due to having no energy, and having to leave shortly to host another open mic night. So here we go:

Lead off hitter was Billy Conahan, be sure to check out his Facebook and his Website. This guy is an enormous talent, as both a singer/songwriter and a hip hop artist. I’ve seen him do both, and he’s blown me away each time. The dude is unstoppable, watch for him in the future. Listen to him here, with Nicole Gough who absolutely killed it with vocals on the hook:

Second up, came a man of legend, Kyle Horn. He plays finger-style, and slap-taps the guitar (and himself) with amazing dexterity. His original melodies, dissonant and ringing, come together perfectly with the drumming he is creating in the midst of all this madness. Watch Hulk smash, but don’t blink or you may miss something:

Henry Colle. Please listen to this entire song. He is so good. Incredible voice and guitar playing. I strive for this kind of talent, and it gives me chills when I am met with it. Just really listen. Did I say that I wanted you to hear him?

After Henry came one of those moments, where people come into quick contact with one another, share something amazing, and then they part, perhaps never to meet again. Demier the Drifter, self proclaimed, came into our open mic and blew us away with his truly authentic folk stylings. He brought me back to days that I never knew, channeling that vibe throughout his songs. Check him out:

Nicole Gough stepped up to the mic again, this time for an unbelievable set, accompanied on guitar by Henry Colle. My jaw dropped during this beautiful cover of The A- Team by Ed Sheeran, further accompanied by Maya on vocals. Be prepared for some harmony people, it’s f-ing serious. The trio really put us over the top.

After them came my good friend Andy Sydor. If you’ve been following my blog, Andy and I play at the same places typically once or twice a week. This week, I wanted to share this original of his that I LOVE. I could close my eyes and listen to him all day. He really is one of my favorites.

At the end of the night was something that we were trying for the first time at Beer and Brew, an acoustic piano act. We did our best to mic the piano as well as the vocals and I love the result. I had to move the camera mid performance, as the 3 of us trying to get the sound right blocked the camera, which ended in some shoddy camera work. The perfect ending to a perfect night, Audrey graces the piano for us:

The first Open Mic night @ Astoria Beer and Brew could not have gone better. THanks to all of the wonderful performers who helped make the night as special as it was. Thank you so much to Rodrigo, the proprietor, for allowing us to play at his fine establishment. I love it there, you should come check it/us out! Next open mic is on the 21st!

Keep supporting live music!

Light and Harmony

-Owls for Olive

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Open Mic @ Shillelagh Tavern 1/6/15

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Erich Rastetter and I enjoying a set from Terry Edelman of Lost Kingdoms

Another talent filled evening @ The Shil to start off the New Year. I apologize for not getting the blog up earlier, I have been battling the flu all week. I will try to get out some words for this lineup, although I am still mid-delirium. Next open mic is in a few days -hope to see some more people, and possibly new faces!

I started off the night with a few songs:

Carry Me (Original)
I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles)
Uncommon Scents (Original)

“Uncommon Scents” is my newest song, and that night it was debuted. You may have realized that I have not posted any videos of myself performing within these blogs, and the reason is that I want it to be focused on the talent that we showcase. I don’t want it to be about me. I want the energy to be in the art that we are getting out there.

We began the night with a special act; a man named Peter Pan deliver some off the cuff comedy, engaging and interacting with the crowd. He got us nice and warmed up, and ready for more tunes.

The second one up was Thomas, who played a totally different style/set than last week. Last week was a chilled out 90s vibe, but this week was all about the fancy guitar riffs; powerful and loud. I apologize in advance for the camera strap, in an act of noobie brilliance I left it in front of the lens for a spell. Check out some shreddage:

The next act to perform was Michael B. and Ron, who were accompanied on-the-fly by another attendee, Ian. Solid and comforting, the three of them played with a confidence that I enjoyed heavily. Check out some of The Ballad of John and Yoko:

The fourth act came all the way down from the Bronx to grace our stage, and I think it was well worth the trip:). His flow was smooth (for a lack of a better word) and confident – he was every bit the performer. It was the first time I’ve had a hip-hop act, and hope to have many more. For me, being eclectic is the name of the game. I love diversity within my art and entertainment more than anything. Check out Smooth Being of FreakSide:

We were lucky enough to have Rabia Waters once again, and man do these guys keep getting better. I love the groove of their originals. They were awesome the first time I saw them (their first performance ever), and I see great things for them in the future. Their weekly progression speaks volumes on this. Hear ye, hear ye!:

Valerie Gianotti. Trying to think of a way to sum her up, and the word I keep returning to is astonishing. She approached the stage, unassuming and cracking jokes, and proceeded to blow us back with an amazing performance. Her voice is very powerful, and she’s got a great handle on it. Huge range and great breath control. Listen to a clip of a beautiful original here:

With two acts to go, up steps Terry Edelman, of the band Lost Kingdoms. I really connect to his performances. I think it is because his originals seem to have been incubated in a time period sweeping the 90s through today. They are fresh and familiar, and as I have said about him before soft and powerful at the right times. He is a guy who knows what he’s doing. Check out his band @ Lost Kingdoms, and a clip of his performance here:

Our final act of the evening is one of the most energetic performers I’ve seen. He brings it with him to every open mic, performance, etc…He could be playing a park bench or The Garden, and his level of energy would never falter. I am pretty sure that they use his blood as the main ingredient in Red Bull. Watch Rick Rocker and try to keep yourself from getting wings:

Also check out his website, Rickrockermusic.com for more.

These open mics just keep getting better and better. Sorry to the performers for my lack of wordage this week, and that it took so long to post. I am feeling in a decent state of near-death, but wanted to get this out to all of you.

Of course a huge thanks to Christian for providing us with excellent sound, and to Rusty and The Shillelagh Tavern for giving us a chance to display our art.

Keep live music…..alive? 🙂

Light and Harmony

-Owls for Olive

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Shils Open Mic 12/30/14

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12/30/14. Last open mic of the year, and the lineup of talented artists was inspiring to say the least. The attendance was excellent, and this momentum must continue thus! Here we come 2015, see you on the 6th!

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I played a few songs to initiate our art-fueled ceremony, including:

Breathe (original)
Friday I’m in Love (The Cure cover)
Homeward Found (original)
All I Need is the Air That I Breathe (The Hollies cover)

First up in our proverbial domino effect of talent, was Thomas. I’d heard him play before, and was met this time with the same alt-rock style that I remember. His sound takes me way back to the 90’s, a wonderful yet confusing time for all. It rings with a grunge/punk sound that I just love. I am a big fan of the dissonance he utilizes here:

Next up, the triumphant return of Rabia Waters. This was their second time at Shils, and their second time performing on stage. Marvin intensified the crowd once again with his flawless guitar playing, accompanied by his great vocals, kept packed tightly by the flailing sticks of his drummer, Kevin. Check them out:

Third on our list, was an immense talent in the way of Janene Otten. She hosted the Mic before passing on the torch to me, I was so glad to have her grace our stage again. She didn’t have her acoustic, and so had to borrow an electric from a friend. I had never heard her on electric, so I was stoked. Her voice contains so much power and subtlety.

Next we had some guys that I’ve heard before in different facets, with different bands and such. That night, they came together to form Space Jump Live!. There really isn’t anything needed to be said about these guys, beyond the fact that they absolutely rock. Their high energy met with their groove, and got the crowd moving. Good ol’ clean rock. Check it:

The lineup was going perfectly, and we were next met with Alex. He brought a blend of fingerpicking, with a hint of slapping and a control of vocals not often seen. Soft at times, and powerful at others, it was evident that he really had a grasp on his craft. I love the soul of his voice. Oh, and as you’ll see in the next post, he is a phenomenal drummer. Listen to a brief clip:

Our sound engineer that night was Christian. He is a fantastic talent when behind OR in front of a soundboard. He did a few songs, beautifully ethereal and ambient, with accompaniment from his iPhone, which Tara used when they came together as The Musical!.

In this clip, you will hear him accompanied by Alex on drums:

And here he is, along with Tara:

She padded his playing very ambient pads, powerfully driven by a tiny iPhone. Don’t you just love technology?

With two more acts to go, we welcomed one of my faves, Andy Sydor. He came up and told us stories with his voice, as I’ve said before Harry-Chapin-esque in nature. I really love to watch this guy perform. It’s just one of those feelings, when you see someone where they are supposed to be.

Last but not least, an old friend stopped by that I had not seen in more than a decade. She has recently entered into the world of singing/songwriting, and I was excited to have her and her partner perform for the first time on our stage. Here is Therapy, with Karen and Tim. They were great, and I can’t wait to be a witness to their progression.

What’s more to be said besides the fact that the night was PACKED with talent. Filled with beautiful people sharing their equally beautiful art with us. Taking it from their souls, and putting it into the world. There is nothing better than that. It is to show one’s true self, and I get to be witness to it, and I am perpetually grateful for that. I am where I want to be, and that is the most important thing in life.

Rick Rocker got called to into the line of duty, and had to run out before he got a chance to grace our stage, but he managed to get in a win against Andy in Foosball, much to the chagrin of Bobby Bocher’s mother.

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Thanks to Rusty and The Shillelagh Tavern for having me host, and to Christian for doing an excellent job behind the soundboard. It was a great night.

Light and Harmony.

-Owls for Olive

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