Tag Archives: songs

Cluster-F averted at the Open Mic @ The Shil 1/13/15

billyricktarek

Billy working the soundboard with his hetero life-mate Homeboy Hummus at his side. Photobomb courtesy of Rick Rocker, who Danielsan crane-kicked his way into the shot.

Open Mic signup begins at 9PM. 3PM I receive a text. Christian, one of our two sound engineers would not be able to make it. Our second engineer, Miles, was infirmed and hence would not be able to fill in. Zoinks. This has happened in the past, so I put my big boy underoos on (yes, the ones with the Spider-Man print on them), and got ready for the evening. I was, of course expecting a clusterfuck, but encountered nothing of the sort. I asked the Lord above (or below), and thus delivered upon me was the assistance for which I implored in the form of Billy Conahan. He showed up and my anxiety ceased. I knew Billy and I could handle this shit. So we both did some engineering that night, and he spun some tunes in between acts as well, as evidenced in the above photo.

Cluster-f avoided, we proceeded to have another fantastic open mic. I played a few songs. I was still under the weather, and battled my way through three tunes:

Homeward Found (original)

Come on Home (original)

Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)

The two originals can be heard, as demos, on my Sound Cloud:

This is where the fun always starts – we begin with what is essentially a clean slate each night. Although we have a few regulars, each night continues to be unique and unexpected, and I love watching/having this variety of interaction with these artists. It is probably my favorite part of it all. I love people. And I love people being supportive people. It is one of the more beautiful things to observe in life. I love viewing art just as much, if not even more than I enjoy making it.

Round one went to the lovely Liverpudlian (Liverpool) Dogstar Rose, hailing from that wonderful little city across the pond. She had graced many stages since arriving in NYC, and we were lucky to have her that night. I was instantly enthralled by her music, and could sense the punk that wanted to seep its way through her Taylor acoustic. Her song Thin Disguise, with it’s eerily beautiful guitar riffs was powerful in message, having been written “For all women”; stated so by Ms. Rose. She plays in a band back in the UK called Futurejack. Be sure to check out her Facebook, and her Blog. Here is a clip of her performing a great original tune:

We are not typically a comedy open mic, but we made an exception for Andy Nadler, better known as Peter Pan. He gave us 10 minutes of very amusing material, interacting well with the crowd.

Matt Loguidice followed, playing awesome slide guitar on a beautiful resonator. Nimble fingers, and an authentic blues feel had the audience silently listening. At times, it looks like magic. I absolutely adore this play style. Check him out, slip sliding all over that fret-board, with the finesse of a surgeon:

Check out his SoundCloud, he has some really fantastic stuff on there.

At this point, Billy Conahan and I switched places and I got behind the soundboard while he hopped down to the stage, and in typical fashion, rocked house. Little needs to be said, much needs to be watched. His Facebook has links to all of the places you should be visiting to hear his stuff. Hear ye:

Next up, my main man. The one, the only: Andy Sydor. He played a great cover of a song by Tom Waits (the name escapes me and I am far too lazy to leave this page to make a Google on it). Feast your ears upon his folk stylings:

Therapy returned for another performance of songs full of haunting emotion. You can really hear the soul within the voice and lyrics of her songs, and the accompanying guitar creates the atmosphere for them to flourish. They are very new on the scene, and I look forward to seeing their progression. Here is one of their originals, Story:

Nessa Dove was a first-timer at my open mic, and I am hoping she is not a last-timer. Another soul-filled voice, soft at times and powerful at others. I really enjoyed her performance, and loved the accompaniment by Matt Loguidice as well as her fantastic guitar playing. I cannot get YouTube to amend the thumbnail, I apologize for it’s skewed-ness.

Rick Rocker, you know the name. Check out his stuff at Rickrockermusic.com, better yet get out to see him. He is a high energy performance waiting to be seen. This is one of his more reserved originals, perhaps for the lovers and the ladies ;):

After Rick finished, we had a friend of Billy’s, and a PHENOMENAL violinist, not get up and play the violin, but instead, provide us with 10 minutes of completely off the cuff, segue-less improv that had us all laughing our asses off. It was completely spur of the moment, and Homeboy Hummus was funny as hell. We are a music only open mic, so don’t get any ideas ;).

To finish the night, we had Brendan Smith who began with the disclaimer that he is a drummer, and a fantastic one at that. His Facebook has links to all things drumming. But that night he was there with a guitar, and closed us out with some great 90’s covers. Check out his rendition of Plush by Stone Temple Pilots.

These nights keep seeming to flow perfectly. You are only getting to see one song per performer, but they each did 3 total. It made for a night full of wonderfully eclectic music, and good times with good people. Together we all create this great energy and atmosphere, and it seems continuous. Another one in the books, and another one coming up in a few days. Can’t wait.

Thanks to Rusty as always, and to The Shillelagh Tavern for allowing us a space to exhibit our individual arts. It’s a very good thing.

Light and Harmony

-Owls for Olive

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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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