Avogadro’s Open Mic, May 14, 2013
Tonight’s open mic show at Avogadro’s Number was rather sparsely attended, though for the fact that it is finals season at CSU now, the fact that we had non-musician audience members at all was great. We had the rock band Muncie, from Oakland, California, as the featured artists this week. These guys deserved a much better turn-out than a Tuesday night during finals-week in a college town could provide, but heck, I am quite alright with having practically my own private rock concert. If the rest of the Oakland music community is at all like these four musicians, it must be a pretty decent music scene.This band will be playing in Boulder at the Laughing Goat tomorrow (May 15), and in Denver at Quixote’s True Blue on Thursday (May 16), so hopefully their next two shows have a more appropriately packed and enthusiastic audience.
|Eric Andersen with members of Muncie at Avo’s Open Mic|
Following Muncie’s feature spot we had local guitarist Eric Andersen, who was joined on stage by most of the members of Muncie for what turned out to be an excellent 20 minute blues/jazz/bluesy rock jam session. I am pretty sure I’ve seen Eric around the local music scene before, but this was the first time I got to really see him play. He and the Muncie musicians adapted to each other well enough that newcomers to the show might easily have never known Eric was not actually the lead singer and electric guitarist for Muncie. Everyone who missed Eric’s set at tonight’s show missed out on some really good music, and since Muncie will be back in California in just a few days, this is one set that will not happen again for a long time, if ever.
|Adam Devlin at Avo’s Open Mic|
Adam Devlin, a transplant to Fort Collins from Milwaukee, was up next playing acoustic guitar and singing a few of his originals. This guy’s voice was a bit of a surprise, the sort one might expect from a man familiar with musical theater, and his songwriting and guitar-playing were solid as well. It is a bit early to be planning out Adam’s future in our music community but he at least seems like a great acquisition for our music scene.
Nick Bonnet followed with a nice mix of covers and originals. He tried to cajole his friends into joining us to see his performance, but to no avail. Still, he gave us a great show, as always. I do wish he’d been successful in dragging some friends out, or that he’d been able to stay for the whole show, but it was nice to see him play at least. (If each of the musicians not only stayed for the whole show, but brought a few friends who also stayed the whole evening, all the performers would have a proper audience and probably all of them would have a better experience at any of these open mics.)
Bob Mathre, who plays guitar for Muncie, gave us an acoustic set including several originals and a Meat Puppets/Nirvana cover. He was trying out some songs he hadn’t played on stage in a while, so there were some rough spots, but he sounded good and the songs he gave us were well worth a second hearing. Hopefully he’ll be playing more acoustic solo sets in the near future, because he seems to have a really solid solo acoustic act that just needs more exercise in front of live audiences.
Kevin Bennett went for a piano set again this week, but instead of his usual array of classic pop/rock covers, he played a few of his own original songs. Not surprisingly, his originals channel the artists he likes to cover, especially Billy Joel and Elton John. It is still odd seeing our reliable accordion-toting comedian turn into a lounge pianist, but he’s really not bad. He says he really does not listen to a lot of Billy Joel, actually, and of course Billy Joel didn’t listen to much Billy Joel to develop his sound. In any case, again with more exercise in front of live audiences, Kevin’s solo singer-songwriter act is sounding pretty convincing, too.
One nice thing about quiet open mic nights is that they provide a good excuse to try new material without scaring away too many people. Jason “Mutt” Rogers tried a lot of new subject matter tonight from his time teaching English in Japan. Perhaps it was just that it was new material, but I found his set tonight to be quite funny despite the roughness of all this new and underdeveloped material. It sounds like he had lots of interesting overseas adventures, too, not just in Japan, so hopefully as his new material proves its worth in front of bigger audiences we’ll hear more of these overseas travel adventure stories from him. If you missed tonight’s show, hopefully he’ll try out some of this new stuff later when you can catch it, cause it really was quite good.
Clayton Miller was another new performer tonight. He did a set of voice impressions, not a vein of entertainment we see very often here. He did a nice array of impressions of actors, sports personalities and other public figures, though many were names that might not be familiar to the average college town crowd. Even so, the folks in the audience all seemed to enjoy his performance. Hopefully we’ll see more of this fellow in the future here.
Elyse Miller closed out the night, a recently established tradition I rather enjoy. As I mentioned in past posts, she is the lady who runs the soundboard for the show. She is an excellent songwriter and musician, so it is great to see her playing her own songs, not just setting up the stage for other artists. She played one tonight that may be my new favorite, a very sad song which she wrote after a relative took his own life. It’s a sad topic and a tough one to represent well in music, and this song is one of the best I’ve come across that approaches this sense of bewildering tragic loss. As it is very personal, it may be a while before this song reaches a studio CD tracklist, but this is one of Elyse’s best songs that I’ve heard so far. Again, if you skipped the open mic tonight or left early, this is one bit of great music you should be wishing you had stayed to enjoy. Elyse will be performing a show this Friday at Deli Works here in Fort Collins, by the way, at noon, where she will be joined by Antonio Lopez, another brilliant singer-songwriter well worth seeing.
|Featured Artists: Muncie at Avo’s Open Mic|