This week’s open mic ran just 2 hours instead of 3, but we had plenty of great music during this shorter show. Top on my list were a few sets that may be the beginnings of some great new music acts; established musicians are great, but I especially love seeing new talent as it emerges onto the local scene. This week we had several that, if they continue to perform in town, might become the next big hit artists in a year or a few.
Our first performer of the night was a newcomer to the music scene, Jessica Haller. She only played 3 songs for us, and with her first song she sounded as if she was still quite nervous about performing at a mic in front of strangers. Jessica warmed up quickly though, and hearing her overall set I think her voice and songwriting skills will be a great addition to the scene. Her little brother was her biggest fan, perched in the front row of the audience this week. He says that in a few years, he may be on stage too, but just as a singer; apparently the instrument-playing bug has yet to catch him.
Luke Callen was back for a set this week, sounding as great as ever. Actually on a couple of his songs, to my ear, he sounded even better than usual. I’ve been getting some of his songs stuck in my head at random lately, so it was nice to hear some of those songs again. He really needs to record a good studio album of some of his songs that can live on spotify and be featured on my playlists. In the meantime, if you missed him at the open mic, he will be back to play at Avogadro’s Number again this Friday, along with the fantastic local band Rich With Friends and a band called the Hectic Hobos, out of Salt Lake City. If you want even more of this talented fellow next week, the Black Mountain Ramble for June is next Thursday, June 6th, at the Wild Boar, starting at 7pm, and the new band Von Stomper, of which Luke is a member, will be playing at Cranknstein next Friday, June 7th, starting at 9pm.
|Laith Scherer & Friends|
Another highlight from tonight’s show was Laith Scherer’s set, which featured two of his friends on electric guitar and mandolin. It remains to be seen if this becomes a new band on the scene, but they sounded good enough that it seems a distinct possibility. Laith is already a solid singer-songwriter playing solo, but adding in a few extra musicians expands the range of what his music might sound like. So far this new ‘band’ is unnamed, and may or may not turn into anything official, but this may be one of the next new bands to emerge into the local music world outside the Avo’s Open Mic. Bit of local trivia- the fellow on electric guitar tonight, Sam Wynens, was actually in a band called Bixby with Laith in Pagosa Springs before Laith moved to Fort Collins.
In addition to the open mic, there was a show outdoors tonight at Avo’s, with Grayson Erhard opening for Matthew Santos. Both of these fellows played great shows, which I took in bits of in between open mic sets. I didn’t catch enough of his show to say more than that his music sounds great and he obviously knows how to play his guitar very well. He is a local musician, unlike Matthew Santos, so there’s a pretty decent chance I’ll be able to catch more of his music later on this season. In fact, if I am not already too overbooked for next Friday night, Grayson Erhard will be playing a show at the Wild Boar next Friday, June 7th, along with John Runnels and Nathaniel Snow, so if you missed tonight’s show, you can catch him next week at that show (7-10pm, $5 suggested donation).
Matthew Santos is here in Colorado this week, on tour from Chicago. For those who are familiar with his music, he seems to be about as much of a ‘big name’ act as Keith Harkin, with a much bigger following than most local artists, but not to the point where his name is all that familiar outside his circles of fans, yet. His live show is created via a more delicately nuanced application of the same looping tricks as Jesse Niethammer uses to craft his music. The result in Matthew Santos’ case reminds me a lot of some of Paolo Nutini’s music, and certainly if you like Paolo Nutini, you’ll probably like this guy’s music too. I love Paolo Nutini’s music, as my playlists might occasionally suggest, and I already have a few favorites from Matthew Santos’ albums that I like at least as much. Needless to say, there will be some of his songs cropping up in my weekly playlists in the future.
And, if you missed this show, and want to catch Matthew Santos while he’s still in Colorado, he’ll be playing in Denver along with John Common & Jessica DeNicola and Dave Tamkin, at the Art Heffron Photography Loft this Thursday, May 30th. This will be his last stop on this mini tour, so I’d imagine he’ll be back in the Chicago area again after this week. Check out his facebook page or his website for more information on his upcoming shows and new music.