Last night I headed down the street to check out Raven Bride’s show at a small neighborhood venue, Outpost 186. If you haven’t been to Outpost, it’s a fairly tricky venue to find. You have to go kind of down a little alleyway to the back of a building which is next to a usually-empty parking lot behind the 7-11, and then there’s a door that doesn’t really have a sign on it and then there’s another door that doesn’t have a sign on it. It’s the sort of venue that neighborhood residents walk past for years without knowing it exists (I have lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and I speak from personal experience!). At any rate, if you’re going to go there, get proper directions ahead of time 😉
I showed up a couple of minutes before showtime and the door was still locked, so I (and a few others) milled around outside for a little while until they let us into the building. (PSA for performers: you need to unlock both doors so people can still get in if they show up a few minutes late. Otherwise people will end up locked out of your concert, unable to hear your music and pay you and stuff. It’s also not a bad idea to tape a sign to the doors so they know they’re in the right place.)
When we walked in, Mr. Bride was already at the piano, playing and singing to an empty, candlelit room. I guess in a larger venue they usually have music playing over the P.A. when you walk in, but at Outpost you have to be a little more DIY! The show was quite sparsely attended (maybe due to the oppressive heat and humidity, no one wanted to leave their air-conditioned livingrooms) and he just went for broke and made it as intimate a show as possible, almost like we were just hanging out at someone’s apartment – asking if anyone wanted a drink, taking questions from the audience, that sort of thing. It felt a little awkward at first, but after a while everyone warmed up to each other and things got more comfortable.
I forgot to bring my camera with me, so I dug out a recording from the last time I saw him, which was at Amanda Palmer’s Salon in June. She is taper-friendly so I had my mics running. This is the solo piano cover of “China Girl” that he did that night:
That was the first time I saw him play solo and I was really impressed (enough to come and check out his set at Outpost, anyway!). His concert last night was pretty much in the same vein, a lot of solo piano songs as well as some songs on guitar. He also talked a bit between songs; what stood out the most to me was when he mentioned that someone had told him his music was “too dark” and how he never really thought of it that way at all – when you are in a certain frame of mind, that kind of music can make you feel better and music that is too happy can make you feel worse. It made me think back to my college days when a friend of mine told me she’d been kind of worried about me because I listened to such depressing music all the time (at the time I was heavily into Nick Cave and Tom Waits). It had never even occurred to me that the music I was listening to would be considered depressing by anyone. To me it was just rich and fulfilling and cathartic and dramatic and empathetic and etc. etc. To me, depressing music is some stupid love song on the radio that ignores 99% of the depth of human emotion and reduces us all to shallow stereotypes, but that’s just me. 😉
Anyway, my personal anecdotes aside, I think he is really very good for someone who doesn’t seem to have much in the way of recorded material. Hopefully he will be able to record an album soon. He does have one official track on his bandcamp page you can listen to here:
If you like those and you’re feeling particularly angsty, you might enjoy the cover of “Everybody Hurts” that he did with Amanda Palmer (click here to watch).
He’s doing another show at Outpost on August 4th, 8PM, and if you’re in the neighborhood I’d recommend stopping by! Maybe I’ll see you there.
P.S. Raven Bride and Cormac Bride are the same person – I know, your mind is blown. I labeled the soundcloud thing differently than his bandcamp and now it’s all confusing and stuff… sorry!