Concert Review: Raven Bride at Outpost 186 (7/7/2013)

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 (more…)

Concert Review: AFPSalon – Amanda Palmer, Cormac Bride, Sarah Borrello (6/4/2013)

As mentioned in my previous post, I was hoping to be lucky enough to win a ticket to the June 4th “Salon” that Amanda Palmer held at Red Star Union here in Cambridge. Well – I was! I found out the morning of the show that I would have a ticket waiting for me at Will Call. It was an exciting show to go to for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was in a teeny tiny venue (capacity ~50); and secondly, it was being broadcast worldwide via webstream. We were essentially the “live studio audience” to make it feel like a real concert. I was impressed with the quality of the crowd – they were both enthusiastic and extremely well behaved. During a four-hour concert with an open bar, having a crowd that is absolutely can-hear-a-pin-drop quiet and respectful for twenty minutes at a time is pretty amazing. I am sure nobody wanted to be “that guy” when we were being watched by thousands of people around the world. 😉

I had never been to Red Star Union before, and it was in quite a strange location. The venue is located in a fancy office building in what is essentially a biotech park, and there’s no obvious signage outside. Very difficult to find if you don’t get really good directions in advance, so be forewarned if you’re going to a show there. Once we actually got in to the venue, you’d never know where you were – it was a cozy little space, with excellent sound and sightlines. They had brought in some full-of-character furniture from home to make it into more of a homey atmosphere.

(That’s Anthony Martignetti and Amanda Palmer during one of the discussion segments.)

Amanda explained to us that (more…)