|Photographer: Bryan Caldwell|
Venue full, guests seated, musicians holding in the green room, the house lights dim. Moving from rear of the room to staging area, is a moment I've lived many times. From the age of eight years to present, the experience of mounting a performance has been much the same. After all the prep, the program begins. Mid staging area, you stand ready to set it in motion as you look out over familiar and new faces, all having made a decision to answer your call to gather. Guests, musicians, and I prepare to engage multiple senses and receptors in a one time exchange, a "happening." Even before that word was coined in the 1960's, I was drawn to creating them, I guess because some events leave you pleasantly altered.
In my earliest years, the goal of mounting a "show" was to shift from being a bored kid to one that's having fun. Those that attended the performance came along for the ride. These days I'm more conscious of all the smiling going on when people attend the concerts. During the performance, intermission, and at evening's close, people, in close proximity, invest in dropping twenty pounds of mental weight, lifting just a little, in direct defiance of gravity.
So, this last Saturday, January 14th, I kicked off my 2012 concert series by presenting a group called the Curios. Band lead, Nancy Hall, opened with her original songs Never Stopping and Starlite. Band mates Lee Parvin on keys, Jim Kerwin on bass, and Michael Tyler on guitar moved our collective senses through a nine song set that included Lover Man of My Dreams, Always Be, Let me Sleep, Crashing, Cherries, White Summer, Love Is Alright. Nancy and Lee interchanging on lead vocals, the room hummed in satisfaction. I really enjoy watching that happen.
|Left to right: Lee Parvin (Keyboard/vocal), Nancy Hall (guitar/vocal), Michael Tyler (guitar), Jim Kerwin (bass)|
Photographer: Bryan Caldwell
Breaking for intermission, guests and band members connect over beverages and figure food. Even with the food, there's time, care, and attention given before it's set out for guests. It is worth it to ensure a full experience. Three upstairs rooms packed, the mood elevates a few more notches.
Photos: Lorraine García-Nakata
Intermission is also a time to introduce people. Here Nancy Hall meets young author of We The Animals, Justin Torres. It's an inter-generational connection. Guests tend to be of various ages which keeps it interesting.
Nancy Hall, Me, author Justin Torres
Signal given that the second set is about to start, guests work their way downstairs to once again nest. As is often the case with second sets, the satisfaction level lifts even further as the Curios take us with them through tunes as Dancing By The River, I'm Your Villian, and Utopia. Several songs spark the audience in a particular way such as Zeitoun with Lee Parvin taking lead vocal, another tune highlighting Jim Kerwin's 'fiddle bass' approach stirs an eruption of applause at it's close, and my personal favorite of the evening's musical flight, Everything Makes Me Cry as Nancy Hall stuns us into long slow breathes. There are always one or two songs in concerts that step forward in this way and beguile faces into very broad smiles.
|Nancy Hall takes flight|
Photographer: Bryan Caldwell
|Jim Kerwin digs in|
Photo: Lorraine García-Nakata
Experiencing live music is more than it appears. Even as a kid looking to spice up my afternoon, I knew coming together for music gave us, and some parents, a "recess" from extreme money worries, hungry stomachs, and the loud summer buzz you hear when there's not much to do. What I knew was that at the close of an afternoon performance our individual problems would still be there, yet I also knew we would be a little more able to deal with them.
The very live performance by the Curios this last Saturday had a similar effect though our individual challenges and circumstance are varied. Just the same, our unspoken hope and expectation as guest, presenter, and musician, was that a pleasure source, we each carry, would be tapped and refilled. Being inspired or joyful can also be referenced this way. As guests helped to stack chairs, gathered belongs, and bid farewell at the entrance, their faces registered that a "shift" had occurred. It is when the musicians are equally beaming after loading gear, as we hang a while, and as they head out the door, that you know it has been a good night, a very good night.
Special appreciation goes out to my two helpers who are visiting San Francisco from Puerto Rico and Brazil.
|Igor Carvalho (Brazil), Glenda García-Melendez (Puerto Rico)|
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