Monday, August 3, 2009

South Norwalk Arts Festival

So of course I was ecstatic when I discovered that Ryan Montbleau, my favorite, was playing a mere twenty minutes away from my very own home (for free!), but I hadn't realized what a great Sunday afternoon it would turn out to be..

Ryan was scheduled to play at 2:30 on an outdoor stage, so when it started pouring around 1, I thought we (meaning dear ol' Papa Bayne and I) could sport our (always stylish!) heavy-duty boots and tough it out. When the thunder started to roll in, we hoped for the best, although with dampened spirits (hah!).

We managed to get in touch with our new friend Kevin, the guy who was in charge of the music at the festival- he was under a huge blue umbrella talking frantically through a radio to the other coordinators. We immediately bonded over the fact that neither of us have taken off our Vibes bracelets yet! After a few minutes of his of communication with various artists scheduled to play, other volunteers working the fair, and a few restaurants, the plan was set: The Black Bear Saloon was going to hold the rest of the bands for the day! Whew.

After wandering SoNo in the pouring rain for a bit, we meandered back to the Black Bear to wait for Ryan to start when we saw a blue van with Massachusetts plates pull up to the curb.. It was him! We called over to him, and this is the best part: he remembered talking to us last weekend at the Vibes! So cool. We chatted for a minute or two, and then he hauled his guitar and equipment into the restaurant.

His set was great, although brief. It almost seems to me like it was Ryan's Greatest Hits- no jamming or anything. But then again, how could you jam while doing a solo acoustic show? A beat has to be kept. Anyway, so I sipped coffee and jotted down the setlist as it came and went. It was good just to hear him play live, even though the show wasn't as entirely interesting as I had hoped. In fact, I had never seen him do an acoustic show before Sunday, although I've listened to many..

So after Ryan's set (he even came up to our table to say bye! I told him I'd see him in three weeks on a Manhattan cruise- excited for that), this three-man band came on the stage. There was an acoustic guitar, a singer, and a drum setup that consisted of one drum and one cymbal. They said they were from Brooklyn (like The Pimps of Joytime! Maybe they're friends!) and called themselves the Dorie Colangelo Band. They played for about thirty minutes or so, and in the end I scored a free CD! Niiiiice. I haven't actually listened to it yet, but I fully intend to after I wear out my new CSN disk... (became obsessed with them after seeing the band at the Vibes!)

Dorie Colangelo's sound is mellow, with lots of pretty harmonies. If I had to give it a genre, I would say it's a soft rock-tinged folk kind of group. Basically it's singer-songwriter stuff. I think the sound flows very well, and it's carried by her very pretty alto voice. At the end of her set, the singer (I think they said her name is Jamie?) and Dorie switched places- Jamie took over the guitar and the main mic. It was evident she is a singer/songwriter too, but her sound was different than Dorie's: there was a heavier beat, it kind of pushed through the song more. She also had a higher and clearer voice. In sum, Dorie's voice is way cooler, but I almost liked Jamie's writing better.. I'm going to have to listen to her CD and compare it to her set.
Here's Dorie!

So a band I didn't catch at the Vibes? PJ Pacifico. Fortunately I made up for my loss and saw them for the first time at the bar, and I have to say.. I was impressed. So impressed, in fact, that I shelled out ten bucks (ok, dad did) for their newest CD at the end of their set. (For the record, the CD doesn't do them justice to what they can do live.)

So they had a full band setup, with two guitars (the frontman PJ on an acoustic, and an electric), a bass, keyboard/synthesizer, a drumset, and a violin/fiddle. Very interesting. They opened up with a Beatles tune- I Want To Hold Your Hand. It was nice, very mellow, with just an electric rhythm guitar, some acoustic, vocals, and a bit of the violin. In all, very cool.

What is interesting about this band is that although there's a full band set up, the sound of the acoustic guitar doesn't get lost no matter what else is playing. It leads everything else instead- a nice touch.

The violin/fiddle (she was picking it like a guitar for a few tunes!) is also another interesting addition to the sound of the band. There are definitely some roots in country music that can be picked up on some of the solos she completely WAILED out. SO sick.

In all, I would tend to say that the songs themselves groove, but are poetic as well. I picked up on sort of a melancholy, reflective vibe for a few tunes, but all the same very beautiful and fun. I will definitely definitely definitely! check them out again.

When I turned on the CD I bought, the songs were.. average. The violin was missing, and it sounded more like some a generic soft pop tunes than the band I saw the other night. Bummer, they really are fun live.

The next show that's coming my way? Phish in Hartford, CT. I'm bringing a friend along for the ride too! Can't wait.
Maybe I'll write notes on a napkin again? :D

Much love.

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