Central Coast Songwriters Showcase 05/04/10[San Luis Obispo Music Photography]

Ok people, I am not using the phrase 'Holy Canoli!' lightly. Tuesday night was a serious night of music. I've been shooting at the Clubhouse every other Tuesday since March and I gotta say May 4th was the best line-up I've seen so far. There was a good energy, perfect flow from performer to performer and the crowd was amped (at least before the break.) I've noticed that when I like a performer or band I tend to take significantly more photos, well last night I took about 150 more than I usually do. Serious!

 Photograph of A Packed House at The Clubhouse
First off, props to Casey for being an awesome sound guy. Most people probably don't realize how much effort he really puts into it. I sit with him every time and he is constantly either working the levels or walking around the room to make sure the sound is good everywhere. He recognizes that each song is different and make appropriate adjustments. So nice job!

Close Up Photo of Casey Adjusting Sound Levels

This post is probably going to be one of the few times I talk about everyone that played. I'm sure some people were wondering why I was on my phone so damn much. I was actually taking notes about every performance. It was seriously hard to balance with the photography! Plus I've been working on this post off and on for three days. So I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up this pace for every show. Oh and once again this is not a critique. I will only be talking about what I like about each performer.

Erin Teran opened up the show and this girl is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. She opened with the bubbly and whimsical "Should've been a love song", which is also known as her mom's favorite. Honestly this girl gets down, so much so that I had a hard time keeping her in focus when shooting. She is a ball of energy and enthusiasm but somehow I can just imagine hearing her acoustic pop style while sitting around a campfire. And freakin hilarious, seriously witty lyrics and melodies! I need a recorded version of her 3rd song stat. I didn't catch the name but it is a little quip about getting "lucky" all  by yourself..."There are a lot of thing I'll miss about you/But there's just one thing that you couldn't do....I got lucky without you." She wrapped up with Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun, not a combination I would have ever imagine but actually really great. Erin has a personal Facebook page where you can catch a glimpse of a couple of videos.

Photograph of Erin Teran

Mike Glendining played next and honestly my very first thought was "WTF?" but in a good way. I've never seen any play like that. I must have looked like a total idiot picking my jaw up off the ground when he started. He plucks, he bend the neck...I have really no idea what he does but it sounds awesome...and sometimes it looks kinda crazy. He calls his unique sound grunge jazz and that really is the best term to describe it. You can hear his songs on myspace but you really have to watch a video of him playing to get a full effect. The rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is amazing. And if you take nothing else from this blog post you have to see him play the Super Mario theme song!

Photograph of Mike Glendining

The featured act this Tuesday was December Valentine, a pretty new local band. I reserve the right to be wrong but I think they said this was their first show. However, if they hadn't told me I probably wouldn't have know because they were very tight. I couldn't find them anywhere online and I'm a pretty proficient cyber-stalker. (Edit: I found them...well technically I saw that someone else found them on Facebook.)They mentioned a few time that they are probably changing their name so that could be why they are nowhere to be found. There songs inspire dancing...literally. The front guy has a good voice, great lyrics and a smiling-happy stage presence that keeps the overall vibe very upbeat. He played 3 acoustic songs, one of which was a waltz, then switched to what he called the electric blues inspired half of the set. Casey said they sound like if Jason Mraz and John Mayer combined...I can see that.

Photograph of December Valentine Lead Singer and Bassist

Photo of December Valentine Drummer

Photograph of Dancers in the Crowd

After the break, Sanden Gocka played with Jose Espinosa. I actually just briefly saw Sanden play last Sunday at SLO Down Pub before Andrew Spearman Blake. He led with a silly Star Wars joke "May the 4th be with you." It was all uphill from there ;) Sanden has amazing voice control and projection. When he started sing "Why Why Whyd you let me go" I saw a lady at the bar gasps "holy shit" and put her glasses on to get a better view. Sanden also has Jason Mraz vibe. I really enjoy his song Perfect Storm, "We are a flaming disaster/We are a sudden catastrophy/We are a perfect storm."

Photograph of Sanden Gocka

Next, Matthias Clark took the stage again. This time with his wife Katie. Matthias was recently featured at the showcase back in March. He has a storytelling style, often he even breaks song for a quick discussion or narrative. All of his songs have a quality of being written while sitting on a porch in the mountains. This was the first set of the night that included a harmonica, one of my favorite instruments. The set ended with the soulful "The Man That Satisfies" which, with Katie, reminded me a little of Fleetwood Mac/Buchingham Nicks. Matthias has an enthusiatic stage presence. He keeps the listener on the edge of their seat by playing with such intense building pressure it seems like he might explode. It turns out that it was Matthias and Katie's 8 year anniversary on Tuesday. While discussing relationships between songs Katie said "its hard to stay together" to which Matthias replied "it's fn hard"...it was a very funny moment.

Photograph of Mathias Clark and Katie

Finally, Charlie Beaudoin and Jessica Smith took the stage. They were doing a set to promote The Big Benevolent Bash coming up next Friday at Downtown Brew. I was starting to get a headache by the time they went on so I didn't take notes but I did take video. First, I have to say Holy Shit...10,000 Maniac's cover! Natalie Merchant is not any easy voice to match but Jessica worked it. Casey joined them on the drum. This video really doesn't accurately portray the performance and sorry about the rough start...I jumped the gun. They also played Charlie's original folk song Eucalyptus, which is a great song live. You can hear a recorded version on his Reverb Nation profile along with two other original songs.
Photograph of Charlie Beaudoin and Jessica Smith

I really hope this post doesn't seem as chopping as it actually is. It's been a crazy couple of days and I've been hacking away at this and looking up the artists when I have spare time. - Ap

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