VOCAL Showcase. May 2018.
Open mic night.
Every quarter, VOCAL holds its open mic night, which allows anyone with original songs to get up before the mic and perform. Tonight, there were a host of various artists sharing their music, including some new to VOCAL. To kick off th evening Norm Nortledorf, acting as emcee, began with his song “I’m a Fool” a sad exploration of the singer’s opinions of himself as in “I’m a simple man, no dreams.” Jim Puckett, aw newcomer to the showcase, followed with a set of 3 songs including “Vegas By Now” a tale of two kids who get locked up on the way to as Vegas and are ruing their actions, “Pick Up the Phone” was a desperete cry for help, and “Red Dog” told the tale of West Virginia miners who had to suffer when the mines shut down.
Up next was returning performere Martin McNeil, who’s done a couple of showcases for VOCAL over the last year. Originally from Ca. he now lives in Richmond and plays around town at the various clubs. He comes on with a very high energy approach to his material. “Second Hand Girl” told the story of trying to make it Hollywood, the line “You don’t get anywhere without giving it up” sums up the gist of the song. “Life on the Road” bemoans the difficulty of driving for a living and being away from family and friends with the observation “It ain’t nothing, if you ain’t got love.” “Taking Leave of the City” (intuited titile) was followed by “Apothecary For a Broken Heart” which detailed possible remedies for fixing a love gone wrong.
Aaron Pidd, another newcomer to the showcase followed McNeil. His first song was “What Love Is” in which he tried to explain how to win at the game by making “promises to win” but never quite getting there. A very pretty ballad which he wrote as a teenager, “whisper” came next followed by “We Evolve” which is to say, “we move on” as circumstances dictate. He closed out his set with “Turn My Face and Cry” a sad song of loss.
And, now for something completely different. Rap. We don’t get many (none) rappers doing a VOCAL showcase, but tonight proved the exception. Jay and CD, two young guys stepped up to the mic and proceded to wow the audience with a short set of 3 raps all with backing tracks, “Brand New” either a title or definition was first, followed by I’ll Do You” with CD beat boxing, and lastly, “Soul Far” a long rap that left people wondering how he could have memorized all those words.
Closing ou the night was the group “The Trestle Walkers”, a trio featuring Jeanne Bishop on vocals, Jamie Joyner on upright bass, and Steve Brookings on electric guitar. Their set kicked off with “Cold Dark Hill” followed by “Lured” a rather bluesy type song making good use of Ms. Bishop’s voice, next came “Stare Down The Sun” and then, “Spirit Witch” inspired by the sight of an old black gentleman walking down the street. The trio worked well together in finding the entry and exit points to the songs which, were of anarrative style.
A varied night of music and some unexpected suprises were well appreciated by the audience .
VOCAL Showcase. May 2018.