Last night I went to a more-special-than-usual house concert. It was LunaZoot‘s 100th show!!
Once upon a time in New York, Susan decided she wanted to start having house concerts. Rod Picott (pronounced pie-cot) headlined that first show. They stayed in touch through the years. Rod kept making music, and Susan kept hosting shows. A special combination of luck and planning brought Rod back for LunaZoot’s 100th show 10 years later. Susan even brought out the sign her daughter, then 12-years-old, made for the house concert (see picture above)!
Rod is currently touring with Ben de la Cour, and Ben opened the show for us last night. Ben has a deep, smooth voice and excellent finger-picking skills. These complement the darkness of the lyrics to his songs. “Dixie Crystals” was about a town brought down by methamphetamines. “Like the Blues” told the story of several people whose theme songs sounded just like the blues. “Company Town” described how a town formed around a factory can stifle, and maybe even kill, its citizens. Farms going away, suicides… This song made me wonder if he was telling a story about the past, or fortune telling into the future…
He mixed a love song in there as well. It was still a little somber, since it described the bad parts of his life. But at the end of the day he just wanted to “Love You Best of All.”
All in all, Ben’s songs felt real. Real stories about real people and the hardships we can all endure.
We had a short intermission while Rod got set up, and then he started his first set.
Rod’s sets had a similar feel to Ben’s. Rod gave a little more background to his stories, and the crowd laughed during his song introductions even if the songs themselves were dark.
The first few songs, I was surprised at the intensity with which Rod sang. He looked pained as he sang for most of the songs. One person in the crowd said it seemed like he was attacking the microphone.
Rod’s songs ranged from lost love, to the anonymity than can accompany working hard, to the mobile home he shared with an early girlfriend.
He joked that he only had one happy song, “Angels and Acrobats.” I also thought that “Not leaving until I’m satisfied” had a more uplifting message. “I want to love you down to the bone” was also a dark, but nice love song.
Both artists played really great shows, and it was nice to start off the house concert season. It’s been nearly 6 months since I attended my last house concert!!
It was also nice to be part of a show that represents such tradition and continuity in supporting independent artists. It got me thinking about trying to host shows in my new St. Pete place. (I figure I can fit 15 people with ease… 🙂 )
If you are looking for new music, check out Ben and Rod.