It’s that time of year again in the Tampa Bay area: Listening Room Festival time!!
This is a music festival that honors house concerts and listening rooms, those small venues that actually concentrate on the music.
Last night was the opening event: a meet-the-artists event where each of the artists featured in the festival played two songs to give people a taste of what’s to come throughout the week. I volunteered to work the merchandise table.
My official title is Merch Empress.
The wheels were already in motion in the Palladium Side Door when I arrived, since I couldn’t get down to St. Pete until a little before the doors opened. A team of volunteers and LRF employees were setting the scene, while the artists finished with sound check.
Once the doors opened, a stream of folks entered and nearly filled the room.
Throughout the course of the night, we enjoyed the music of 8 different artists. Woody Russell started off the night with a jazzy, bluesy sound.
Susie Vinnick was up next, and she took the blues sound a little deeper.
Peppino D’Agostino brought a completely different sound. His first song was completely acoustic and showed an amazing mastery of the guitar. It was a much more classical sounding song. For his second song, we got to sing along in Italian. Interestingly, “la la la la la” is the same in Italian as it is in English.
Tim and Myles Thompson finished out the first portion of the show. They played two moving songs with a country, Celtic-y sound.
Merch Empress duties ensued during the break, and Jason, my volunteer photographer, went to get food.
The blog photos will be significantly crappier (i.e. iPhone pics) for the rest of this post. I take full responsibility.
Dan Franchette and Laurel Thomsen opened up the second half of the show with a masterful pairing of guitar and fiddle. Dan had the most awesome stage presence and facial expressions. Apparently he’s quite the guy to have around during a camp fire.
The best dressed act of the night was up next: Ryanhood. This duo sported a poppy, yet somewhat folky and country sound.
Antsy McClain provided comedy along with music for the night. His first song was “She Whistles When She Walks.” Let’s just say the lyrics don’t suggest the whistling comes from her mouth. His second song was more serious and moving. It was about living in the big time right here, right now, wherever we are.
Olivia Millerschin provided a lighter, poppier sound to the evening. Her songs were quiet and thoughtful. She added a few instruments to the night by playing ukulele and piano.
I definitely should have asked Jason to continue taking pictures after he came back from getting food…
Last, but certainly not least, were The Bombadils. They definitely had a blue grassy sound with their trio of fiddle, guitar, and cello.
This opening event foretold great things to come throughout the week. The level of talent present last night was amazing and inspiring. This year adds to my feeling that this event adds something really special to the Tampa Bay area.
And, if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you’re in luck! All of these acts are going to be playing all this week. You can find a show or house concert near you here to experience them all live!!
If you don’t live in this area, you’re in luck! There’s this wonderful invention called the internet that allows you to search and find awesome things and experience them through screens and speakers. Go check out some of these fantastic talents! Find a new favorite band!
If you are interested in hosting your own house concert, ConcertsInYourHome.com is a great place to start.