This is not a review of artists and their level of skill or expertise. That's been done to death and no matter what you might say, it's all subjective and unless you're ready to 're-build' that which you tear down.., then what's the point? Observations with no eventual destination, are trips that go alot of places without winding up at a destination.
Last nights, B Sharp Showcase brought to the stage at The Living Room, in lower Manhattan, some of the most refreshing acts on their trajectory to national attention. Some were making their New York debut and others were finding themselves impressed with the challenge of playing in a new city, while being surrounded by family and friends and then there were those that seem to do it by the numbers 'cause the stage is so familiar. In the end, all the bands represented various stages of growth and presence and it was an exercise, for those that came to learn it, in what 'works' in a live setting in NYC and what doesn't. There were elements of vanity that ultimately creep in any performance. Some cover their's with witty banter, others talk about the weather.., some smash their guitars.., all in a ploy to get you not to focus on the area of their insecurity. In the end, an artist only feels the things they feel, when they forget that in New York, especially, it's ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC.
Those that had successful outings had a combination of preparedness and presence while always being mindful of their audience. Acknowledging an audience and engaging them ever so briefly allows the performer to feel a part of something organic and with an audience's support, a performer can soar beyond his own wildest imagination. But in the end, without that support, it can be a long, long set. Often we're told less is more and a few well placed songs and nice rapport will be enough.., but more often than not, this is never enough. Acts with so much to give, will always leave you wanting more.., acts that feel they have to 'prove something' can never be sure if they did enough and in the end, it's that insecurity that will make an act do just one song too many.
So as I reflect on the acts, their various moments in the sun, I send a message of caution to those that will be doing this sort of outing in the very near future. Don't fail to do your homework and rehearse. Do consider that the night is not all about you and finally 'entertain' your audience with truthfulness, not theatrics. New York audiences aren't all that different than others in other states.., we just get 'more of all that's available' than other places but when we see 'special' we are the first to call it out and reward it with our undying and unflinching support. Kudos to BJ Barratt and friends who did a superb job putting on a first class showcase and who showed those of us in attendance about the depth of love and support they have given to the indie music artist community.
This reflection review is mostly for those that were in attendance, namely the artists, to feel and see what an audience experiences without being exposed.., but will be a very present help in your time of showcase if you just remember a few of these observations and allow them to aide or assist you in making the most of your time on the stage, under the lights. To those that I got to meet and personally thank, I want to say publicly that you're the reasons I do what I do.., and last night was a joy to behold and a balm for my soul in those moments in each performance that revealed your honest intentions.
I pray you all peace, on your journeys to those special places your gifts will take you.
Brother EDEN Douglas
New York, New York