The pressures of school work and work life have begun, but even though I shouldn’t risk it, it is nice to have a night out during the week. Especially if it is just seeing an acoustic concert. Even though one might think it would be a quiet evening, the show at the Blast Furnace in Bethlehem was just as loud as any concert.
Thinking there would be no openers for the show, it was a surprise to see two additional musicians added to the bill. The first opener was a local musician by the name of Jessi Lee Ross. Now I’ve lived in Bethlehem for all my life and I’ve been to a lot of shows and seen a lot of local musicians, however, I haven’t heard someone like Jessi in this area ever. She has a very soothing and calm singing voice that I think took everyone by surprise. Usually people think, “Local musicians need a lot more practice.” Jessi is definitely the exception. I hope she keeps this part of her life up, because I think she might have something.
The second opener was someone I knew which was just as crazy. I mentioned on other posts that I’ve toured with bands before and one band was Mxpx. After that tour, whenever they come into my area, I always go see them and say hi. I saw Mike Herrera of Mxpx do a solo show a few years back and bring out a band called Gasoline Heart. Little did I know the lead singer, Louis DeFabrizio, was playing the show tonight. Louis’s set was mixed between playing Gasoline Heart songs and comedy. Stopping in between songs to tell everyone to be quite and then proceeding to embarrass a heckler by sitting next to him and sing, Louis made his set the best I’ve seen. To that heckler, a real musician tunes by ear not a turner and Louis is a real musician. The last song of Louis’s set was a cover of The Tokens “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Not only did he ask for crowd participation, but he also changed the lyrics by dissing Bethlehem. I think some people took offense, but I laughed because he was only joking. I don’t think Gasoline Heart’s set is filled with as much comedy, but I will find out in March when they open for the Ataris.
The headliner was the ever so talented Kevin Devine. Playing for just about two hours, Kevin played songs that he wanted to play and also taking requests from the audience. The Blast Furnace is a great setting for shows like this, the intimate setting make the show astounding. One thing I will say about Kevin is that even though his music is very serious, in between songs he is very funny. Talking about how he views the music industry and having family in the area with only a smile on his face shows that he loves what he does. Not only that, but he made sure he got to meet every single person in attendance. Also, for someone playing for two hours by themselves on stage, his voice did not give out. During the song “Brother’s Blood”, Kevin stepped away from the microphone and yelled the bridge section with so much emotion. Myself and others were blown away by how flawless he plays without missing a beat. This was my first time seeing Kevin Devine and I hope it isn’t my last.