I have this overwhelming fear of writing reviews. Interviewing artists? No sweat. But watching them play and then writing about it strikes a fear into this little heart of mine that rivals the sinking feeling in my stomach when I can’t see my kid on the playground. What if they’re awful? What if I can’t find a single good thing to say about them and every artist I’ve ever respected reads that one review and now no one will ever talk to me? See? It’s terrifying. The only thing that makes it worse is interviewing an artist as nice, and as smart as Brian Marquis and then having an hour to sit and panic about the upcoming show.
Well ladies and gentleman, one chicken and waffles burrito (oh yes) and a few shots of Jameson later I realized I had nothing to worry about. As the first act of The Acoustic Basement Tour, Front Porch Step, played his first song it became evident that Marquis’ taste and talent extended to the acts he chose for this year’s line up. From Front Porch Step, to Hit The Lights front man Nick Thompson and headliners, Transit. I was reminded of how I got into this scene in the first place. The energy in the room was tangible. From sing songy anthems, to broken hearted ballads, every band captivated the room and held the attention of a generation notorious for not giving a damn about anything that doesn’t offer the opportunity of a high score.
But the highlight of the night for me was Brian’s set. Admittedly, I was a little weary. Earlier he had told me his inspirations included Van Morrison and James Taylor. I know I just gave this audience a lot of credit, but I just didn’t know if the pop punk audience was going to appreciate that sort of thing. Well. I was wrong. Just as Marquis knows how to pick a line up, he knows what he’s doing on stage. The power, and talent that man emits is nothing short of impressive. Admittedly, I had only listened to Brian on the suggestion of other artists like Chuck Ragan and Joe Ginsberg, and I had always liked what I heard, but I was really blown away by his live show. Humble and unassuming, he managed to drop a meaningful and effective set with just himself and a guitar to such an extent that you forgot at some point there was a full band behind him.
I can’t stress enough how impressed I am by the entire Acoustic Basement Tour. Be it because of first timer’s like Front Porch Step or seasoned veterans like Transit, and Brian Marquis, kids are getting excited about music in all its forms and that is something that you can’t put a price on. Do yourself a favor and check out the stage on Warped Tour or grab tickets to the show next time it rolls around.
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