Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review of: Jeremy Messersmith Live {featuring John Mark Nelson}

I love Jeremy Messersmith.  He's quirky, cute, poetic, interesting, and his voice just makes me smile.

Mike and I got $10 tickets to see him earlier this week.  Yes, only 10 DOLLARS!  He played at 7th Street Entry {part of First Avenue}, and somehow was both of our first times there.  Capacity is 250, with a sunken "dancefloor" in front of the stage, and the rest is a bit elevated above the stage.  A small, intimate setting with lots of history.  Being short, I snagged a spot along the back wall where they have a sort of outcropping on the wall where you can sit/stand.

I always get angry at tall people at concerts...then I realized...Mike is one of them!

We arrived just after doors at 7:45-ish and saw the setlist:  John Mark Nelson @ 8:30, The Starfolk @ 9:30, and Jeremy @ 10:30.  This was a weeknight.  I'm normally in bed by 10:30!  Not to mention, I had no desire to be on my feet for 4 hours.  We considered ditching since the tickets were only 10$, but I realllly like Jeremy Messersmith, so we toughed it out.

John Mark Nelson is only 19 years old, local, and has a really smooth voice.  He played solo, had a good, light-hearted attitude, and generally impressed me.  He is soon releasing his music video via MTV, which is super exciting for a young, Minnesota artist!  I love local music, and hearing that he is getting some recognition is fantastic.  Definitely check him out.

Speaking of recognition, Jeremy Messersmith got signed to Glassnote Records probably over a year ago.  When I heard, I was so excited for him!  But according to his not-so-nice comments during this show, it seems he is frustrated with the whole situation.  He's been working on a new record for years, and the label keeps kicking songs back at him.  How discouraging to have your creative process stifled by "The Man".

In any case, his set was very entertaining.  I have seen him three times now, and he never disappoints.  First of all, he started with probably my favorite song:  Violet!  He also had live cello, which melts me.  Any live strings makes a show better!  He had a nice mixture of old songs from The Silver City and The Reluctant Graveyard, as well as some new ones, not yet performed or recorded.  Some of the new songs were great {one of them was something like "I need a hitman for my heart, loved that one}, some were a little too much of a "ditty"{"I wanna be your one-night stand}.

He is a great poet, which is why I appreciate his work, but I need something a little more exciting at a live show!  It will be interesting to see what his eventually new album sounds like.  If his label is giving him this much trouble, I am anxious to hear it.  In the meantime, I suggest you go listen to The Reluctant Graveyard.  He has an amazing mix of jazzy, upbeat, melodious songs.  You will enjoy!

His drummer sang in the harmonies, his guitarist ripped some solos, and the cellist also played keyboards and bass guitar, as well as backup vocals.  I envy talented people!  I really love a group that can shine at more than one instrument, and ANY drummer who can harmonize while playing boggles me.  SO much talent.  LOVE.

Jeremy's encore was him playing guitar and belting out a few solo songs.  He had to keep pushing his glasses up his nose,  has the vintage hairstyle, and is altogether a character.  I am obviously a fan.

I will touch on The Starfolk.  This is Jeremy's guitarist, his wife, and some others.  NOT A FAN of them.  First of all, the couple had the same haircut...disturbing.  And the wife does not have a good voice.  My suggestion...don't waste your time.  I was very unimpressed and frankly tried to block the sound out.  {Mind you, at this time it was late, I was already irritated and tired.}  Maybe that had something to do with it, but personally, I will not be checking them out again.

Moral of the story:  go listen to John Mark Nelson, see a Messersmith show, and embrace local music!

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