Saturday, May 26, 2012

Concert: An Evening With William Beckett

The first concert of the summer (officially given that it's Memorial Day weekend) and what looks like the last show of the summer at The Masquerade (I've been through their line up for the summer and nothing is jumping out at me) was the wisest choice I've made so far. It's going to be hard for anything to live up to this show.

Things were running late due to crews and band running into some car issues on the way out of Florida, and that plus the fact that it's the Masquerade meant that there was plenty of loitering outside waiting to buy Champ a ticket (since he decided at the last minute to tag along) and waiting to get in. I didn't really mind since we were running late a little and wound up getting in early enough to get a great spot for the show (not that there is a bad space in Purgatory or that it was that huge of a show).

First up was Cara Salimando, whom I knew nothing about. When she walked out, honestly I sort of looked around to see what else we were getting with her because she was this tiny little thing that almost wandered out and stood behind a piano. Once she started speaking it was just precious, with a sweet little voice that you can't help but smile at. What really got me was the moment she started singing. My first thought was "how did that sound come out of that tiny person?"
Cara Salimando_7
I have a bias against female singers sometimes, often, but man I loved Cara. Her voice was so pure and true and paired with just piano it was amazing. It reminded me of Vanessa Carlton (seriously that is meant to be a compliment in the best of ways), of Michelle Branch, of any of those true female vocalists that were great before the too breathy Taylor Swifts that have me hating female vocalists. Her music was just so true, so solid, filling the room with just one girl and a piano. That doesn't happen often.
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Her on-stage banter was fantastic, fun stories, sweet comments, proof that she is just an overall adorable human being. I did love that as she intro'ed a more upbeat song it came with the comment of "don't worry it's still full of girl feels" which just made it. And a perfect description of her music. Full of girl feels (without being annoying like TS).
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"Commonwealth" broke my heart. Not only is it a great song, a beautiful song, but it's about being in Boston. Towards the end of the song there's a smattering street names, all streets I've been on and in a moment I missed my friends and the people there I love. Hopefully she didn't notice me getting all flustered halfway through a song I'd never heard before that moment. Her album comes with her and the full band, but if you get the chance to see the girl and the piano? Take it. Trust me.
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Up next, obviously, was William Beckett. I was more than thrilled, more than excited. I saw him the first time with The Academy Is.. when they toured with All American Rejects and Rooney (which I brought up when we chatted and we both got excited about Rooney and he made the Princess Diaries reference), and I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. I was more than excited to see him again, since it really had been years since the last time and the moment he started singing I was hooked again. But then again, how can anyone not get hooked when he opened with Damien Rice's "Elephant"?
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The set was beautiful, some old songs that he'd worked on for a while. Some unreleased things that have only been seen on youtube, and of course the new EP in it's entirety. I've said before that I love the EP, but it's better live. Really truly. We, singing along, messed up "Compromising Me" so William went back and went through it again so we wouldn't have that awkward moment again. It was adorable. "Oh Love" is still fantastic as well and I honestly couldn't help but move with it.
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We were treated with some old TAI classics, and a special song for a local girl who William met a few years ago through Make A Wish, whose friends were there. Sadly, Gracie, lost her battle and the song was in memory of, but it was still beautiful and a special moment for the Atlanta crowd.
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During a 'funny story' William told he mentioned watching "Baseball Tonight" and of course, our favorite guy, Champ whooped out loud (and was the only one). Lovingly enough, William was more than pleased by it, calling back to Champ, admitting it was one of his favorite shows. We had a good giggle at the fact that of anyone, it'd be Champ who'd win him over and later when we chatted with William, the boys talked baseball for a good few moments. There was also a small break to talk about the 'shipping' of him and Gabe from Cobra Starship that goes on online and we were chastised with a smile for shipping. Though he did seem amused by it, and it was obvious he sees what goes up on Tumblr more than some of us would like to know.
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My favorite of all the covers that I've seen him do online though is his cover of Ryan Adams' "Come Pick Me Up" which comes with harmonica as well and back up vocals from Cara. I might have had tears in my eyes as well, so touched by that song, so moved by the beauty of it. Trust me I'm a bit of a loser.
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There's no denying the talent that William has. There's no avoiding that he's better than most out there, a perfect voice and a deep love of music, real music, not just what the radio wants to hear. And he'll keep at it, if talk about future music is any indicator.
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Afterward he was a complete doll, hanging around to chat up anyone who stayed to see him, signing things, taking photos and having real conversations with anyone who wanted to chat. There's a true appreciation of the fans, the response they have to the music and if people keep coming back from one show to another. Definitely a fantastic experience. It will be hard to top it, and if he finds his way back to Atlanta again? (Maybe with one of those 'bigger' acts that he hinted at possibly touring with.) I will likely find myself there again.

Want to see more photos? There are more up on my flickr page. Enjoy!


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