Sunday, August 26, 2007

T'WAS A WEEK OF FANTASTIC SHOWS IN LOS ANGELES -- Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week we were at the Hotel Cafe -- both nights to see performances from NY's Ingrid Michaelson and L.A.'s Meiko. Both nights were packed to the rafters. Both ladies impressed.

These two artists make up quite the little bill! Both equally compelling singer/songwriters, but in different ways. Let's try to put it this way: If both girls were in your high school class, Ingrid would be your pal during after-school Drama practice and you'd cheat off of her in Honors Chemistry. Meiko is the girl you'd cut class with 'cuz she knows of a guy who could make a great fake ID. Make sense?

If you haven't picked up music from Ingrid Michaelson, go here and buy music from iTunes. The songs will be recognizable -- she's had lots of them featured in TV shows over the past year or so. The live show absolutely holds up to the recordings -- Michaelson exudes the confidence of an artist whose toured the world, and her guitarist/backup singer Allie Moss nails the harmonies every time. Sometimes the 'tween song banter is reminiscent of those SNL "Delicious Dish" skits (the ones in which Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon play NPR radio hosts), but you can't deny the overall cuteness of their set. We are officially super-fans. Good times.

L.A. singer/songwriter Meiko, who we've been championing on this blog from almost day one, will apparently have her music available through iTunes sometime over the next week or so, too. Stay tuned! We can only imagine it's just a matter of time before we hear HER songs in TV shows across the dial as well. Check out her MySpace page for concert dates -- she's hitting the road through September with Brett Dennen.

Thursday night, we were at the Hotel Cafe AGAIN (props to the bookers there -- they know their shit) -- this time to see NY's Brendan James and L.A.'s Jessie Baylin (both previously written about on TALENTfilter as well). Watching Brendan James was like watching a young Billy Joel or Elton John. Seriously. This guy is GREAT and you can SEE that he's going to be huge. Our only hope is that as he evolves as a writer, he'll add into the mix some of those non-ballad-y hits that guys like Billy and Elton have had success with. If he doesn't, he may run the risk of being thrown into the corner with Damien Rice and other way-too-mellow-for-the-masses acts. A little birdy tells us that Atlantic Records and Universal Records are the two front-runners in the label derby. More unsubstantiated 'news' as we get it!

Jessie Baylin put on a fantastic 'homecoming' performance as well -- looks like those dates with UK crooner James Morrison have really paid off! Much more like a rock star than a 'regular chick', Baylin and her band have outgrown the small stage circuit -- we look forward to seeing her at larger venues! If she can keep things in check and remain endearing and approachable, she could have a great future. Aanother little birdy tells us that Jessie is thiiiiiiiiiiis close to signing on the dotted line with a major label. We applaud her holding out for this long and hope she gets a fair deal!

Saturday night's alright for fighting, but the only folks we wanted to smack around last night were the bookers/promoters at L.A. venue The Mint. What happened to that place? We were there to see the talented L.A. singer/songwriter Andrew Paul Woodworth, and walked in to what appeared to be a cheesy strip club -- sans strippers. MC Douchebag was up there by the soundboard doing his best 'make sure you tip your waitresses and bartenders' shtick, and Woodworth and his band went on 45 minutes late. The sound is notoriously shitty at this place, but someone deaf was behind the board last night. Oof. Thumbs down to the staff at The Mint. Get your shit together people.
Regarding the show -- Woodworth was in prime form -- playing with an almost entirely new band, he blazed through his set of, well, entirely new songs, with experienced professionalism. Woodworth recently got married, and his new material is a lot less angst-y and a lot more love-y. Tough to immediately digest, especially if you've known him for being the 'on the verge of a nervous breakdown'-type frontman, these songs will be 'growers'. His new record, Eddy Ate Dynamite, will be released in Europe soon and he hits the road for a string of dates in Germany beginning September 19. Woodworth is available for signing outside of Europe, and iss actively seeking management and a publishing deal.