ariad: (mucc // tatsurou)
[personal profile] ariad

Tonight, I went to see Misty Boyce, Jay Stolar, Charlene Kaye, and Alexz Johnson at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco with [personal profile] sanau_du and Doc Ray. The venue was one of the smallest I'd ever been in, which was great. I love the intimacy of small venues.

We hit the merch booth before the show started. The drummer, Dave Heilman, was manning the booth, which included t-shirts, posters (designed by Charlene!), and CDs from each of the artists, as well as a Charlene Kaye tote bag with a note from Charlene stuck on it that said that anybody who bought the bag would get a doodle from Charlene of whatever they wanted. (She'd offered the same last year at Apocalyptour, which I attended with Doc Ray, but the two of us didn't want to deal with the hoards of Starkid fans at that concert, which is part of why, as much as we both like Starkid, we were so glad she was back in SF without Starkid.) Doc Ray bought a Charlene Kaye tote bag and Charlene's three albums, and I bought the tote bag, Animal Love Remixes (having previously bought Animal Love already), and Misty Boyce's For the Grace of Odd EP.

Since the four artists are all fairly unknown (though I've seen Alexz Johnson on a fanmix or two), the three of us managed to be front and center, along with group of other Charlene fans. Doc Ray ended up swing dancing with one of them for a bit as people trickled into the venue.

All four artists were amazing.

Misty Boyce

I had listened to a little bit of Misty Boyce on Spotify in preparation for this concert and fell immediately in love with her voice. It was even more beautiful live. Her set was just her and Jay Stolar on guitars and harmonizing with their beautiful voices.

She was very personable, conversing with us on a level that wasn't possible with the later artists who had a constant drum accompaniment even between songs. She told us she had forgotten her guitar and had to borrow from Paul, the guitarist for the other three artists. She sang a bit about forgetting her guitar and said the song would be on her next album. "What's it called?" we asked. "Um," she said, "um, it's called 'Um.'"

She, Jay, and Dave Heilman, the drummer for the next three sets, also revealed during her set that they were selling wristbands that contained 2GB flash drives that held the mp3s of her new Tough Love EP "so that after you upload them to your computer, you can put pictures of your friends." "Dave puts naked pictures of his friends." "Dave puts naked pictures of himself." "If I were Dave, I'd put naked pictures of myself. I'd put naked pictures of myself on my wall." You know, I had gone to the concert not planning on buying merch because money, but then I bought $50 worth of stuff, and it was all great, and I don't regret a thing.

(edit: UM, IT IS ACTUALLY 4GB and is named MISTYLOVESU. Including the six tracks, it was $10. BEST DEAL EVER.)

Jay Stolar

I'm fonder of Misty's music than I am of Jay's, but he had a lot of energy. One reason was that he had a full band: himself on vocals and bass, Dave on drums, Paul on guitar, and Misty and another guy whose name I don't remember each on keyboard and backup vocals. Another was that he was constantly engaging the audience. He tried to get us to sing a line back at him, but we only remembered the first word because, to be fair, we were all there for Charlene or Alexz, so we ran with that and had us sing that word each time it came up, and he'd sing the rest of the line. He kept doing things like that so that, even though none of us knew him or were there for him, he had us singing along with him the whole time. For one song, he, Misty, and his other backup vocalist hopped down into the audience and sang with just his acoustic guitar as accompaniment. Overall, he had a great energy and intimacy and was a perfect opener for a main act.

Also, a great number of us in the audience were entranced by Dave, who was indeed very attractive and made great faces as he drummed. At one point, he took a big drink and spat it pretty impressively into the air, showering a few of us in the front. Doc Ray did not appreciate that, whereas, well, I have been to enough concerts that this was the second or third time that I have been spat on by a musician, so I didn't particularly mind.

Charlene Kaye

LOVE OF MY LIFE. She's gone in a very glam direction over the past couple of years, and she came out in a translucent floral long-sleeved dress with her hair all wild and gorgeously ombre and her lips bright red. She opened with "I Dream an Ocean" and "Woman Up," during which a bunch of us near the front were singing along enthusiastically, and she drew a circle above us with her finger and said, "I love this area right here!" She also performed "Hummingbird Heart," "Forever is a Long Time," "Animal Love II," "Animal Love I," and another song I didn't know, but I don't remember in what order except that the two "Animal Love"s were last.

At one point early in her set, she asked for requests. While I requested "Animal Love" and Doc Ray requested "Until the Morning," we were drowned out by people asking for "Dress and Tie," one of her duets with Darren Criss. "But I don't have Darren with me," she said. That's okay, we told her, we'll be Darren! "You'll be Darren? How about you come onstage if you can be Darren." A group of us clambered up onstage, and she explained that she had written the song for her first boyfriend and, after their breakup, never wanted to hear it again. But then she was asked to perform at a wedding and it was the only romantic song in her repertoire, so she revived it and recorded it with Darren. Someone posted a video of her explaining the backstory and of the beginning of the song on tumblr and said she'd upload the rest tomorrow. It was a lot of fun, and she thanked us all for singing with her.

During another song, though I don't remember which ("Hummingbird Heart," I think), she came down into the audience and danced with us while she sang. This made Doc Ray very happy because she took her hand to help her down, and made me very happy because she kind of crashed into me on her way back onstage. What can I say? We are easy and enthusiastic Charlene admirers.

During another song I can't name, she took the hand of one of the few guys in the front and sang to him. He kissed her hand, and she made a :O face. Haha, it was cute.

Overall, she didn't sound perfect (which was fine because she sounds perfect on her albums), but it was obvious that she was having so much fun the whole time, and she was so gracious and affectionate and happy to be there and told us as much.

Alexz Johnson

Um, I kind of checked out by the time Alexz took the stage because we were there for Charlene. I like her music well enough, though, so [personal profile] sanau_du and I stayed put, whereas Doc Ray escaped to a couch by the merch booth, in part to get out of the way of Alexz fans, who were numerous but formed the periphery around a center of Charlene fans.

Alexz sounded great, and her hair was beautiful, and both Misty and Jay were singing backup vocals for her, but ... I found her a bit cold? One guy in the audience shouted, "I love you, Alexz! You're my favorite!", to which [personal profile] sanau_du and I were both expecting a mostly insincere "I love you, too!" in return, as Jay had done, but she kind of ignored him and was in general a lot more distant from the audience and, I guess, professional? than any of the first three acts. Maybe she's just shy or socially awkward. Pretty much all of us at the front and center were there for Charlene, so we decided to let the one guy through to the front. He was so moved that he hugged two of the other girls, and I think he started crying partway through Alexz's set. To Alexz's credit, she took his hand and serenaded him at one point, but I couldn't help thinking how much more engaged Misty or Jay or especially Charlene would have been.

More Charlene

After Alexz left the stage, the one guy started chanting her name, and she had an encore, but [personal profile] sanau_du and I left to find Doc Ray and so that I could purchase Misty's wristband flash drive EP. PICTURE OF ME AND MY SWAG:

Eventually, Charlene came out, and [personal profile] sanau_du and I went up to talk to her. She chatted with us a bit and thanked us for coming, and she also gave me a hug and thanked me for singing with her, and I thanked her for inviting us. Then she asked me what I wanted her to draw on my tote, and I requested herself as the Incredible Hulk in lightning bolt pants.

It was a fantastic night. (The Burger King stop we made afterward didn't hurt.) All of these artists are on Spotify, but I will link here to their official websites and, for Misty and Charlene, a couple of my favorite songs on YouTube, as well.

Misty Boyce - "Dutch Girls" & "Regrets"
Jay Stolar
Charlene Kaye - "Magnolia Wine" & "Dress and Tie" (ft. Darren Criss)
Alexz Johnson


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September 2016

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