Last Saturday evening, the Charleston Music Hall played host to the Holy City Pop Show, and we happily went along for the ride.
Before we get into the showcase of artists, let’s spend a little time enlightening you on this wonderful venue.
With a max capacity hovering somewhere near 950, the Charleston Music Hall promises to be the type of venue that can pull in a perfectly sized crowd…large enough to draw good artists yet small enough to give the crowd the intimate concert experience that is so elusive in music today. Managing Director Charles Carmody has only been in the role for 7 months, but has already set high expectations for the venue. In speaking with Charles, he mentioned various improvements which he hopes will help the Music Hall attract successful groups. Even before these improvements have begun, the Hall was a great backdrop for the night. The sound was wonderfully projected and clean without feeling overbearing, and the proximity of the stage to the seated audience made me feel the show was happening in my living room. If you have not been to the Charleston Music Hall, I strongly urge you to attend an event there in the near future.
The Holy City Pop Show was compromised of three separate acts, and the evening kicked off with a strong performance by Luke Cunningham. Luke and his backing band put on a set which towed the line between Americana, Rock, Folk and Blues. Luke ripped through his set which included special guests Tyler Mechem (from the soon to be disbanded outfit, Crowfield) and Sarah Cole, who, along with cellist Lonnie Root, held their own on the song “Songs about California”. A solid performer, Luke is comfortable in front of an audience and stays well engaged throughout his set. He enjoys performing and is passionate about his craft. He could be on his way to bigger things, and each moment he spends on stage allows him to grow and improve as he makes the journey.
Slow Runner followed, and left me briefly amazed at the amount of skill and deliberate presence that went into their songs. Slow Runner is fronted by Michael Flynn, whom, I might add, was sporting a moustache akin to the late Robert Goulet, and musical partner Josh Kaler, this band proves that they are not afraid to take the listener out on a limb while being totally confident in their delivery. In short, what could become a mess for most musicians, they pull off effortlessly. There are specs and glints of other artists, who, in my opinion range from Radiohead, to Wilco, to Jamie Cullum.
Closing out the evening was The Explorers Club. Favoring throwback sounds similar to Fifth Dimension and the Association, this performance looked like a family reunion due to the sheer number of members involved. There were no less than 18-20 people on stage at any given time. Recently signed to Rockridge Music, The Explorers Club took the stage and made a statement. Their powerful and dynamic sound resonated well driving the kind of bass line that makes your heart thump. This band is currently touring behind its’ 6th release and 2nd full length record “Grand Hotel”. Having them close out the night was sheer genius and the crowd was left drunk on rhythm. My only regret…even though last Saturday was Groundhog Day the Holy City Pop Show didn’t repeat itself the next night…now that would have been cool!