Archive for the ‘Musikfest Cafe’ Category

[POSTPONED: June 4, 2020] Mountain Goats (solo) [moved to October 12]

indexI like The Mountain Goats quite a lot.  I think John Darnielle is a great songwriter.

I’ve never seen them (or him) live and I’ve often thought it would be an enjoyable night, but they’re usually just under my radar.

I’d usually prefer to see a band rather than its lead singer solo, but in this case, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference to me.  Seeing him at the Musikfest Cafe would be pretty fantastic–a great venue with excellent acoustics.

The biggest surprise to me is how quickly his shows sell out.  If this one hadn;t sold it, it was very close, by the time it was postponed.


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[ATTENDED: November 6, 2019] Steve Page Trio

I saw the Steven Page Trio about a year ago in Philadelphia.  When he announced that he was touring some more and coming to Bethlehem, I grabbed tickets for me and S. right away.

S. doesn’t really know his solo stuff at all, but she is a fan of BNL and has always said how much she liked his voice, so I thought it would be a fun, relaxing, seated event.

We were so close, we were literally right next to the stage.  When you’re standing, its a coveted spot, but when you’re seated, it’s terrible!  Luckily, they moved Dean Friedman’s giant monitor out of my way so I could actually see them all.  But in hindsight, sitting a few seats back would have been far preferable.

The weirdest thing is every time he picked up or put down his water bottle I thought he was going to talk to me (he didn’t).

I love being up close, the angles were just all wrong.  Any pictures I took were going to be of Steven’s crotch (!).   Fortunately, the vocals sounded fine.

I have learned from past experiences that seeing an artist a few months apart often means the same or a similar setlist.  And that’s what happened here.  Although when I look at other recent shows I see that he seems to have a kind of rotating setlist of some of the songs.  I saw that the night a few nights before us was amazing with “Alternative Girlfriend” (the song I really wanted to hear!) and “Someone Who’s Cool” an Odds cover!  They also played “Manchild,” my favorite new song of his and “Break Your Heart” both of which I have heart before but, come on, they are awesome.  Incidentally Odds opened for Steven Page in Canada.  Once again I wish I was above thee border not for political reasons. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 6, 2019] Dean Friedman

I was really excited to see that Steven Page was going to play in Bethlehem.  I grabbed seats immediately.  And when I saw the set up of the room, I grabbed seats right in the front.

In my head, this room was going to be set up with a short stage (maybe a foot high) and a series of tables around it.  Instead, what we had was a full-sized stage (four feet tall) and a series of tables that went right up to the stage.  So, in fact, I could rest my arm on the stage if I wanted to.

It was also unexpected that you could order food at these tables–with waitstaff service!  Evidently you could have arrived at 6 and ordered a proper dinner.  We arrived at 7:15 and had (rather yummy) Parmesan fries.  It was also awkward having strangers sitting across from us.  They really didn’t seem like people we wanted to talk to either.

When the usher seated us he told me I did a great job getting seats.  But he was wrong.  We were actually too close!  And the way that Friedman had his gear setup, his monitor was literally blocking my view .  I couldn’t see him at all when he played the piano and I could really only see his face and guitar when he played guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 19, 2017] Barenaked Ladies

It was almost exactly a year ago that we saw Barenaked Ladies.  And it was almost exactly a year ago that I decided that even though their shows are a ton of fun, I didn’t really need to see them again (it’s been like 7 times now), because they have gotten kind of samey.

And then I saw that they were playing Steelstacks–the place where I have gotten unbelievably close to quite a few bands.  So this was the chance to go out with a blaze of glory and see them up close for the first time.

But then there was the threat of torrential thunderstorms.  So they moved the show inside to the Musikfest Cafe.  We were pleased about that as the thought of standing in the rain isn’t appealing.  The rain all ended by about 7 so it was moot, bit whatever.  This meant that we could see this band in a teeny tiny club where the sound was amazing.  A local paper says that the outside show approximates 3,000 tickets.  The Cafe holds about 1,000 people.  The paper said that 1,032 tickets were sold for the show.  That’s not much for a fairly large band like BNL, but I have to wonder (and hope) that a lot of people came as walk-ins and were turned away. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 19, 2017] Gary Jules

I wasn’t aware that there was an opening act for Barenaked Ladies until I received the email that the show would be moved inside and that Gary Jules would be going on at 7:30.  Normally I like to get there for an opening act (I mean we did pay for the act, right?).  So I looked up who he was.

If you search Google videos, 8 of the first ten hits are for “Mad World.”  This is a cover of the Tears for Fears song (which I really like).  Jules’ cover strips everything out of it and makes it really slow and really, really depressing.  The original is certainly dark but with the synths it’s more ironically dark.

I listened to one other piece by him and decided that, no I didn’t need to see Jules.  And I couldn’t think of a worse opener for the manic intensity of BNL. (more…)

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