October: A Review

October is a month that you one often thinks about in retrospect.  The World Series, college and pro football, and Halloween occupy the last week of October, throwing the rest of the month into obscurity; unfairly we think.  With the loom of Thanksgiving and the push of the Christmas Holiday shopping season earlier each year, we sometimes forget to chill out while the weather chills out and just listen to the crackling of leaves, the sharpness of our breathes, and the glory of autumnal change.  We would like to write this blog post as a retrospective on an October event schedule we are proud of here at the Charleston Music Hall.

IMG_3394Oct. 5th – Jen Hendershot’s Big Shot Classic

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  Greasy, jacked, yoked, buff, stacked, packed, huge, big, ain’t nuttin’ but a peanut! Our second hosting of the Jen Hendershot Big Shot Classic was full of talented young body builders looking for a launchpad into the bigger competitions.  An early rise and late night left a day filled with flexing, posing, and cheers for the winners and losers as the Charleston Music Hall stage was transformed into a battle ground for these amateur builders to flex their guns and try to impress the judges.  Jen, the organizer of the event along with Trey Bennett, truly knows how to put on a good show and is one of the most encouraging coaches / trainers.  Her love of fitness and health certainly comes through with the hard work she puts into this event every year.

IMG_1349Oct. 11th – Grass in the Hall Season Finale: BlueBilly Grit, Cranford & Sons, The Grascals

Awendaw Green’s Eddie White is THE MAN.  Let’s just get that straight right now.  You will not find a nicer man in Charleston nor one who cares more about the community and bringing folks together.  Grass in the Hall was the brainchild of Eddie White, founder of Awendaw Green, and us at the Charleston Music Hall.  The goal was to combine the communal feel of the barn jams out in Awendaw with the musicianship and presentation style of the Grande Ole Opry in Nashville and create a bluegrass showcase of sorts.  The process allowed us to meet amazing people from around the country with a like minded interest in bringing bluegrass/Americana/folk to a wider audience.  We explored the vast differences within this genre from traditional bluegrass to punkgrass.  We are a bit discouraged that the Grass in the Hall shows did not have better turnouts.  We were hoping to build a monthly event based around this amazing genre; however, we are left scratching our heads and thinking that maybe all people want is marquee value.  All three of the bands that played the finale are top notch performers.  We wanted to highlight local and regional acts just as much as we want to host national ones, and you can bet your bottom dollar that you will see Hilton Head / Charleston based Cranford & Sons back on our stage.  The Grascals might not be a household name, but they certainly are Bluegrass royalty having played on the Grande Ole Oprey stage over 100 times.  They have also been nominated for three Grammys.  For now, The Grass in the Hall Series will not be returning in 2014, but we certainly hope to work with Eddie White again sooner than later.  If you came to one of these events and truly enjoyed it, please let us know.  We want to be creating events / shows / series that Charlestonians want to come and enjoy, and your input is always highly valued.

IMG_3431Oct. 12th – Triple Album Release Show: Guilt Ridden Troubadour, Gaslight Street, Ryan Bonner & The Dearly Beloved

We love working with local artists.  The local shows we did in 2013 were certainly some of our favorite, as we got to help create some very special shows from building camping sets with Brendan James and Steven Fiore, to creating a 50 foot chain of rings with Rachel Kate, to releasing 3 albums in one night!  The Charleston music scene continues to astound me with the way in which our musicians encourage each other to succeed and constantly collaborate.  I truly believe that without collaboration art cannot succeed.  Yes, sometimes one must hole him or herself up in their mountain home and create an amazing album in complete isolation, ahem Justin Vernon, but in order for music to take life it must run through the hands of many different people.  The musicians in this town are truly beautiful, and I love each and every one of these hard working crazy ass folks.  It was amazing to see these three bands put aside their egos and come together to celebrate each other.  They put out three damn good albums, and we were proud to host their release.  We were a bit sad that some in the press did not hone in on how awesome it was to have three albums being released in one night by three different bands, but Stratton Lawrence did write a solid article about Guilt Ridden Troubadour’s Reid Stone that you can check out HERE, and Metronome Charleston wrote a great review HERE, and another great piece highlighting Gaslight Street HERE.  We had Home Team BBQ set up shop in the lobby and fed the patrons sliders and Fritos pork salads (so good!).  Charleston rock and roll is poised to give Nashville a run for its money.

Oct. 23rd – David Sedaris

Such quick sardonic whit only graces books once in a blue moon.  Compared to authors such as Flannery O’ Connor, Richard Yates, and Kurt Vonnegut, David Sedaris shines as a light of hilarious reason in a world full of intricate confusions.  Tales of his family, everyday occasions, and his past can be read and heard in his New York Times best selling novels, his New Yorker articles, and on NPR’s This American Life.  It was an honor to have him at the Music Hall.  He fell in love with our one-eyed miniature poodle named Margaret (yes she does attend every show and sits next to her dad, Dany Kapp, who runs the light boards) and signed my (Charles) poster Charles, You and Margaret Enchanted Me.  Sedaris spoke for just over two hours to a sold out  and excited crowd and stayed at the Music Hall until 1:30 in the morning signing books and making people smile for almost four hours.  Mr. Sedaris, we are enchanted by you.  Please keep being so wonderful.  We hope to see you soon.

IMG_1604Oct. 25th – Robert Earl Keen

A rambunctious night of wild west country and rock n’ roll! Robert Earl Keen hit the Charleston Music Hall stage with fervent splendor. He certainly is a professional.  He strolled into the Music Hall just as the stage was finished being set up, picked up his acoustic guitar, ran through one song, asked for more vocal, and then walked back out the door not to return until he literally walked onto the stage to a sold out screaming crowd.  I never thought I would meet a musician as cool as Tommy Emmanuel, but Robert Earl Keen certainly takes the cake.  The crowd danced and sung through the night.  We must not forget to mention The Danberrys, a lovely duo who opened the evening.  We definitely suggest checking them out.

IMG_1649Oct. 26th – The Charleston Jazz Orchestra presents World of Bebop

Bebop is the speed metal of jazz. A fascinating fact that you should bring up at your next dinner party:  Bebop was created to get people to stop dancing and listen to the music.  The musicians purposefully created bebop to be too fast to dance to with fast tempos and improvisation so quick they will make your head spin.  Some classic bebop musicians include Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Thelonius Monk (if you want to make everyone at the dinner party think you are real classy).  Ballard Leeseman and Metronome Charleston wrote a wonderful review of the show, so we urge you to check out his review HERE.  We love being the home of the CJO and are looking forward to their 2014 season.  Season tickets are on sale now.  You can find them HERE.  Do not miss their Holiday Swing Show next Saturday, Nov. 23!

Whew!  So there you have it, October.

“There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, When from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name.”  – William Bliss