I’ve always treated live performance as a very thoughtful, almost meditative thing in some ways. Definitely for me because it allows me to express my work in the best possible way and also keeps me on my toes because you never know what kind of moments will be with a real crowd during a real show. There are some things about being able to play live that are hard to articulate, but it’s a huge honor for me to come back on stage.
I’m a bit of a smaller artist in comparison and had really amazing turnout rates at my shows. I think this is where my music translates best, beyond streaming and recording. A lot of people like to see it up close because I can perform songs in different ways, whether it’s just me or with a band or whatever. This was good because I had done a few live shows over the past year, but nothing in theaters with real people since before the lockdown. So it was nice to walk to the hall and there were already people lining up. Standing in line is something that fascinates me. Granted, I’m not the one doing it, but it’s fun to see it all again.
Seeing people’s faces up close and then the silhouettes of the crowd not so far behind them was not quite like riding a bicycle. The act of playing music was like riding a bicycle, but the nervous energy that comes with playing shows that really should never go away reintroduced itself, and it was really motivating. I mentioned on stage at shows what a privilege it is to perform for real people in the first place, but after something like the last two years being able to announce something and come back on stage and do it again. and having a reaction like before is really reassuring for my sanity.
On social media and also when I first started broadcasting on Twitch, covers were always thrown on my Instagram and my livestreams and the like. There have been a few occasions in my career so far that kind of resonated with people. I think by taking over a song [at live shows], there is as much strategy and science behind it in a creative way as the performance of the original songs too because there are some good moments of connection if you are specific about the cover selection and all that. You, one, give your audience insight into your influences and the things that inspire you, and two, specific to certain songs, where I might have been a little oblivious or what I was listening to while writing stuff. I like to use the covers as backstage narration or as a background to the original music.
Every time I check the sound on the guitar, especially me on the acoustics, I always start playing “Faith You Might”. This song has been with me since it was part of my old college band’s second album which never came out. I wrote this song when I was 18 or 19. It’s just a nice fingering style pattern that’s low on the guitar register and is easy to check out, but it’s also a pretty meaningful song to me regardless of all of that. I think because I’m so comfortable with this one, I was excited to play it.
I was also pretty excited to put “Refuse” back in the key rotation as it’s always a fun challenge to pull off the intro without spoiling it. [Laughs] I think since I got this song, I never really did the intro live.
My favorite part of the two shows at the Hotel Café was probably, during the evening, hearing the reactions of people to the beginnings of the songs. There were a few times where I played a few in some sort of medley and I liked listening to the audience come with me because I was picking the songs out of a hat while we were playing them. There was no real rhyme or reason why these were going to be played. It’s nice to hear people hooking up to the songs and, again, after almost two years of absence, to know that there are still people listening and people who want to come to concerts and know the music. song lyrics. It’s something that will never get old for me.
As told to Rania Aniftos.