The show I was planning on going to last night was cancelled. I was super bummer. It was supposed to be a night with Palmer T. Lee- a musician I fell in love with after reviewing his new album but, alas, the weather had him stranded in North Dakota. It would have been so easy for me to just chalk my night up to a night off after hearing that the show was cancelled but, let’s be honest, nights off just aren’t my thing and thankfully I had another show in my back pocket: Ben Noble was releasing he new single. This show was closer to home and, although nervous about having to walk a couple blocks with the temperatures hovering around freezing and my recent slip on the ice, I was excited to not have to deal with driving or finding a parking spot after a show. So, after a quick dinner and the luck of having a friend who was driving home from downtown at about the same time, I hitched a ride down the street to The Bryant Lake Bowl for what was sure to be a night of high quality music and chill vibes.
I had honestly never been to The Bryant Lake Bowl before and my anxiety was getting the best of me as I walked in and, like a lost puppy, wandered around to figure out where to go. Part bar, part restaurant, part bowling alley and part theater, I was instantly in love with this space. Although there were a million things going on from people chatting at the bar, people eating at tables, and the crashing of bowling balls and pins, there was something so calming and chill about the atmosphere. After following someone else like a creep, I found myself at the box office trying to hand my ID off to the man working like I would at any other show. “Oh, I don’t need that, just need your name.” I was shocked and instantly any anxiety I had was gone. It may have been my first time in this place but I already felt like a regular and that feeling was only elevated when I walked into the theater section of the building.
Small and quaint but absolutely perfect for last night’s show, the theater section instantly became my new favorite venue. With old school theater seats in the back and then small tables and chairs complete with candles closer to the stage, the space was intimate but spacious at the same time. I snagged one of the theater seats about half way up and watched as the room quickly filled. As if I wasn’t already completely enamored with this place, I was tapped on the shoulder by a server asking if I wanted anything. The fact that there was a server for this space was just the icing on the damn cake. Taking away the distraction of people getting up and moving around, this guy did a great job of taking care of everyone throughout the show without being a distraction. But I digress, you didn’t come here to read about how amazing the venue was, you probably want to hear about the music.
Kicking the night off was Josh Tarp formerly of Minnesota but now based in Tennessee. You could definitely hear a southern twang in his voice but his lyrics and swagger were 100% Midwest making him an instant favorite of mine. His soft and sweet yet powerful voice radiated through the venue and any conversations that were going on were quickly hushed. He commanded the stage and the nearly sold out audience with ease but never once asked for people’s attention, he just got it. With lyrics full of soul and a band that let him take the reigns while refusing to be ignored, everything was perfectly balanced when it came to Josh’s set.
Follow Josh was Kara Laudon. I was instantly taken aback by her voice. Light and airy, there was still this unspoken power behind it. With super cute and deep stories that explained where her head was at when writing certain songs that she played during her set, Kara’s personality shined and added a very down to earth vibe to her set. Her music was much calmer than that of Josh Tarp and what was to come from headliner Ben Noble but, just like the perfect balance of Josh’s set, Kara’s set seemed to balance out the entire show. With just voice, piano and guitar from a player pulling double duty between her set and Ben’s (I’m so sorry but I didn’t catch his name but he was wonderful!), her sweet and quiet set whisked me off to dreamland in the most perfect way. Kara’s set was short but she is definitely a performer I hope to catch more of soon.
Closing out the night was Ben Noble. Although he clearly seemed humbled by the nearly sold out audience and the excitement he was getting from everyone in the way of cheers and applause, last night was definitely all about him. It was a party for the release of Ben’s new single “Night Wakes” and people were excited to hear it. Having never heard Ben before, I instantly fell in love with his voice and energy. It almost had a soft pop-punk/ Relient K vibe to the vocals but the instrumentation led to the indie side of things. The creativity in the music was heard loud and clear from the complicated rhythms coming from the drumset to the “computer song” where Ben used some kind of pad that manipulated his voice to sound like a million voices at once. That creativity brought a sense of movement to the set which made their entire set feel as if it lasted only seconds.
All in all, last night was a lot more chill than what I’m used to but after the brutality of Attila on Tuesday night and then the glamour of Mariah Carey on Wednesday, it was honestly exactly what I needed. Between the perfection of the music and the beautiful atmosphere of the venue, last night was a near perfect show. Go discover a new venue and a new sound. It will make you feel refreshed in a way nothing else can.