It was the name and the picture that drew me to last night’s show. With a name like L.A. Salami, you’re clearly going to peak interest. Add the messy hair, signature John Lennon glasses (you know the ones– small and round), and a true sense of strange fashion and you are left with a show that I’m just not willing to miss. I knew nothing about anything walking into last night’s show other than the fact that my curiosity would keep me from getting anything done at home. I know it’s totally wrong to judge a book by it’s cover (or name) but it definitely ended up working out in benefit!
Cat Clyde kicked the night off promptly at 8:30. Without saying a word, she strummed one guitar string and broke into an a cappella song. The roaring chatter among the quickly growing crowd ceased and the venue instantly became quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The only sound was Cat’s voice and it was haunting in the best way possible. That opening for her set was enough to give me chills. She did nothing except open her mouth and sing and that effortlessly commanded the entire crowd. With jaws on the ground, I watched as the packed venue moved closer to the stage as if being drawn in by this beautiful songstress.
I’ll be honest, Cat’s music isn’t my typical pot of tea but the conviction that she sang with and that passion in her voice had me hanging on her every word. With songs about the trials and tribulations of love and the need to be in the mountains but being weighed down by the city, her lyrics were relateable but the way she crafted words together took them to another level. Although her voice had a very distinct southern twang, I wouldn’t call her a southern belle. There’s an edge to Cat that sets her apart from the other singer-songwriters I’ve seen like her. She’s more than just a pretty girl with a pretty voice. She conveys a sense of power that can have even the heaviest of metal heads questioning everything they know about music. When her set was done, I found myself pleading with the First Avenue staff (in my head of course) begging for just one more song. Rarely do I find myself so desperate for an encore from an opening act but there was something about Cat that had me completely spellbound. Watch out for this woman. Seriously. She’s already making waves but she’s about to splash into the daily playlist of many people’s lives.
Lookman Adekunle Salami (better known as L.A. Salami) was up next. As I mentioned, his look and name was all it took to make me give up a free night at home. I was intrigued and the fact that my brother was super excited for the show just spiked that intrigue. Even though I was reeling from the fact that Cat Clyde’s set was done, there was a sense of excitement that took over the venue (and myself) as the stage was quickly turned over for the headlining slot. The lights darkened, bands members took their spots and then, behind the drumkit, we got our first glimpse of the one and only L.A. Salami. The nearly sold out crowd erupted into cheers and applause while keeping a sense of respect about them. Nothing was overly energetic but there was still this electric energy in the air. It was quite an interesting feeling and I honestly couldn’t tell you if I loved it or hated it. “I’ve been drinking with some of you at the bar. Seems like a very interesting bunch, ” he shyly said into the microphone and with that, he took off into a truly mystifying set that had me confused, intrigued, and absolutely in love.
L.A. Salami’s music is almost as quirky as his look. Sure, you could classify him as a singer-songwriter but he’s so much more than that. At times he comes off as more of a story-teller than a singer. The way his voice just barely matches the guitar riffs is strange but also, in a way, perfect. At times his guitar plucking doesn’t seem to match anything else going on with his three piece band but after a couple of bars, everything comes together and forms a sound that is so distinctively L.A. Salami that it’s a bit sickening (in the best way). His live show was very airy. He wasn’t afraid of silence or awkwardness as he fiddled with the guitar. He seemed to be in just a very creative spot mentality leading to a very interesting and creative live show. It was truly unlike anything I had ever heard, seen or felt before but it was something that I will crave for weeks and months to come.
Although his music spoke volumes, L.A. Salami came off as a very shy guy (and even admitted to being painfully shy at one point). When he addressed the audience between songs he would step away from the microphone after the first word of a statement making things very hard to hear. Again, just another quirk to go with the quirkiness of everything else this set held. Even with the shyness, his personality that had a type of glitter about it. You could just tell that this guy was doing everything from the gut. Every note he played had a purpose and every word had a meaning that was much deeper than it’s definition. The methodical genius that is L.A. Salami had me stunned and, although like Cat, it wasn’t my typical cup of tea, I was drinking it up and loving every sip.
I will never be the type of person to tell you to judge a book by it’s cover (or name) but if something spikes your interest, there’s no harm in going to check it out. Hell, you may walk away with a new favorite musician.