Music is an instrumental part of my life and it has been for many, many years. I often connect to bands and musicians that the masses haven’t (yet) heard of. This is more of a subconscious thing because my philosophy is that whether a song is famous or not has nothing to do with it being a good or a bad song. In fact, I don’t really believe in the monikers good and bad when it comes to songs. I know, I know, when you get down to techniques or progressions or blatant copying of others you could apply those tags to music, but to me, that’s not really the important part of it. Music is emotion, music is connecting with others and if a song strikes a chord with you, to you that will be a really good song. And that’s how it’s supposed to work. Everyone will have a different opinion about music because it is extremely personal.
And when it comes to live music, it doesn’t get much more personal than a livingroom concert (or a similar intimate setting) because it most often literally means singer versus a couple dozen people in the audience. The songs are really going to be going straight from the musician’s mouth to the listener’s ear. It may sound very confrontational but in reality, it really doesn’t feel like that. Because it’s in a homely and informal setting with interested people who are trying to connect, it almost always provides a comfortable feeling.
Tonight I attended a livingroom show at Utrecht LRCs, which is run by two wonderful people (Emile & Antonia). They have a cozy, homely space they specifically use to hold small, intimate shows with artists that aren’t quite the big ticket names yet but have a solid following. They hosted shows with the likes of Bushwalla, Jason Mraz, Jay Nash and Ryan Dilmore, among others. I hadn’t really heard of Utrecht LRCs before, even though there seems to be a solid overlap between the musicians they host and the ones I cover here at Inner Ear Media. So this meeting was certainly overdue.
Tonight it was the chance for Ernie Halter, an artist Inner Ear Media has covered for quite some years, to show what he is made of. I was very excited to finally meet him and hear his tunes played live. I walked in a little early and was immediately welcomed by Emile and Antonia and Ernie was already setting up his ‘stage’. Before I knew it, he approached me to say hi and chat for a while. This immediately set the tone for what would charaterize the whole evening: a really good time!
Ernie Halter played for about 90 minutes, taking requests, mashing up a couple of his own songs with covers and if he didn’t remember how a song went, he’d just look it up and before you knew it, he was playing the song anyway. He played songs from most of his records and much more than at a normal show, a livingroom show allows the artist to tell the stories behind the songs and it gives you a little insight in how songs come to fruition, what the life of an independent musician looks like and how songs and music in general have that special superpower of connecting with others. As Ernie said it himself:”each song is like a little adventure and you never know where it’s going to take you.”
After a short break, he played for another hour or so and played many more requests on both guitar and keyboard and spared no effort to make the night a special experience for all that were there. He didn’t just play songs, he entertained. He listened to the people around and really interacted. Those of you who know Ernie or have been lucky enough to attend his shows will most likely confirm this, but the dude is just a really great guy and on top of that he writes and sings excellent songs that you can really connect to.
So if you ever have the chance to see Ernie Halter live, I would urge you not to hesitate and just go. It really is worth your time and money. And if you are ever in or near Utrecht in the Netherlands and Utrecht LRCs is hosting a show, you should also take my advice and go visit them. First of all, you are going to have a splendid time because their setup is perfect for these kind of small shows and the hosts are incredibly nice, second, they have an excellent taste in music. Third, and I hope this won’t keep you away, I might get to say hi to you, because while this was my first Utrecht LRC experience I have a feeling it will not be my last.
Emile and Antonia also made photos, videos and recordings, so check their website to see when it becomes available!