Steven A. Clark - Wrongly, I assumed that the Backstage would be dead considering the proximity to the holiday; it is packed. I am surrounded. I'm usually okay with the extracurricular activity but tonight is particularly distracting. It's difficult to concentrate on Steven A Clark with the bombardment of a life philosophy that can be best described as, 'simplify'.
Steven is passionate and clearly into what he is doing. He tries his best to get the holiday crowd moving and it's hard not to. With a voice as strong as his, I will say that I am disappointed that there isn't a live band behind him. The gentleman working on the MPC is doing a bang up job but I don't think anything can replace the real thing. I feel as if that may come as dismissive; however that is not my intention. The compositions are well thought out, leaning on late 80s, early 90s production styles with some modern EDM thrown in for good measure. Looking to the past but not dwelling on it. Regardless, the work on the MPC is significantly better than what I witnessed earlier last week.
I hear shades of Twin Shadow's sophomore effort Confess. That passion mixed with heavy production. But Mr. Clark is far less obvious with his songwriting. While I found Confess to be a rewarding album, there is no mystery. Steven on the other hand, has more control; there is more to this story than he is leading on. Then the show stopped. His family joining him for the first time tonight, Steven got choked up and had to collect himself. As jaded as we all are, it is sobering to see real emotion especially in such a public setting. That took courage to be so raw.
Sinkane - I want to pretend like I have something better going on, an excuse to leave early considering the holiday but to be honest I've got nothing. So on the suggestion of my editor David, I am sticking around for Sinkane's show as his performance from last year was one of his favorites. Sinkane begins with a slow solo as the keys fill in the background with a steady chord progression. As tacky as this sounds, it reminds me of the short time I played with a band. That sounds bad doesn't it? And the drums begin to thump away. The pattern is constant. The drummer moves from the toms to the high hat and snare almost no variation. Vocally it's laid back, just another layer before the time changes and guitar solos.
There are certainly prog elements here but fuck if it isn't positive. I'm so steeped in minor scales that I forget what majors can do. They are really playing something special tonight. The levels are fantastic; the bassist bumps and in no way has been mixed down at all. Like everyone else he is constant presence.
I am reminded of Zechs Marquise, especially the guitar and drums. The time changes and big solos. The crowd is captivated by the performance breaking out in applause mid song just to make sure Sinkane knows they are still here. There are rarely pauses as they just continue to do fantastic things. Good call, David, fantastic show from beginning to end.