Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - Downstairs Live
A basement music venue & listening room
With Ryan Star and Michael Tolcher

Sunday night, Matt and I went to one of the most interesting music shows I've ever attended. In the basement of a home in South Carolina, we sat and watched a set from Ryan Star and special guest Michael Tolcher. The invite only concert was called Downstairs Live.

In a nice residential neighborhood in North Augusta, we walked down the driveway and into a garage. Any other house you'd be walking into a den, but here you walk into an elaborate set up. It's a listening room with folding chairs, camera, a sound board. On a small stage, maybe 10' x 8' there are mic stands and guitars. Before the show we head upstairs, into the home of married couple, Chuck and Heather, where there is a plethora of food and appetizers. It's BYOB, so Matt brings a six pack. In the corner of the living room is a merch table, with both bands CDs and t-shirts are sold. 

Living room lights flash on and off, Chuck calls everyone downstairs and the show will start in 5 minutes. We head to out padded folding chair that was already designated with our names and lanyards for each person. We sit third of five rows, only ten feet from the small stage.

Michael Tolcher opened the show with a 50 minute set. Just an acoustic guitar, and very percussive playing, using his knuckles and the body of his guitar to keep a beat. He was very entertaining and engaged the audience throughout his set. He played a fun variety of songs, one that made us all laugh out loud so hard about a women he is hitting on at the bar. He was great!

A quick twenty minute break between bands we headed back upstairs to chat and to grab some munchies. Again, lights flash and we head back down. Ryan Star is next.

A very dramatic entrance and melodic soulful music from Ryan Star. He was accompanied by a young lady that played keyboard, drums, and sang backup. His voice reminiscent of a young Neil Diamond with a hipster twist. He was very passionate and into what he was singing. It was great energy, especially in such an intimate setting.

Ryan even did a mash-up with the band I featured on my first Tuesday Tunes review: Gotye. See more from Ryan Star below, it's his music video, "Breathe".

Ah, if only I could transplant Bjork, Bon Iver, or Yo La Tengo into Downstairs Live, I could die happy! This venue is the most amazing idea ever. What a great thing this couple is doing, sharing music with friends and friends of friends.

The tickets are not available to the public, one has to be invited to be able to buy tickets. Thanks to our friends Chuck and Sandie that invited us and gave us tickets. This was truly a night I will remember!

Michael Tolcher
Ryan Star
Downstairs Live

And special thanks to Jeff Miles for photos from the show!

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