Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the moxieshowcase, a local concert that showcased much of St. Louis’s young musical talent. Put on by [modern dope] (the photographer alias of the cultural jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Jaidev Kalapurakal), the moxieshowcase was essentially a hipster’s paradise: skinny jeans, canvas shoes, dress shirts and stylish hats were everywhere to be found. However, what was even more impressive than the careful organization, detailed planning or cheap entrance fee, was the music itself. Throughout the course of the evening, I was treated to samples of 6 very talented artists, some of which I previously knew, some of which I had the wonderful opportunity to meet. So without further ado, let me break down the evening, act by act.
Sarah Beth Lawson | Opening up the night was Sarah Beth Lawson, a solo performer (aside from one song) who dazzled the entirety of the crowd throughout her set. Switching deftly from keys to guitar, she worked her way through a variety of covers (Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ and Sara Bareilles’ ‘Free Ride’ were two such) and a few of her originals. But what really stood out about her was her huge voice. I told a few people that I talked to that her perfect vocal fluctuations reminded me of indie-pop sensation Regina Spektor. I’ve always enjoyed going to shows where I can just sit in the back of the room and watch the entire audience be captivated by a performer. This was one of those instances. And to cap all of it off, she flashed a smile at the end of each song, prompting cheers and applause from her patrons.
Max Johnson | Next up was Max Johnson, another solo artist who had arguably the loudest, most energetic set of the night. Not only was he incredibly talented, but if I’ve seen a more charismatic performer, I can’t remember it. He really connected with everyone at the clubhouse by dancing along and rolling with the punches. I’m a writer so maybe I’m a tad biased, but when he went into a monologue about how one of his songs was from the perspective of a disillusioned Civil War soldier, I couldn’t help but get excited. In no way was I disappointed. The writing was beautiful, complementing the string and vocal work perfectly. Johnson ended his set with a cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” that had the whole crowd, including myself, dancing and singing along. And just to have some fun, when he was finished, he did it once more, much to the chagrin of everyone present.
Logan Miller | Sadly, I didn’t get to see much of Mr. Miller and Company’s set as I was out snagging myself some dinner (nom-nom), but I was fortunate enough to catch the tail-end of his set and what I heard was fantastic. An incredible guitarist, Miller and his band breezed their way through a collection of chill tunes that included some fun acoustic solos and tight harmonies.
One With Kings | Starting the second half of the night was One With Kings, a trio made up of three of the most talented young men I have ever had the privilege of meeting (Josiah Ward, Cale Conrad and Tyler Gilliland.) I’d seen each of them perform in different settings before, so I was interested to see how the three of them coming together would sound. The result was musical excellence. Each of the three played at least two different instruments during the set and all three gave everyone the pleasure of listening to their enchanting vocals. They too were charismatic and fun during their time in the spotlight, engaging the crowd with their boisterous stage presence. My favorite part, however, had to be the three-part harmonies of “Beautiful Angel” a beautifully written and performed treat in the middle of their set.
Bluefish | Another band that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing multiple times, Bluefish was next on the list. I’ve always been impressed at their ability to bring crowds to their shows. Honestly, they are the only local band I’ve ever seen who have people singing along to multiple songs (originals mind you.) It seemed like when they took the stage, many people became intensely concentrated on their act. And, like every artist on the bill, they excelled. You could really tell the great chemistry that they possessed as they jammed their way through multiple ear-catching hooks and songs. Brad Baker’s vocals never cease to impress me. Their writing is wonderful. They even drew chants for an encore. They were more than happy to oblige. Personally, I enjoyed their cover of The Killer’s ‘All These Things I’ve Done.’ The funny thing about that? I’m not overly fond of The Killers. So, kudos, Bluefish.
CATO | Finishing off the night was CATO, a local rapper who actually started his set by allowing his sister to play a piece of her own, a beautiful song that caught the attention of everyone still present. Then CATO took the stage and really finished off the night with a bang. His lyrics and beats were not only fun and creative, but they had depth. In between each song, he proceeded to talk about his journey as an artist, something that I really appreciated. You can always tell when someone has completely sold themselves, heart and soul, to their work. Nothing he did was wasted and each rhyme had reason behind it. I really enjoyed his set, even though he ran into multiple technical difficulties along the way.
Overall, the entire show was a very “dope” experience. Along with hearing all of the amazing musicians above, I met many wonderful people who all shared common interests with me, ranging from music to photography. The moxieshowcase was a great place to be. And the best part? There’s more to come. Hopefully, there will be a few each year, or so I’ve heard. I look forward to coming back and enjoying music and fellowship every time the moxieshowcase occurs. I really was blessed to be a part of the initial experience. If you’re interested in coming, go ahead and visit the moxieshowcase page on Facebook for further information. And that’s all I have to say about that. Have a beautiful day, friends.