Last night, I went to see Brian Vander Ark (previously of The Verve Pipe) at the Cactus Cafe at the University of Texas.
It's a small venue, and there were just south of two dozen people there.
I'm amazed the place wasn't packed, but I'm selfishly glad to have had such an intimate experience watching and hearing one of my favorite artists.
Brian did two long sets, which netted out to around a couple of hours, and played a lot of stuff from his albums "Resurrection", "Within Reach", and "Angel, Put Your Face On" (the latter two I picked up after the show). He also did one (maybe two) songs that aren't on any albums as of yet. "Evangeline" is really neat.
Brian came across as fun, funny, easy-going, confident in his own skin, and thoughtful. It made for a full-flavored night, as I laughed at his wit, and was alternately lifted or stung by his songs. He's a really pleasant guy with whom to talk, too.
I really enjoy all of his stuff, and have been a fan for a long time. Recent favorite tracks include "Another good man" and "I don't want to be a bother" (both from "Angel, Put Your Face On") and "!229 Sheffield" (from "Within Reach").
Of course, my all-time favorite is still The Verve Pipe's "The Freshman". And Brian did an amazingly powerful, heart-wrenching a cappella version which I feel blessed to have experienced (there's a cool live a cappella version on "Within Reach", but for me it doesn't hold a candle to seeing it).
So, yeah, it was a great, great night.
As an aside, Brian did a lot of the music for the film Pineapple, and is a strong friend and supporter of The Bohemian creative troupe.
You can hear Brian's music on his Website, and buy albums. Why buy when you can hear the music online? Reasons vary from person to person, but for me, it's important to support contributing artists, and I firmly believe in the importance of the whole "Give the worker his wage".