So tonight I went to a concert at a house in the Fernwood district, (AKA a Haight Ashbury of this day and age). The house is an example of a recent phenomenon, where homeowners run a series of concerts in very intimate surroundings, advertized over social media. It’s like a house party with people you’ve hardly ever met before but as friendly as almost any party you can imagine. The house itself was one of those early 20th century places; a front parlor with a bay window, lots of crown moldings and wainscoting, hardwood floors, and high ceilings. The living room and dining room were stripped of most furniture and filled with chairs, but the party milled into the front hallway and the bathroom and of course the kitchen.
Children wandered about and peered down from the upstairs through old fashioned heating grates in the ceiling. The performer, J.P. Maurice http://soundcloud.com/jpmaurice
is the son of someone I used to work with, briefly, some years ago. We reconnected last winter through the United Way and since becoming Face Book friends, I have become a fan of her son and his band, called eponymously, Maurice. So it was very cool to meet him in such a casual and friendly circumstance. I was there early and snagged the best, or at least an up close and comfortable seat; end of the first row, with the window ledge on which to prop my bottle of water. But the prelude was a fun dialogue with J.P. and the other early birds and the host, in the dining room where the piano resides. Eventually enough people showed up and we got going on what was a fundraiser for The Land Conservancy, http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/ something J.P. is quite passionate about. The first half was in the front parlor and I love being about a meter away from the music. It is so immediate, and when J.P. powers up the vocals, it’s just, well, magical. Later, after a break we relocated to the dining room and the final set included a great piano accompaniment by someone whose name I forget. The last two songs included audience participation when a basket of maracas and tambourines and drums was passed around. I scored one of the better maracas and by the second song was actually on the right beat. Being Victoria, I met someone I had already met, one of the managers of my local raw food/vegetarian/organic grocery store, Ingredients. http://ingredientshealthfood.com/ I had, for once, anticipated the sale of cd’s and brought along some cash to pick up the discs, which then needed signing. That gave me a chance to have another series of conversations with J.P., which was fun. As I left the house and walked down the front steps, I noticed a few other audience members smoking out on the sidewalk. I cried out a friendly goodbye and started to walk away, but one of them shouted, “Hey – you are awesome man!” So loving attention as I do, and constantly in need of positive feedback, I went back and had a great conversation about music and performance and yes, poetry. Apparently I have such an open face that my enjoyment of the music spilled over into the rest of the audience, and helped to fuel J.P., at least according to them. So I felt heartened and full, as I walked back up the block to where I’d parked. There is something about music, in particular live acoustic sets that can reach into your soul and shake you to the core.