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Stumbling Across Musical Gold At A California Open Mic

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California Open Mic

Guest Post By Sammy Milone

Open mic nights are like yard sales. With few exceptions, the quality of the merchandize is generally pretty inconsistent with a smattering of eclectic vanity pieces designed for individual tastes. But every once in a while – and usually by compete accident – you uncover a gem.

A few weeks ago, I accompanied friend who lives in the Bay area to an open mic in Mill Valley, California at a venue called Sweetwater Music Hall. As someone born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, I don’t get out west as much as I’d like. I’ve been to Sweetwater exactly once before a few years ago to check out Johnette Napolitano (formerly of Concrete Blonde) as she delighted a packed house with an inspired solo set. Sweetwater is a great sounding little venue for live music. And it’s pretty rare to find an open mic being hosted by someone as accomplished as Austin de Lone. With my expectations set to mediocre, I agreed to come out that Monday night.

sweetwater in the sunMy friend tells me that there was a time when Sweetwater’s open mic nights would regularly include many of the world class musicians who lived in the area: Sammy Hagar, Jerry Harrison, Huey Lewis and Carlos Santana would often sit in for a song or two – much to the delight of the ever adoring locals. While at least one of those casual gods could be spotted in the back of the room that Monday night, I’m sad to report that none of them took the stage.

On this night, it was mostly like other open mics you may have been too. Some talented performers, a group from the local high school shrieking into the microphone like Yoko Ono and at least one unfortunate soul who made the unforgivable sin of forgetting the words and/or the chords to their favorite Beatles song. Just your typical, ordinary, for the love of god please keep the drinks flowing Monday night open mic.

open mic
And then something special happened. The house lights dimmed and a six-foot tall, maniacal ball of energy appeared on the stage. The people at the table next to me whispered to us: “that guy was here last week, and he was fantastic!” But neither of them seemed to know who “that guy” was.

Turns out – that guy’s name is Alan Chapell. Chapell has a quirky stage presence that could easily hold the attention of a much larger room and combined with the charm and intimacy of someone who was playing in your living room. I’ve never seen someone command a room full of strangers to enthusiastically sing a song that they’d never heard before. But that’s exactly what happened when Chapell began singing “Soul Man”. From the very first song, Chapell had this crowd in the palm of his hands.

Chapell mostly plays the piano and sings. I say “mostly” because he kept getting up in the middle of songs or in between them to direct the crowd or share an aside off mic. He stood up and got the audience clapping during the third verse as Chapell sang a cappella on the song “Waiting”. Sort of reminded me of the great Jonathan Richman minus Tommy Larkin on drums as Chapell got the entire room clapping along.

Chapell did four songs that night – remarkable in that its sort of an unwritten rule at open mics that everyone is allowed to play only one or two songs. Getting asked to do another song by the host is almost the equivalent of a stand-up comic being called to Johnny Carson’s couch after their set. (Yeah, I’ve probably been watching too much of Showtime’s “I’m dying up here” – sue me.) Chapell most certainly did not squander his additional songs and closed with a haunting etude called “I’m Coming Over” – one which really drove home how vulnerable and sweet Chapell’s voice can be when he’s not screaming off mic.

guitar live show
I caught up with Chapell briefly after he left the stage. Turns out that he’s an east coast guy too. Chapell hails from New York City but occasionally spends time in the houseboat community in nearby Sausalito. He started coming out to the Bay area a few years ago to record an album with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads fame and now views Sausalito as second home.

Chapell has a seven-piece band back in NYC, but has started playing shows with a smaller lineup – which is one of the reasons he was at Sweetwater that night. “I was initially reluctant to play without my full band, but I kept getting asked to play places where it wasn’t practical to bring everyone,” says Chapell. “We were invited to play a show in Sandpoint Idaho with the Flobots earlier this year and my violinist Lorenza Ponce and I were the only ones from my band who were able to make it. When that concert went over so well, I realized that I could be a bit more flexible in my approach.” So, while Chapell still mostly plays with the full band, he’s done stripped down shows opening for bands like Big Head Todd and the Gin Blossoms as well.

So, what’s next for Chapell? “We’re currently mixing my third album and are making plans for later this year to start recording my fourth. And we’re in discussions to play a show or two with the Bacon Brothers in August. Finally, I’ll have my whole band with me at City Winery in NYC on August 16th.”

chapell
I’ll be there at City Winery on August 16th. If you want to catch Chapell before he completely blows up, I suggest you be there too.

Sammy Milone is a part-time author and full-time skeptic. He lives with his wife Wendy and dog Niko in Lower Gwynedd Township, PA.

Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

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Looking For New Alt-Rock Music? LovexLies Surprises With “Venom”

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new alt rock music

“Venom” by LovexLies tells the story of a toxic relationship that you can relate to.  If your ears anxiously await to hear new Alt-Rock music, then don’t lose another minute, and read this article!

The independent artist based in Virginia Beach differentiates from the rest by incorporating Rap, Pop, and Electronic elements into his work. Indeed, the infectious marriage of synths, drum machines, and rockish guitars is the pure epitome of versatility.

On the flip side, the rising American singer vents his frustrations to tune in with those listeners who also have to deal with amorous disappointments. Well, who doesn’t?…

Be ready for the killer sing-along chorus!

Headbanging and letting your energy out to this catchy tune is a great idea as well.

➤ Download/Stream

new alt rock music

Furthermore, the high-quality music video takes the interesting concept of being held, tortured, and poisoned by issues of love. Additionally, Joshua Golden aka LovexLies showcases his good acting skills alongside three ladies who represent his martyrs.

In conclusion, I believe unhealthy relationships can last for years, but songs like “Venom” is the reason for you to wake up and end the continuous cycle.

“Venom” is a song produced by the one and only IAmCharlieAnderson, acclaimed for his past collaborations with Kevin Rudolf, and Paris Hilton, among others.

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Post-COVID Music With A Touch Of Pop-Punk: ‘Dead Summer’ EP

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Dead Hendrix & Levi Zadoff will make you addicted to the Pop-Punk sound again. Through their five-track EP ‘Dead Summer, these artists use the pandemic as inspiration to turn feelings of loss into genuine songwriting and hard-edged melodies.

If you can’t find a way to let off some steam, I would highly recommend listening to such awesome production immediately. For this purpose, keep your ears open and drift away with rebellious and straightforward lyrics that are totally relatable.

Beyond that, passionate vocals tell intimate moments about personal experiences and challenging situations to deal with. Musically speaking, they have the ability to highlight pain and frustration by exerting a strong conviction.

Of course, everything is accompanied by intense emotions and explosive energy. Hit the play button below.

What’s more, the ‘Dead Summer’ EP serves as a reflection on our suffering at the hands of COVID. In fact, both talents showcase true storytelling, which translates into more authenticity.

Whether or not you’re in an introspective mood, you’ll love tracks like “Alone” or “Can’t Be God.” Plus, the use of irony reaches its maximum splendor with the opening tune “Don’t Think It Could Get Much Better.”

Likewise, there’s also an experimental approach behind the whole concept of this brilliant material. At the end of the day, the ‘Dead Summer’ EP is a testament to the success that lies ahead for them.

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An Album About Planets & Space Exploration, ‘Potatoes On Mars’

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Potatoes On Mars

Andrea Pizzo is an artist ahead of his time! With a dash of prominent Rock guitars, organic instrumentation, and cosmic sound effects, he releases ‘Potatoes On Marsalongside The Purple Mice.

Basically, you’re about to hear an 11-track album that revolves around planets and space exploration. The mastermind and composer of this project is a big fan of Science Fiction, which somehow makes the whole material one of its kind thanks to the imaginative and futuristic concepts implemented.

Passionate singing voices will surprise you from the very beginning via the opening intro “Keep On Searching.” As a matter of fact, each song follows a visionary narrative that is arranged chronologically according to the progress of space, time, and technology.

In effect, unusual and extraordinary themes predict the future of civilization much better than Nostradamus through melody. rhythm and harmony.

Expressed in another way, ‘Potatoes On Mars’ is a must-listen for those dreamers who are driven by a sense of curiosity.

Don’t think twice, Press play below.

The Purple Mice group is compromised by the happy marriage of Andrea Pizzo and Raffaella Turbino + their daughter Maria Elena. Most importantly, their music wouldn’t be the same without the presence of longtime collaborators Riccardo Morello and Roberto Tiranti.

The Purple Mice band
To close with a flourish, these creative souls serve up heavy pounding beats on the last tunes of the album. I’m talking about “Masters Of The Galaxy,” “Road To Universe,” and “Starship To Heaven.”

Undoubtedly, all of them are 100% eargasmic.

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