An important piece of the Performance Art puzzle is the location or the venue in which the performance takes place. If the venue doesn’t match the event something will feel off about the whole experience, and by that same token when the two things mesh perfectly it they become inseparable. Take last night’s Son Little performance at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island for example. (http://columbustheatre.com/about-us/)
The 200 seat, intimate venue set the stage (pardon the pun) for a night of getting to know the artist on a different level. The theatre is run by a Cooperative of artists in their respective fields of music and design as well as nonprofit and hospitalities, providing a feeling of a family run operation. The doors where scheduled to open at 7PM but concert goeres where told to wait in the lobby while the band finished sound check in the upstairs performance space. The lobby features a cash bar for alcoholic beverages as well as other movie theatre staples like popcorn and candy. This time allowed for people to mingle and talk amongst themselves before heading up to see Son Little. There is a second, larger concert space used for other performances that the Cooperative left open for people to check out while they waited, which made for an erie feeling as you could hear the sound check still going on.
The velvet ropes opened, people took their seats and the show started. Brian Minto a member of the the Columbus Cooperative, was running the soundboard for the show and gave a brief but entertaining run down of the rules and regulations. Standard stuff like location of the fire exits, upcoming shows and a request to “please smoke your reefer outside, if you choose to great, go for it. But the smoke alarms in here will go off and then we are all fucked”
Opening band, Howard, a difficult to label Brooklyn based trio started things off right. Their, lets call it Folktronica, music warmed up the ears of the crowd perfectly. By the time Son Little took the stage, all the above mentioned factors had played their part to create a wonderful atmosphere. The Philadelphia native used this time almost as a practice, trying out new songs and putting new spins on the ones the audience would know. At one point this element of the show was described by the band as being “an adventure. The good news is we are sharing the adventure here with you.” There were jokes a plenty and people left with a genuine feeling of kinship with the artist.
If Son Little’s new songs were were any indication of what the next project will sound like then it is going to be very good. One thing is for sure if you can catch one of his shows at a venue like the Columbus Theatre, then you won’t want to miss it.