Thursday, December 11, 2008

Graham Colton, Michael Tolcher, Bryan Greenberg, and Tim Brantley @ Jammin' Java

On Wednesday December 10th we attended the above show at Jammin' Java. Like most of the audience we were interested to see actor Bryan Greenberg perform as well as witness the buzz around Graham Colton and Michael Tolcher. Since we were deviating from our standard Americana genre, we were not sure what to expect, and sure enough, the night was full of surprises. Beginning with the number of women in attendance. We're not used to attending shows with a 95% female audience - guys, if you want to meet women, these are the acts you need to follow.

The next surprise was the opening artist, Atlanta based Tim Brantley. The guy can sing, probably the best voice of the four. Even though there were brief periods of awkwardness when he addressed the crowd - we were sorry his short set ended. He started with "Working Man" from his new CD Goldtop Heights, and proceeded with "Damage" and the title track. Watch out for Brantley - next time we'd like to see him with a full band.

As Brantley left the stage, more women arrived and rushed the stage in anticipation for Bryan Greenberg. We were slightly cynical about seeing the actor as part of the tour - thinking it was just a ploy to attract an audience. We were expecting him to play a few guitar notes and croon to the crowd -- but these misconceptions were quickly dispelled during the first song. Greenberg has talent - and we were most impressed with his guitar playing. No strumming the same chord here; the guy played some complicated notes. In 2007, the artist released Waiting For Now and he played a few songs from that CD. "Someday" is the most popular, but we liked "Neverland" the best. Not surprisingly Greenberg has a strong stage presence. He looks like he's enjoying himself and is willing to poke a little fun at himself and his tour mates. He even limited playing to the sentiments of the female audience - only a few instances of sad eyed crooning. But we really enjoyed his set - and it ended with a nice duo with Colton playing "Sort Of Have a Girlfriend".

As Greenberg left we were predicting an exodus as people had seen the most popular act. To our surprise the crowd grew larger; all waiting for Michael Tolcher. These were serious music fans that became more evident as Tolcher performed. Most of the crowd new the lyrics of his songs. Interesting. Michael Tolcher has an extensive array of influences as he was comfortable covering the Beatles as easily as eminem. His original music combines elements of rock and funk that are apparently very popular. It seems everyone knew "Speed Feels Better". Afterward I listened to an old CD, I Am. There's some good music there: "Taxi Ride Kinda Night", "Kiss and Tell", and the immensely popular "Sooner or Later". Now we know why many fans came just to see him.

The crowd dissipated slightly before the last act, Graham Colton, but only slightly. Sometime ago we listened to his 2004 CD Drive, which is a good alt-rock album but we heard that his latest CD, Here Right Now, has a more pop sound. That is definitely the case, but tonight he played more old stuff; that meant "First Week", "Cigarette", and "Don't Know What You Got". From the new CD he played "Killing Me" and the popular "Best Days" - with its "800,000" downloads courtesy of American Idol fame; our favorite was "Cellophane Girl". Colton is talented and entertaining; his fans were not disappointed as most sung along - particularly when he covered Oasis - Champaign Supernova. Us, we wished he had rocked out more - maybe next time when there are less women in the audience. For those in New Orleans over New Years, Colton is opening for Better Than Ezra. Now that's a show to see.

The night ended as all artists came onstage to a crowd pleasing rendition of "Dancing in the Dark". Greenberg's timing was impeccable as he grabbed ladies and pulled them onstage to dance and sing along. All in all, it was a good night and we will be much less cynical in the future.

More pictures are available at the MyJoog Facebook page.

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