Last night, I fell a little bit in love with a man I’ve never talked to (do I sound high schoolish or what?). His name is Eric Hutchinson, and he gave the best live show I’ve ever seen last night. I’m not exaggerating, and I’ve seen a lot of shows (until last night, Ani DiFranco held the title.)
Kathy and I were at the North Star Bar in Philly (what a great venue), because Kathy is a huge Meaghan Smith fan (Meaghan’s set was quirky and a blast, too, as was the opening set by newbie Matt Hires, who will rock out with the Indigo Girls in five years, I predict). Kathy got copies of Eric’s album (like how I’m just using his first name like we’re buds now), and gave me one. It’s been my office staple for a few weeks now – I adore the music (not to mention the man, who played in a suit and huge white tennis shoes.)
So let me describe his tunes – perky comes to mind, but that’s not quite right. Rich – that gets some of it. Faceted – yes. Intriguing – indeed. Insightful – hm-hmm. And good – just really, really good. There’s a funk/soul vibe that spins through most of the songs, dancing them into areas that most pop music (and I use that term only loosely – Brittany Spears can’t touch this (get it)) neglects because it underestimates its audience. Eric doesn’t do that. From the driving but complex back beats, to the chord progressions, to the lyrics, there’s a depth here that doesn’t usually hit Top 40.
And you can see his appeal in the audience. I stood next to a group of young women (who I did want to poke with a sharp pin for a part of the show because they made a pile of coats and purses – how much gear do you actually need for a show – in the middle of the floor) in their early to mid-20s – hair perfectly combed, cute outfits and dangly earrings all round. Across the way was a kid that reminded me of my friend Susan’s 14 year old son, shaggy hair, knit cap, army jacket. Then there was me, mid-30s, organic shampoo, hemp shoes. And when Eric hit the stage, the sea of bodies moved its hips – perfumes and shoe choices aside. That’s the sign of a great musician.
Plus, here’s some great stuff that makes he and I a perfect match – he does a list of “seven favorite things” each month on this website; doesn’t that remind you of my “good stuff Thursdays?” He’s funny (see his blog), and I try to be (see this post). He makes up songs in his shows – as he did when he sung “Double-Decker,” an improv number about the two levels of the North Star’s performance area; I used to sing songs about clouds and God in the car when we took roadtrips. He writes great lyrics:
New life decides to come through the front door
and makes us wish we’d shown respect before
though i don’t have much of a choice
i resolve to regain my voice
if i only just begin to understand it that’s because
everytime i time i start to change my mind again
it gets me back to where i was
I write, or at least I try to write, great blog posts and essays. See, we’re a perfect couple, if only he knew I existed . . . . do you think this blog will help? Do you think he’ll read it? Do you think he’ll like it? What if he likes me? What if he talks to me? OMG . . . . okay, I’m done now.
But really, look into his stuff. The woman next to me last night (she had perfectly blond hair and was wearing an adorable pink sweater) said that we were seeing Eric before he “broke out.” I think so, too. So check out his album – really. Vote for his on Yahoo’s Who’s Next countdown. Go to a show if he’s anywhere within 50 miles. And if you meet him, tell him I love him, really. Tell him to call me. (I’m making that little phone gesture with my hand held up to my ear.)