Sunday, August 30, 2009

Music Review: Andrew Parker-Renga

Apologies are in order for the long break in posts; I've been in the midst of moving, a process that culminated in ten solid hours of loading up my roommate's belongings yesterday and seeing her off to Massachusetts. I then celebrated the end of an era by going down to Nectar's for some live music from Justin Levinson and Andrew Parker-Renga.

A few initial thoughts:

1. If you go to see Justin's shows, I suggest requesting the song "Daisy May". Just do it.
2. The true test of a musician is making him sing quiet indie folk to a bar full of partying rugby players.
3. Drunk guys trying to take pictures on their cell phones should make sure they don't nearly sit on the singer's fiance when she's trying to watch the show. Seriously, drunk guys of Burlington, just try to watch where you're going.

Now down to details:

I first saw Andrew play last January, at an Inauguration party at the Half Lounge with Zach duPont, and I was pretty much instantly hooked on his sound. More than that, it was while watching Andrew play that I was finally able to define what I love most about live music; Andrew is an expressive musician, and watching him play made me realize that a great artist holds nothing back in their art form. On stage, you can see someone's true passion expressed without regret or apology. Too few people find that passion in their lives, and even fewer have the courage to let it out.

So it's a treat to discover local artists who can deliver that kind of experience, and Andrew is one of them. With his current album, Emily, recently out and highly recommended by this writer, I was psyched to hear some new tunes at Nectar's last night (particularly "Drawing Dead", which I hope Andrew will put up on his MySpace soon! Hint.) Sadly, there was no beat-boxing; if you are truly lucky, you will hear Andrew beat-box during a show. But there were plenty of the soulful vocals I've come to expect of him, and even a little extra spice on some of his staple songs (particularly the Work Song). The show was well worth both overcoming my exhaustion and crowding in with the rugby party.

Andrew will be touring later this fall, so be sure to catch his next local show September 26th at The Skinny Pancake. For more info, show dates, and songs, check out his MySpace page at

Photo by Reid Crosby.


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