Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Concerts? In the Living Room ?

Pardon my blatant use of bandwidth to promote a little known musician in my last post.

That's what I do, not for a living but as an avocation or hobby. I have been a seeker and collector of musical ear candy for most of my life. It is said that my collection of albums and cds can be seen from outterspace. ( Okay, no one *really* says that but it sounds good. ) My musical journey has taken me from the commercial hit making machine to the obscure, lesser known talent which I tend to prefer these days.

I much prefer to visit an intimate setting where the entertainment is much more personal and yet the talent is as good as you would ever see in a high dollar, big arena performance. Sure, you get less pyrotechnics but, the amazing abilities of the artist are right before your eyes. This may not be important to some but it amazes me.

I could go on and on about my musical journey and, I probably will, eventually.

I'm doing better though, I attended some step meetings called On & On Anon.

I had to give it up because the meetings were way too long. It's a 42 Step program.


House concerts, that is the point I am getting too. To see an artist of some note in an intimate, personal home setting is a delightful experience. Now, to folks in my circle, this is nothing new to report but, in the event of a stray audient passing by, I share what I know.

My first such experience was in July of 2001. I belong to several discussion type groups on the Internet that revolve around music in some shape or form.

One such group is designed to keep up with the career and "goings on" of a contemporary "folk" artist named David Wilcox.

(not to be confused with the Canadian artist of the same name, though, I am sure he is a fine musician. )

It was discussed, as these type lists often do, to have a gathering for to meet face to face with all the residents of the "list", who we had come to know if only in the virtual world.
A friend and member of the group stepped up to the plate and set about to arrange a gathering
of the list members which was to revolve around a "concert" right there in her home.

Eventually, it worked out that the concert portion was to be a performance by the list namesake, David Wilcox himself. he was performing very nearby and the schedule just came together.
( most of us attended that show as well but that is another story for another time. )

You hear all kinds of warnings regarding meeting people that you have met "on-line" but I have found that musical compatriots are a safe bet, and anyway, this was a large group.
I have learned that it is a safe bet to "meet up" with folks when music is your focus.

I waffled at making the sojourn to a destination 11 hours away but ,at the last minute, decided to go for it and I am so glad that I did.
People began making plans to arrive in Chicago, list members came from all over the country and even Berlin and the Netherlands.

I could wax poetic for pages on the result of this event but that was not the point of this post.

It was a wonderful, wonderful experience and cemented my fondness for what is known as a "House Concert".
David played for nearly four hours in a room that miraculously housed about 45 guests. He did his homework and learned about this merry band, including group members in his songs and performance. Group members were called upon to join him and sing.

The house concert concept has grown and spread throughout the United States. Artists on tour ,with open dates between gigs, see the house concert circuit as an opportunity to make some clear pocket change and connect with their fans on a more personal level.
( make some new fans too. )

To see a sampling of just how many house concerts are riding this wonderful wave, visit

I have only, so far, visited one other House Concert venue.

This is where I first saw Jeff Black as mentioned in the last post. It was a wonderful experience and an opportunity to make new musical friends. I didn't have to travel quite as far for this show and I need to return to Pine Ridge more often.

I have since returned to "On The Map" for two more shows, both were artists I was not familiar with but I came away impressed on both occasions. Real music is out there and real people are making it.
The great thing about House Concerts is that, in my limited experience, the hosts are not in this for to make money, in fact, all proceeds go to the artist. ( or a charity, see below )
The whole purpose is to meet new musical compatriots and to appreciate the artist.

If you're in the Chi-Town area:

( act fast ! )

(seating is very limited )

Reading is the cornerstone for a solid education and a basic human right

~ Currently, the United States ranks 49th in literacy rates among all United Nations countries.
~ Across the United States, one in five Americans are considered functionally illiterate.
~ An illiterate adult earns 42% less than a high school graduate.

You are invited to a House concert/Fundraiser to benefit
Rock For Reading on Friday, October 12th
576 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL
RSVP 847 867 3303
Concert @ 7:30 PM ~ Doors @ 7:00 PM

Suggested donation is $20 and one new children’s book
“100% of the proceeds will benefit Rock For Reading”

Please come and help us help Rock For Reading raise awareness and fight illiteracy.
Music provided by Justin Roth (
Local favorite Ian Iyengar will open the show.

Sweet treats and healthy snacks will be provided along with coffee, tea and soft drinks.

We hope you can come and support one of our favorite, local charities.
Namaste, Bryn Benson & Ian Iyengar

Rock For Reading is an all volunteer 501C3 organization. Their mission is to fight the rising trend of illiteracy.
Their goal is to provide communities with the tools and incentives needed to experience the joy of reading.

If you have made it this far, click on the title of this thread which links to a very nice article in the Chicago Sun about my favorite place to see an intimate show, "On The Map".


belewbloggfan said...

Hey Block Dog!
I just had to let you know how much I am really enjoying your wonderfully informative blog.
Thankfully, you took the plunge into the bloggy depths.... I look forward to exploring the new music you present, and getting to know 'your belew marble' a little better.
Keep up the great job!

belewbloggfan said...

Oh, sorry, I meant to ask - please pardon my obvious ignorance - but what are we to answer 'yes' or 'no' too?

blockdog said...

Thank you for your positive, inspiring comments !

The poll question is just that simple, Yes or No ?

Thanks for dropping by.