Music Blog: Out of Place or Right at Home?

Music in its most regular format is undeniably welcome. Albums exist on store shelves or are available digitally with tracks straight from the studio, polished and mixed to near perfection.

Still, the rare occasions in which we can experience the music makers live and in a conventional venue of some sort is arguably even more rewarding.

Now, what if these magicians left the regular recording room AND the concert hall to perform somewhere rare? Maybe played a stripped down set in a hippyfied RV?

THAT is what excites me, readers. Transposing music from the usual environments to spontaneous sites. Somehow, the sounds still feel so right because music is everywhere and has the ability to transcend a standard situation, even reflect the vibe of adopted (if only temporary) surroundings to create a brand new essence—if it’s good enough.

Enjoy seven sessions in unexpected places where the music IS good enough to make the melodies feel right at home…

1. Jam Van

MisterWives get loud in part one of The Wild Honey Pie’s On The Mountain sessions (filmed on and around the Stratton slopes). The group keeps things kinetic and imaginative in a transformed RV, adorned with a strange yet satisfying collection of cozy flannel, festive light strings and flamboyant foliage. All I can say is, who wouldn’t want to join in this party van’s jam?

2. School Is In

Young the Giant, obviously one of my biggest band crushes, serenades with an acoustic version of "Firelight" off their new album, Mind Over Matter. Appropriately the dreamers chose an abandoned public school in Smithville, Texas to harbor this installment of the In The Open sessions. Neglected wood, peeking bricks, peeling paint and rays seeping in through old, open windows shockingly provide ample charm and allow the building to bask in brightness, casting a soft light on its visitors. Drifting away yet?

3. Beach Boys

Another In The Open session follows Bad Suns to the beach as they deliver an arresting rendition of their first single in Malibu. These Southern Californians are no strangers to the sun, circling up to play a seaside, stripped-down version complete with a backdrop of blue skies, dancing water, and a dolphin?! The catching chorus and murmuring waves devise a daydream of coming summer days.

4. In Tramsit

Vance Joy surprises and delights fellow tram riders in Melbourne with only a ukele and effervescent verses in "Riptide". The Melbourne-born singer appears right at home (because he is). Still, despite playing to natives on a moving vehicle, courtesy of Tramsessions, the raw performance in a typically monotony-trodden place of public transportees sparkles. Oh what a night.

5. Cabin Fever

New York dyna-duo MS MR capture us through their hypnotic performance of "Salty Sweet", made possible by Myspace and The Bindery. We’re gladly held hostage by the colorful couple in a legendary log cabin. As the high tempo haunt heats up, the offbeat juxtaposition of lodge lights, tapestries, and plenty of wood with high tech recording equipment melts into an eerily seamless and wickedly intimate show.  

6. Stop and Stairs

Angelic acoustics and slow pans transport you to a spot on the winding, Renaissance staircase with Dublin-based KodalineMahogany Sessions kindly orhcestrated an opportunity for the band to deliver an effortless and euphonious performance of "High Hopes". Far from manufactured, this version, in my opinion, strikes greater chords of depth and sonic wonder than any conventional setting could produce. While a sense of solitude accompanies, the four voices create the sonorous illusion of a sweeping choir. 

7. Room Service

How about a hotel show to round out the medley? What if you walked unsuspectingly into a lobby echoing with the (real) sweet sounds of an incredible band. Well, here, the fantasy becomes a short-lived reality as Chicago natives California Wives casually grace the local Aloft Hotel to play "Los Angeles". Presented by Paste Magazine, the acoustic performance screams (or whispers) coffeehouse cool. Even the flickering fire in the background amplifies the living room vibe. Checking in? Too chill not to.