On Tuesday night, my buddy John and I went down to check out Christopher Paul Stelling & William Elliott Whitmore at the Mercury Lounge. For those that haven't been there, Mercury is a great little venue, probably holds a couple hundred people (packed in tight) in an intimate general admission setting.
As I had written about earlier in the week, I knew William's music well as I've followed him for a couple years now but I've only heard Christopher in the last year and this was my first time seeing him perform (and only my second seeing William). We got there just a few minutes before Christopher came on and the room already had a big crowd which I thought was pretty impressive.
He came out solo and kicked right into his set and I'll tell you that the guy immediately had the room captivated. It was evident that Christopher is a talented musician along with having a powerful voice. After the first song, he remarked, "Well, I've already deviated from the setlist" which had the crowd cracking up. Speaking of the crowd, thought it was great and really respectful. I don't think anyone was talking during the songs and this allowed Christopher to even step away from the mic at points of the show and just sing to the crowd like we were hanging out in a friend's basement.
Chris spoke how he's heading to Kentucky soon to record his album and that he doesn't have much to sell at this point but did point for people to check out his Daytrotter session. He also stated that he's going to be performing on the Daytrotter Barnstormer tour with White Rabbits & Deer Tick (more info on that HERE.) That will be a great tour and I'd highly recommend making one of those shows if you can pull it off.
All in all, I was really impressed in Christopher's performance and would definitely check him out again. I'm sure he'll have some dates once he releases his album and I look forward to hearing it. If you're in the NYC area, he'll be playing tonight at Rockwood Music Hall Stage Two (9pm). In the meantime, take a listen to this video clip of "Flawless Executioner" I recorded below.
William Elliott Whitmore took the stage to a packed room shortly after Christopher finished. It was extremely tight and led William to do something I have never seen an artist pull off at the Mercury Lounge, he invited some of the crowd to sit on stage. I'd say about thirty people went up and sat around William on stage, kind of reminded me of an MTV:Unplugged setting but it definitely helped clear up the floor a bit.
Since the first time I saw William in person back in 2009, I loved his sound. A little banjo, some guitar and a raspy voice that just commands a crowd. He was the opener when I saw him last and without question won over the crowd, but this was different vibe with everyone showing up to see his set. The crowd was enthusiastic and requesting songs (one girl even requested a song right after he played it but William laughed it off and said something like, "cheers, have another drink"). William seemed in a great mood and interacted with the crowd all night between songs.
William mixed a great set of old songs and new ones off of his latest album "Field Songs". Highlights for me included "Dry", "Hell or High Water" and "Johnny Law". It was a great environment seeing him in such a small venue with the crowd really into the show, definitely a unique experience but another great night out in the city. He'll be in Philly tonight and playing across the country through September, definitely check out the show if you get a chance (tour dates HERE).
Enjoy a couple videos I took below.....
"HELL OR HIGH WATER"