Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shut Up and Listen Up!

I hate going to a music show and having to listen to people around me shout, argue or even just converse while I'm trying to listen to the musicians.

Many is the time I wished my first grade teacher Mrs. Bixler, would happen by and give them THAT look, putting fear in their hearts and shutting them up.

Last night, I enjoyed a jabber-free evening of live music, thanks to the new free series, The Listening Room.

The show was held at the Michaux House on Franklin Street and while the organizers were expecting about 30 people, they easily had double that.

The set was simple and beautiful; there were four handmade wooden and fabric panels, with a plant and lamp in front and several Oriental-style rugs on the floor, creating an inviting ambiance.

The chairs were curved around this area for a cozy proximity to the audience.

There were three groups: Ferdinand Thomas, Englishman (from Lexington, KY) and The Low Branches.

All three bands played beautiful acoustic folky music and everyone in the audience observed the "No talking during performances please" rule stated on the program.

People arrived between 8 and 8:30, milled about socializing and at 8:29, as if on cue, sat down and just stopped talking. It was a beautiful thing.

Ferdinand Thomas' lyrics leaned toward the dark, with violin, keyboard and drum fleshing out the guitarist's vocals.

Englishman's vocal harmonies were a thing of beauty, very simple with just a guitar and keyboard.

The Low Branches, the only group I'd seen before, have the ethereal voice of Christina to anchor their haunting sound.

All three were ideal for a listening room setting and a rapt audience.

The Listening Room at the Michaux House is a concept overdue in Richmond.

We have so many fine musicians and the creation of an atmosphere in which they can be best appreciated is a gift to the music lovers of the city.

The kind of people who don't need a Mrs. Bixler to shut them up during the music portion of the evening.

The kind who want to shut up and listen.


  1. Hi,

    I just wanted to remind you that the next listening room is happening on Dec 18th - same place, same time!

    All the best,

  2. I'll be there and listening. Hope you enjoyed some of my other music posts as well.Thanks for checking out my blog.