Hotel Café Tour
(Cary Brothers, Butch Walker, Imogen Heap, Peter Searcy, Joshua Radin)
The Patio, Indianapolis, IN
September 22, 2005
I’m told that the Hotel Café is one of the best singer/songwriter rooms in Los Angeles, which is definitely right up my alley, and on my list of places to visit. On September 22, I got to see what the Hotel is all about… in the middle of Indiana. Featuring musicians who are frequent performers at the Hotel, the concert at The Patio demonstrated what the Hotel does best: bringing talented musicians together to entertain themselves and their audience. Playing in-the-round, each artist showcased a few of his or her songs and got a chance to lend their talents to the others on tour.
On this stop, the show opened with Joshua Radin taking the stage. Featuring a heartbreakingly beautiful voice, Radin’s set included ‘Closer’ and ‘Winter,’ both of which have been played on Scrubs. With Cary Brothers providing backing vocals to these tender songs, Radin definitely set the bar high for the rest of the songwriters performing during the evening.
Next up was Peter Searcy. While I’m most familiar with Searcy as a cellist, I was pleasantly surprised by his guitar playing and lyrics. Pulling out toe-tapping songs from his CDs and the new tune, ‘Letters,’ Searcy offered a more up-tempo set, preparing the audience for the rock that was about to come.
Cary Brothers was the third artist to perform. Backed by his lead guitar player, Jason Kanakis, and drummer, Marco Meneghin, Brothers started with ‘Ride’ and the rockin’ title track from his new EP, “Waiting for Your Letter.” In true Brothers’ fashion, after playing just three songs in his first set, he left the crowd wanting more.
The rock continued with Butch Walker. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss this powerhouse over the years, but I’ve only known him as a producer (Bowling for Soup, Avril Lavigne) rather than a musician. Boy, have I been missing out. His live show was top-notch, chock full of energy and charisma. Bouncing between the piano and guitar, Walker thrilled his many fans in the audience.
The round concluded with Imogen Heap, who flew in the night before from the UK. If you’ve heard the Garden State soundtrack, who know Heap and her band Frou Frou, which provided ‘Let Go’ to the Grammy winning CD. Many at The Patio were there to see Heap and she didn’t disappoint. From behind her electronic keyboard and Apple computer, she cranked out tunes for close to thirty minutes. Supported by stellar lyrics and a luscious voice, her set was a highlight of the night.
At the conclusion of Heap’s performance, Radin restarted the in-the-round format. Garden State fans got to hear Brothers’ popular ‘Blue Eyes’ and I got to hear ‘Wasted One,’ my favorite track from his new EP. While Radin and Searcy provided more traditional singer/songwriter ditties, Walker continued demonstrate that even boys with acoustic guitars can rock!
Yeah, I’ve never been to the Hotel Café in L.A. After all, it’s not exactly next door to the Midwest. So, it was nice of them to bring a little bit of it to me.