Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talking To Walls Take On NYC

Talking To Walls: August 15 @ Desmond's Tavern, New York, NY

Connecticut rockers Talking To Walls came back to New York this past Saturday and I was finally able to witness them! It wasn't the full band with amps on eleven this go 'round though. It was just a couple of the lads, Brian Kelly (vocals, guitar) and Nat Webb (guitar, vocals) doing a intimate, yet lively and extremely fun acoustic set.

For those who haven't experienced Desmond's, it's a small pub, with a small back area for the stage making everything all up in your face personal. That's just perfect for an acoustic set. Up until Saturday, I had only experienced Talking To Walls on record. As a result of seeing them live, I discovered a some things. Well, actually, I didn't just discover this but seeing it live made it stand out more. The first thing, they're really good live ... full of fun and charm. Okay, yeah, the live part I just discovered but the fun and charm bit I already knew about. I've probably mentioned this before but I like when people smile on stage. Well, not random pointless smiles. I enjoy seeing musicians have a good time on stage and when they have genuine smiles, it's infectious. These guys smiled a lot and it was catching.

The second thing, Kelly has an incredibly strong voice with a great tone. I already knew he had a good voice but hearing it up close and acoustic made it more noticeable. You can't hide anything in such an intimate setting. Being so close to musicians and acoustically to boot, gives one a sense of seeing an artist naked to the world. Kelly showed that he can hold his own quite well stripped down for the world to see.

The third thing I discovered, Webb is a hell of a guitar player. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, QNYC, you're a guitar lovin' chick. How did you not notice this before? I noticed! I knew he was good. But, Webb isn't a flashy, kick you in the teeth, hey look at me, show off type of guitar player. He's a more subtle player. Prior to this show I listened to Talking To Walls as a whole, not breaking it down to individuals. Saturday, I had the opportunity to focus on and experience his pure raw talent and it was a pleasure.

Most of the set consisted of tracks from The Megan EP and the free acoustic EP, A Long Stilt Walk both of which can be found on their website. They kicked off their set with "Walkaway" and ended with a rousing version of "Song For Megan" which you know made me happy as I've raved about this song since I heard it for the first time. Really, if listening to Megan doesn't make you feel good and smile then something's wrong with you. Lucky for all in attendance that I was holding my camera or I may have gotten up and flailed around like a nut, scaring folks and causing overall alarm in the general vicinity of Desmond's. I also have to make mention of the stunning version of "Crossed My Mind" that was done. If I wasn't already a fan of the song, they would have won me over with that performance. This makes my list of songs you must hear live. The other must hear live song that I'm currently diggin' is "New England."

They were joined onstage by their friend Mike Morello (whose set I unfortunately missed) for a brilliantly fun rendition of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." This song was particularly fun for me as Brian and I discovered some time ago, via our online communications, that we share similar music tastes ... most of it good, some of it questionable, but, all of it fun to talk about. He's probably one of the few people who knows how truly dorky some of my music collection is. At any rate, Poison and their ilk were a topic of conversation for us at some point so it was terrific to hear that cover.

I know bars have this thing about TV's but it was rather annoying that the staff at Desmond's didn't make sure the volume was turned down when the band hit the stage. Perhaps most bands don't do acoustic sets there so it didn't occur to them, who knows. Morello I believe it was, took matters into his own hands and put America's Most Wanted on mute ... thank you. You'll be happy to know that no one at Desmond's matched the fugitive descriptions that were airing though Kelly did seem a bit nervous for a moment or two until he realized he wasn't being featured ... that episode airs next week. What? You know I couldn't resist having some fun with that! At any rate, I would also like to give thanks to the bartender who trooped downstairs to find me a can of Coke after I decided the ginger ale from the tap tasted off.

Talking To Walls put on a great show. I'm glad I finally had a chance to see them live and I look forward to seeing them again, electric or acoustic. Check them out if you and they are in the same general vicinity or even if they're not. Heck, it's summertime ... take a road trip to see them. You'll have fun ... I did!

The videos ...
"Song For Megan"

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"

Set List
  • Walkaway
  • Rollercoaster
  • Cherry Red Heart
  • New England
  • Take Me Home
  • Fine Man
  • Crossed My Mind
  • We Were Not So Tall
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  • Song for Megan