They may not play with the benefit of electricity, but the Bay Area’s acoustic musicians are drawing a lot of support and attention to this musical styling. Acoustic sets, also known as “stripped” or “unplugged,” are performed with instruments whose sound is not electrically enhanced or modified, and without a shred of digital add-on.
While the Bay Area thrives on the full electric live shows, an acoustic performance is a bit more intimate. Local musician Chris J. Hardy describes an acoustic show as being “pure and organic.” He further explains the appeal from a musician’s perspective, “It gives me the opportunity to be a storyteller and explain the back story of a song and how it came to be. This type of audience is more receptive to hearing that.”
Several local venues have dedicated weeknights that feature acoustic music performances. For instance, on Monday nights, Katie’s Bar in Bacliff offers an “Acoustic Jam” with Lynn & Cisco. There is never a cover and always a good time. Another example is Union Tavern on El Dorado in Clear Lake City. The venue hosts “Acoustic Tuesdays.” Also no cover and the pitchers are less than five bucks. It’s a laid back atmosphere with pool tables by the stage.
Pier 27 Tavern in South Shore ushers in Hump Day with acoustic sets by musician Marc Borde and friends. Get a “Big Ass Beer” and enjoy the show. (Read more about Pier 27 Tavern in this issue.)
Zone 504 in Kemah partners with Bee Room Entertainment on Thursday nights for musical sets that are a little more blues and reggae flavored. Drink specials include $3 U-Call-Its (excluding premiums.) Also on Thursday nights, down the road off Egret Bay Boulevard, Scout Bar has an “Acoustic All Star Jam,” unless a national act trumps the schedule.
Roy Hockenberry, the lead singer of alternative rock band I.D.R., is used to performing with amps turned up and mosh pits. He welcomes the chance to perform acoustically for a change of pace. “It’s just a different vibe,” Hockenberry said. “Acoustic performances are definitely more raw.”
Many of the Bay Area’s bars, pubs, taverns, and restaurants offer live music that include acoustic sets. Whether it is on a certain night, or scheduled throughout the week or month. One thing is for certain, any night (or day, afternoon, or evening) of the week is a perfect time to enjoy an acoustic set. No electricity required, but the musicians will light up the stage to bring you their megawatts of talent!
~By Rhonda Meredith