On April 2nd, MSU Mankato’s department of Music hosted a songwriter showcase. It took place at the Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts and featured five songwriters. I had gone to the last showcase in October, and was impressed by the talent. This year was even better, and I want to share the music with you.
Starting out the night was Alec John and the Sky Surfers, an Indie Surf band. Their brand of surf rock is mellow and groovy, with influences like Hippo Campus. They wear bright Hawaiian shirts and perform shoeless. They’re the kind of band you want to hear outdoors on a nice day, beer in hand.
After that, solo performer, Noah Battles, took the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal. His voice is mellow and fits well with his folk rock playing. His style is similar to Neil Young. Using his loop pedal, Noah peppered in some solos. The guy can play.
Brandon and the Clubs is a solo pop artist in the style of Lady GaGa. Brandon dresses in sparkling clothing, and performs with backing tracks. He is one of those performers who is fearless onstage: dancing and interacting with the audience. His songs are about self love and acceptance. He didn’t play this, but his song “Love Club” is really catchy.
Second to last was Anastasia Ellis who took her place at the piano. Ana writes lyrical pop music and is influenced by Rhianna. She performed two songs from her new album, Love & Attention. They were both emotional and raw, in particular her song “Battered Skin.”
Matt Ruff closed out the night. He plays piano and has a powerful voice, with songs reminiscent of Sam Smith. Like Ana, his music is emotional and full of stories. He absolutely kills it at singing, and can play a mean piano, too. Overall, a great night of music.
I realize this is different from my normal posts, but I’m trying to get away from my blog being all about me and my thoughts. There’s a lot of great music happening locally that I want to highlight and share. Please check out any of the above artists that catch your fancy. You might be surprised at what you hear.