The small lobby at Mahall’s bowling alley in Lakewood, Ohio was packed tight with teenagers on Wednesday (11.12.14), not for some fun weeknight bowling, but for a fun, relaxing night of music provided by the bands on The Long & Winding Roadshow.
The lineup that night was packed with talent, featuring six total acts. The show was headlined by Nick Santino, formerly of A Rocket to the Moon, but now an up and coming, very talented solo musician. Though other tour members helped Nick on a few songs, for the most part, it was just Santino and his guitar, or him sitting at his keyboard. The majority of the songs Nick performed were from his newest album, ‘Big Skies,’ that was released in May of 2014.
Nick performed songs in a manor not meant to get the crowd pumped but and excited, but rather connect with the audience on an intimate level. Nick’s personal, heartfelt lyrics did just that. Piano ballads like “Jackson Browne” and “Have A Little Faith In Me” contained passionate, somber lyrics that were powerful enough to connect with any heartbroken fan. To contrast the somber songs, Nick played a number of more upbeat and optimistic songs including “Mood Ring Eyes” (also from ‘Big Skies’) and “It’s Alright” from his first solo EP, ‘Going Home.’ Nick closed the night with “Long Way Home” which he ended up laughing his way through due to the ridiculous singing and all around hilarity of the Triple Berry Carnival Band that joined him onstage for the final number.
Though Nick’s new sound differs greatly from A Rocket to the Moon, it was clear that these songs were much more personal to him and meant a great deal more. Though A Rocket to the Moon was a successful band full of talented musicians, Nick is ready to start a new chapter in his life, and with songs like the ones he performed that night, it doesn’t seem like he’ll have a hard time getting the new story started.
William Beckett, formerly of the band The Academy Is…, made his first appearance on the tour at this gig. Beckett has been touring as a solo musician since 2012. William’s set featured songs with passionate and meaningful lyrics that truly resonated with the audience. With his combination of just an acoustic guitar and a highly impressive vocal range, William grabbed the audience’s attention with his first song and kept it until the very last note. His song “Just You Wait” from the deluxe version of his 2013 album ‘Genuine & Counterfeit’ was one of the most memorable songs of the night by far. William described how it was written for his younger sister, who had spent part of her life battling depression, and promised fans that depression can be “cured” if one fights hard enough. Seeing as the crowd was mostly High School aged teens, this was a powerful and resonating message.
Other notable songs from his set were “Crack In The Ceiling” (also from his most recent album) and “Dear Life” from his earlier 2013 album ‘The Pioneer Sessions.’ Both of these songs were much more upbeat and had fans tapping their feet and singing along. William’s set, though rather short, definitely left a mark on many fans that night and showcased his talent as a solo musician.
The Long & Winding Roadshow featured numerous other musicians including Austin Gibbs, The Technicolors, This Century and local band Pipe Dream.
Though they’re young and just went through some member changes, Pipe Dream still showcased their talents as young, up and coming musicians that should definitely be kept on one’s musical radar.
Austin Gibbs had the crowd laughing within minutes of stepping on the stage, changing the lyrics of his songs to incorporate audience members and eventually laughing so hard himself that he had to stop the song. When he wasn’t laughing, his impressive guitar playing and upbeat tunes got the crowd moving and eager for more.
The Technicolors were more acoustic / electric and sounded quite different from the other bands, but they’re music still resonated with fans nonetheless. They’re performance definitely brought an energy to the room that wasn’t always there for the slower acoustic songs of the night.
Lastly, This Century took a much more creative approach to their acoustic set. The band chose to loop a live recorded beat-box track to use instead of a drummer, creating a much more unique sound to their set. They encouraged fans to dance and sing along throughout the whole set and brought an intense energy that usually isn’t found at acoustic shows.
Though it was a mellow show, every performer kept the audience’s attention for the entire set and created a very intimate concert experience. It was clear the musicians on the tour are just friends playing music together more than anything, which was shown by their endless joking around and messing with each other throughout the night.