Between seeing Aly, her amiable and fashion-conscious social worker friend, and meeting an animated and engaging independent film producer at the bar, who was there with a friend who runs a charitable series of concerts in Venice, CA (Grassroots Acoustica) -- it was an unexpectedly social evening.
Plus the music was great.
Maia Sharp is just one of the best songwriters around. The lyrics often layer two meanings in one line, or juxtapose two thoughts in one phrase; every song has at least one turn of phrase that makes me thrilled and jealous. She has a gift for melody and her voice is wonderful. Plus she can play the bejesus out of her instruments. (She even pulled out a clarinet last night).
It helped that she was backed up by Linda Taylor (from Who’s Line is That Anyway) on bass, acoustic and everything else. They didn’t need anyone else on stage with them. We stood in the back and whooped and hollered. (The most popular song of the night was probably “Whole Flat World” from her last album, “Echo.”)
But even before Maia stepped on, we were treated to Dante Bucci, a Philadelphia fixture. I hadn’t seen him before. He’s a friend of Aly’s. He plays the “handpan” or “hang drum.” I have never seen this instrument before, but it is capable of an amazing range of sounds. Everyone just stopped what they were doing and tried to figure out if he was hitting anything with his feet.
Look for yourself. Guy has some serious game with this thing: