So you know when you go to a concert, right? And you already love the people performing, but after walking away from seeing them live, you love them even more? But then you feel sad because you probably won’t see that same performer live again for a while?
That describes the experience that Hillary and I had last weekend, except that after seeing Kerrigan & Lowdermilk at Strath Haven on Saturday night, we got to see them at Drexel University’s Mandell Theater on Sunday night.
As such, it was pretty great. The auditorium at Drexel was a bit smaller than Strath Haven, putting us just a few rows from the stage with a great view. The night showcased the same New York-based performers, as well several Philadelphia-based familiar faces from the previous show. We were also introduced to several new talents, including Jennie Eisenhower (“Not Her Way”), Carly Brooke Pearlstein (“The Girl Who Drove Away”) and Danielle Herbert (“Freedom,” along with Kait Kerrigan), all of whom were FIERCE.
Speaking of which – we are so, so, so SO excited for “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown” this summer at the Goodspeed, it’s unreal. While there’s a certain girl we’re hoping, praying, and crossing all our fingers and toes will get to play Sam, we’ll be taking a summer road trip to Connecticut no matter who is cast, windows open, singing like we’re rock stars, cheap rest stops and all.
MEGHANN FAHY. I mean, what?
Anyways, back to Sunday night at Drexel. While the lineup of songs was not extremely different from the night before (a few new songs, a slightly varied order), we certainly were not complaining. I really loved hearing Brian Lowdermilk sing the semi-autobiographical “The Bad Years”…it’s been a favorite since I first heard Jay Armstrong Johnson sing it (sadly, only via YouTube). We were also thrilled to hear Andy Mientus do “Barcelona, Cartagena, Anywhere” again after premiering it the previous night. It’s a gorgeous and haunting chronicle of a post-break-up reflection on now-forgotten plans to travel the world. Not to mention that, thanks to the story about Mr. Lowdermilk’s inspiration for the song’s melody, we’d spent the entire day on Sunday randomly bursting into song with “Tipsy Parsons….I’m walking past a bar called Tipsy Parsons…” Mr. Mientus also joined Mr. Lowdermilk towards the end of the night to perform a hilarious version of “Vegas.” The Celine-Dion-in-an-oyster-bubble subplot of the song always cracks me up.
Ms. Kerrigan also performed a song, “I’m Sorry,” which is one that’s really grown on me since I first heard it. It contains one of my favorite lyrics: “Love looked a lot like Huckleberry Finn,” referring to the freckled face of the song’s unnamed object of affection. I’ve also grown rather attached to “Avalanche,” another fairly new song that was performed several times in New York by Katrina Rose Dideriksen. While Ms. Dideriksen’s rendition was sheer power and belt, Kate Ferber’s more acoustic version seemed to me to focus more on conveying the tone of the lyrics, which helped me to appreciate the song in a new way.
Morgan Karr and Dee Roscioli both managed, somehow, to top their performances from the previous night, which kind of blows our minds. The notes that Ms. Roscioli hits in “How to Return Home” are simply phenomenal, and I’d love to hear Natalie Weiss, who can be heard singing the song on Kerrigan & Lowdermilk’s album (“Our First Mistake”), go for them someday. Mr. Karr has an incredibly unique sound with his falsetto, but on Sunday, he left his beautiful fluttery sound behind and went straight for the belt in “Two Strangers” and “Last Week’s Alcohol.” It was glorious.
At some point in the future, Hillary and I want to write a Carrie Manolakos appreciation blog, simply because she is phenomenal. Out of the embarrassing number of versions of “Run Away With Me” that reside on my iPod, hers is quickly rising in rank. I’ve always taken to performers whose voices sound like they’re on the verge of cracking, but don’t (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for that, but I have no idea what it is), and the quality of Ms. Manolakos’s tone definitely fits that category. Whether it’s rocking out to “In Between” or delicately beginning “Run Away With Me,” or even singing the works of other composers that we love, we’ll be following her future projects avidly from now on.
Now that you know our mad love for Mr. Karr and Ms. Manolakos, you can only imagine our response when Mr. Lowdermilk brought them both out on stage, along with Claudia Carlsson and Zachary Altman, to sing “Say The Word”….DIVA TAG-STYLE. What is “diva tag,” you ask? Only the best thing ever. Picture any number of performers standing on stage; the first person in line begins to sing a song. Whenever he chooses, he pokes the person standing next to him, and that person must pick up the song immediately. Praise the rain gods that YouTube exists to let us, and you, relive this epic goodness, because words can’t adequately describe how funny and fierce it was: watch it here. Highlights to look out for include Mr. Karr ending up with the line, “I want to be the girl there by your side” and delivering it with pizzazz, and a super-duper long belting section in which four fantastic performers alternated on an extremely high note for a long time. [Insert the awe of two musically-untalented girls here.] Ms. Kerrigan also got to join in, and almost had a few teeth taken out by the microphone.
It was really touching to see Kait and Brian get a little emotional as the set list wound down, and suddenly only “Run Away With Me” and “Holding On,” arguably the duo’s two biggest anthems, were left. As Mr. Lowdermilk stated, the past few months have been incredible. I can’t imagine how many new fans the duo has gained, and how many existing fans have become even more loyal after having multiple chances to see their work performed live – Hillary and I included. While Ms. Kerrigan and Mr. Lowdermilk shift their focus away from live concerts for the next few months in preparation for Sam Brown in August, we’ll certainly miss seeing such an incredible group of performers on “You Made This Tour,” but as previously stated, we are DYING to see their work staged in a more formal arena. Gah. Hitting two shows on two consecutive days was the perfect end to their album release celebration; not only did it result in a spiffy new profile picture for our blog, but also reassured us that as the world keeps turning and the earth keeps shifting, we keep holding on to Kerrigan & Lowdermilk’s music because it re-energizes us, makes us laugh, and inspires us beyond belief.