There are musicians that impress listeners in ways that are as varied as each person. Some fans are attracted to lyrics, other sounds and even a selected few for basic stage presence. However, it is always a real treat when a superb musician stops by for an intimate performance and matches all three of those criteria. Luckily, Brooke Waggoner, a wonderful songstress did just that earlier this week at Rockwood Music Hall.
As a fan of hers, it was a pleasure to make my way downtown for the event that evening. I arrived a bit early at the red glare of Stage One to snag a good seat in the back. It was pleasantly warm inside. My suspicions for a crowded night were spot on as people began to slowly enter before Brooke’s set. Gulping down an Amstel Light, I noticed Brooke waiting patiently on the side as the musician before her finished his performance. As the time came close for her music to be in the limelight, her colleagues on guitar and drums quickly began to set up their instruments. Brooke was calmly walking around chatting with her band mates and set up her signature keyboard on the stage. Finally they were all ready to begin and got right into it.
Brooke started things off with a somber serenading of the keys. We were all entranced in a dreamlike lullaby. Her soft singing voice was so airy and welcoming. Much lighter than what her studio work sounds like, which was wonderful! The drums suddenly kicked in for an infectious beat. Hence, the jam session commenced. Throughout the night many listeners were simply floating in a mist of song. I loved how the bass tones were vibrating smoothly throughout the space. Brooke’s music seemed to have an invisible orchestra, which supported her musical prowess. With her eyes closed while playing the keyboard, she made sure to captivate her fans with her passion.
The echoes of the keys were eerily pleasant, with a folksy element to it all. At times, she had some really high pitch tones that made some of the older folks cover their ears. That prompted some smiles from us young souls. The crash of the cymbals was interesting as it blended in surprisingly well with Brooke’s keyboard playing. Probably the most appealing thing about her music, other than the songs themselves, were the short narratives she provided about each song and its meaning. For example, she made it a point to laugh about her millennial coffee culture song. ‘Even though we are poor, we always find money for coffee,” she replied. She could not be more correct.
When Brooke was in her music, she hardly opened her eyes while singing. There was a zone that she was in that made nothing else matter in the world. Brooke was orally in command of her craft. Her slight grins here and there proved she was completely happy with all of it. Much of her music was a hover above jazz with its drum and key pairing. Listeners could not help by sway back and forth. Brooke was so versatile on the keys that she even broke out into an organ themed flair for one song. That keyboard was her perfect medium along with her voice. She held such control and focus that was extremely admirable. She had wine on the piano next to her, but the poor thing was so dedicated to her performance, that she never took a sip. As the night drew to a close, she made sure to invite people to hang out afterwards. Now, that is pure professionalism and excellent marketing right there. I loved it!
Brooke Waggoner is one of my music staples and I was overjoyed to finally see her in action. I recommend all of you to take a listen to her music and explore the wonder that she can provide. If you are looking for something soothing and light with a glimpse of sheep musical power, Brooke is the woman for you.