Monday, November 8, 2010

Johnny Flynn Came to San Francisco

In the four-plus years that Seth and I have been together, there has been exactly one artist that I played for him that he: A)Didn't know about; and B)Really liked. That artist is Johnny Flynn, a British musician of the folk rock/indie rock genre; and frontman of the band Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit.

Last night, Seth and I finally got to see Johnny Flynn perform live, and it was so very cool. He played a solo show at The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. As the headliner, he didn't go on until 11:00 p.m., after Cheyenne Marie Mize and Goh Nakamura. It was a bit tough getting motivated to get there on a Sunday night, but it was worth every sleepy moment I dragged through today.

The venue was perfect. As one of my friends said, The Rickshaw Stop is "very hipster" and it provided just the right atmosphere. It is an 18 and over place, but that made for a pretty empty bar scene, and it was quite easy to get a pint of Speak Easy IPA. In such a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, with a British musician about to take the stage, how can you get anything but a pint of beer? By the way, there is also a full bar.

The opening acts were easy on the ears, and I really enjoyed Cheyenne Mize's performance. Her voice is quite nice, but not unique to me. Then she broke out the violin and the banjo. I was sold.

Just before Cheyenne's performance I decided to go downstairs and find the bathroom. It was a good thing I did, because when I walked by the bar I noticed that a young blond man was selling stuff. The young blond man was Johnny Flynn himself, hawking is own CDs and t-shirts. Of course I jumped in line before I headed back upstairs, and Seth joined me so that we could buy the new CD, Been Listening, get it autographed and take a quick picture.

Johnny Flynn is such a nice guy. Okay, and he's good looking. He was patient with all the fans—even the girl who locked onto his arm and gushed "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm touching you!" She looked like she might gobble him up right there.

All right on to the performance.

It was amazing. Seth and I didn't quite know what to expect because part of what makes the A Larum album so good is the band, and we knew they wouldn't be there. I'm glad we got to see Johnny Flynn perform on his own. He has such a rich voice for someone of smallish stature (he's not super tiny, but he's not a big guy either), and he is fantastic on the guitar. Cheyenne Mize performed with him at one point, but most of the songs were done by Johnny on his own. He sang stuff from the new album, and he did my favorite song, Brown Trout Blues. Unfortunately for Seth, there was no guitar-only rendition of Leftovers, but we understood that perhaps there's just too much of the band in in that one.

I hope that one of these days we can see the whole band perform, but I think we might need to go to Europe for that kind of show.

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