All was relatively quiet at the Hotel Congress except for the buzz near the Copper Hall door. There, with no help from the staff, a line began to form, and there was a quiet buzzing inside as people took their chairs and settled in for a concert by singer/songwriter Slaid Cleaves, described by one person I overheard as “an old friend I haven’t met yet.”
Slaid Cleaves was quiet and yet strong, holding nothing back and yet not quite giving everything up in the beginning. He was just a man and his guitar, singing songs that were familiar to the audience. You could see many mouths singing along, and yet the hall was still except for Cleaves’ guitar and voice.
He commanded complete attention without ever raising his voice or playing a loud chord on the guitar – it was just him on the stage holding the audience’s attention. The audiences’ attention never wavered and it was an evening they needed.
The Copper Hall in the Hotel Congress is a whole other entity from the raucous, and a world away from the rock ‘n’ roll mayhem that sometimes blesses the other stages there. The Rhythm & Roots Concert Series put on another “boy, am I glad I went” show.
– Bob Gottleib