Los Angeles band Duniven had only three songs left to perform at 9 p.m., and Canal Room was still pretty empty for the ASCAP showcase. But the small crowd was generous to the band and offered some supportive clapping as it completed its final song. The intermission between Duniven and the second act, Keegan Dewitt, felt like an eternity even though it was more like 30 minutes. The lengthy intermissions allowed for people in the crowd to socialize with one another while bands ran through mic checks.
By 9:30 p.m. the room had filled up quite a bit, and Dewitt and his band hit the stage immediately thanking the crowd members for their patience and for coming out in the rain. He warmed the crowd up with his first song and performed what he called a “brand new” track “Wishing Well” as a follow-up. The crowd was a mixture of bearded men and women with satchels who took a minute (longer than the artist probably preferred) to warm up to the performance. Nevertheless, by the third song heads were bobbing. His performance of “Say La La” had an almost soulful touch to it that made it better than the recorded version and held the attention of the entire venue until his set was over.
It was a bit unsettling to make the transition from such an entertaining, dare we say harmonious, 30-minute set to a 30-minute intermission where the DJ played Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” in the company of a twirling disco ball. But somehow the crowd managed not only to stick around but to expand. At 10:30 there still were not enough people to make the room warm, (I kept my jacket on) but the previous space that could have held a break-dancing competition was now full.
The setting proved to be just about perfect as another Los Angeles band Incan Abraham hit the stage. This band actually looked like it was having fun. It sang over instruments that formed psychedelic beats. When coupled with the keyboardist’s high-pitched singing voice this made the music that much more engaging. The band was clearly in its finest hour or half-hour in this case when two of the singers became so enthralled in the performance they would frequently disappear out of sight and play guitar on the floor. Let’s hope these fellas stretched first.
Photos by Jennifer Grad.