Very few people show up to a concert solely for the opening act, but that’s what I did this past Sunday night. You see about a month ago I caught the tail end of a music video and I was intrigued. I needed to know more about the artist behind the beautiful voice, because he had that something. I immediately started searching the internet for more. I didn’t have a name or a song title just a few lines from the song, but I found him. Justin Nozuka, a 19-year-old from Toronto, Canada. After listening to two songs on his MySpace page, I knew I needed his album. I was in luck because it had been released two weeks prior, and I’m glad because waiting for it would have killed me. It’s rare that you can listen to an entire CD without skipping a track, but I didn’t skip a single one. From beginning to end Justin’s voice drives the songs with deeply emotional lyrics and amazing acoustic sound. He’s Jonny Lang with an acoustic guitar, Ben Harper with more of a voice, Joss Stone but a guy, really he’s just something I’ve never heard before.
Sunday was just amazing. His performance style was different from anyone else I had ever seen. He danced, had his eyes closed, and barely talked, almost as if the audience was just sneaking a glimpse of what he does at home in front of a mirror. After his set was over he signed autographs in the back and seemed surprised that people were acknowledging him. Of course I was in that "shocked I’m standing here talking to someone who has had a video on Vh1" state so I didn’t get to say much. Thankfully my amazing friend Lauren was able to talk to him a bit and ask him to take a picture with us, which he was more than happy to do. I could not get over how quiet and normal he was, or the fact that he continued to say thank you to us as if we were the only ones who came to see him. The next act was Marié Digby, who gained fame from her acoustic cover of “Umbrella” on YouTube. I would say her voice is somewhere along the lines of Mandy Moore, but Marié wrote all of the songs on her album and plays guitar and piano so that does give her music something more. The final act was Eric Hutchinson (think Ben Folds with a dash of Stevie Wonder’s funk). I was impressed with his interaction with the audience of just over 100 people. He accepted a t-shirt that a fan made for him, wished a girl happy birthday mid way through a song, and even replied that he would think about it when a girl screamed something about having his babies. At the end of the night he also signed autographs, and my friend Sarah was able to have her shirt signed. Eric was also generous enough to take a picture with us. After attending a concert at such a small venue, I don’t think I could ever attend a stadium or arena concert again. The artists were so accessible, friendly, and real, as if it were a private concert, except for the fact that it only cost me 20 dollars. What a wonderful night.
Here are a few pictures you can check out the rest in my Opening Acts! set on Flickr