We do have a surprise for you though. Usually we feature local artists on our show, but this week we are taking a bit of a departure. We are going to visit Dave Roberts’ house on Montrose Avenue in South Charleston!
Dave has been on our show numerous times as a member of The Nanker Phelge, Trielement and other bands. Last month, Dave and his lovely wife, Lisa, opened the doors to their house and turned their living room into a concert venue.
Our cameras were invited in that night for an amazing house concert featuring two internationally-known virtuoso musicians: From Nashville, bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith and from Cleveland, guitar wizard, Neil Zaza. They were joined by drummer Garrett Janos to form an amazing progressive power trio, The Monsters Under The Bed.
“Formed” is the key word. Prior to the performance seen in this episode of RFC, Sean and Neil had not only never played together…they’d never met in person until the afternoon of this house concert, when they showed up at Dave’s house.
Sean is an acclaimed solo artist, but is also an in-demand session musician, having played or toured with Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus and Malcom Jamal-Warner, to name just a few.
Neil is also an acclaimed solo artist who pioneered the “melodic instrumental rock” genre with his breakthrough hit, “I’m Alright.”. His “One Silent Night” concerts have become an annual holiday tradition in Cleveland, and he has recorded with Dweezil Zappa, Eric Carmen, Michael Stanley and Stewart Copeland.
Joining Sean and Neil is Garret Janos, Neil’s drummer, who also hadn’t met Sean prior to the day of this show.
This was Neil’s first ever house concert, and the first performance of the “Monsters Under The Bed” tour.
The guys met, jammed a little, and took a dinner break. Then the show began. There were more than twenty people crammed into Dave and Lisa’s living room. Our camera set up was a little limited. We had one camera tucked behind a chair in one corner of the room. Another set up about three feet to my right on a tripod, and I ran Camera One handheld from my seat on the couch. Since we had to turn on the first camera and let it run, we lost it for some of the tunes when the battery expired.
One other pitfall of the intimate location was that Neil was seated directly in front of a lamp, which bathed him in an angelic, yet face-obscuring, glow for much of the night. Still, it was the first time we ever got genuine lens flare on our Kodak Zi8s, so it turned out pretty cool.
Still, given the circumstances, we got some great footage. We chose Sean’s song, “Sweet,” a major hit on the smooth jazz charts, and Neil’s song, “I’m Alright,” which is a worldwide smash. We wrap up the show with a slow jam on “The House of the Rising Sun.”
It was a real treat meeting the guys and it’s an honor to have them on Radio Free Charleston for our seventh anniversary. We have several more songs from this evening that you will get to hear on future episodes of the show.
So sit back and enjoy our seventh anniversary with a trip up Montrose Avenue to see two internationally-renowned musicians play together for the first time.
Radio Free Charleston returns in one week with music from Motion Theater and HarraH. Be here for it.