“I love house concerts over everything else,” local musician, Greg Smith, says over coffee at Milk Maid in downtown Owen Sound. “It’s a trifecta: the artist makes more money…more people come…and the music is better.”
We met up to chat about his upcoming house concert with Marshall Veroni and Pat Maloney in Owen Sound on Saturday, May 5, and while we talked about baseball and Norm MacDonald for most of the conversation, we did eventually get to why these three work so well together. “Marshall, Pat, and I have this pact where we help each other out. We…wanted to do something this night [May 5]….and Maxine [the host] has been great.”
Greg Smith will soon embark on a lengthy tour through Ontario and out East, but first he’s really excited to play one of three sets with two guys he calls his friends. You’ll likely hear tunes from his upcoming album, an extension of his creative output on Iris. And you’ll also likely hear some of Veroni’s new songs from his upcoming album. Pat Maloney will close out the night and provide an entertaining sample from his three full length albums. Oh, and he loves to whistle so get ready.
The house concert is becoming popular in Canada and artists like Dan Mangan couldn’t be happier. His Side Door is picking up on this ‘trifecta’, and has launched a nation wide network of people willing to offer their homes up, and artists willing to play in them. His project offers an easy way for hosts and artists to connect so that everyone wins. Mangan has his own trifecta in his slogan of ‘Live. Art. Close.’
“It feels comfortable,” Smith says. “It’s almost like that feeling when someone says ‘Hey man, do you wanna go to this show?’ and you say ‘I don’t wanna leave my house. I wanna stay here on the couch.’ Well you can do that at someone else’s house.”
It was Veroni who connected with the host, Maxine, and things came about naturally from there. “I’m really looking forward to this show,” Marshall tells us remotely from the studio where he’s in the midst of recording his new album. “The beautiful thing about a house concert is how it becomes so much more of a shared experience between the audience and the artist. It’s leagues ahead of a classic venue show in terms of intimacy and I love that.”
Pat Maloney is just coming off a European tour and currently doing a run of shows around Ontario. We reached him on the road and asked his take on this house concert trifecta: “I focus heavily on the story telling aspect of my music, and house concert audiences tend to be ready to listen intently,” he says. “A songwriter’s dream come true. I can’t wait to make my way to Owen Sound and sing songs alongside Greg & Marshall, who I’ve become quite fond of over this last year. Although their beards are laughably inferior, their songs and voices make up the difference.”
“And there are different kinds of house shows,” Smith says. “There are shows where somebody turned the knob down on their house party a little bit and stuck you in there, and then there’s the one where people show up to have a little symposium beforehand and the music comes after.” And then there’s the type that Smith showed up to in London where there was a massive quilt hanging on the wall that said “All men do is nut and lie”, which worried him at first but then had a great time as they listened intently to his folk music and then turned the house into a dance party after.
“I have no idea what the environment will be at Maxine’s on Saturday,” he says. We here at Rrampt don’t know either, but we’re going to find out. I may just sneak out early if it turns into a dance party, though.
You can find the address for this event and more details at the event page.
Written by Jesse Wilkinson
Photos provided by the artists.