Friday, August 7, 2015
Stag’s Head, Raleigh —
RDU Music’s own Johnny Buscemi (aka JMikes) once again brought his acoustic guitar and well-groomed beard to Stag’s Head on Friday night for a soulful, acoustic set of covers peppered with a few original tunes.
John has a breathy, melancholic tenor that conjures images of long drives through God’s country with your best gal by your side and the windows rolled down. Not to mention long, pensive stares out of a rain-slick windowpane, pining over the one that got away. Either way, his songs leave your heart either full to bursting or so empty that you can barely stand. On his facial expressions during especially heartfelt moments, friend of the program, J-Letters, had this to say: “I like when he does that. It looks like he has to pee.”
JMikes and I initially bonded over our mutual love for the Weakerthans. The first time I saw him play, I was standing at the back of the bar, thinking about how awkward I am in public, when I heard the opening chords to “Left and Leaving.” I was speechless. I had never met anyone in real life who also liked the Weakerthans. I ran to the front and sang along to “…and every birthday card I threw away.” So now, every time JMikes plays, I yell out, “When are you playing our song?!” I’m pretty sure he likes it when I do that.
The last few times I’ve seen JMikes, he’d opened with an acoustic set, taken a short (kinda long) break, then came back with a subdued electric set (including “Left and Leaving”). This time, he came back with acoustic round 2, leaving the electric guitar at home. I’m hesitant to use the word “disappointed” so let’s just say that my heart sprung a leak and was about half empty. Little did I know that JMikes had a secret 3rd set on the books. One that included an acoustic version of “Left and Leaving.”
Needless to say, he totally redeemed himself. Now my heart is full.
3/5 stars – Good times for all (and considerably more culture than the majority of Glenwood South deserves).