Anyone who's been reading EA knows that I think Jabi Shriki is putting out some great music here in Seattle (well, Olympia and other cities to be more accurate). Recorded music is one thing, live music is a totally different animal. Due to numerous scheduling conflicts, anytime Jabi was performing in the Seattle area, I could never make it. That all changed last night (2/25/12).
This gig was Jabi's CD release party for his newest CD "Puzzle Pieces". If you don't have it already, what the heck? Go buy it right now if you haven't already - this blog isn't going anywhere. No, really, right now. iTunes or directly from Jabi www.jabi.us
I haven't been to a coffee shop gig in quite a number of years to be honest. The Gypsy Cafe is a cool place. When you walk in the ordering area is dead center, with tables to the right and a back room to the left. Filled with random tables and chairs, there is a stage where they hold different local music events every week it seems. From open mics to songwriters events, the Gypsy Cafe is supporting the local scene - so they automatically get a nod of respect for that. Cheers!
Onto the gig! I will focus strictly on Jabi's set.
A very quiet and humble man, unassuming with jeans and a flannel and black tshirt on (Jabi - let's talk about image a little bit, k? email me ... ;) ) Jabi checked his guitar, mic, and the PA system. He announced who he was and then he started. Jabi's voice makes you take notice of what's coming from the stage. Then the music (guitar) gets things going and then you're lost in the world of Shriki - a wonderful world of melody, introspection, and curiosity.
We were treated to the requested "I Know It Well" (thanks for playing it - yeah readers, I'm the one who requested it - sue me - or at least I was one of the people that requested it I'd like to think) from "Seven More Oceans". "Raining In Boston" from "Juniper Circus" also appeared in the set (I use the term loosely as Jabi has mentioned he doesn't rehearse a set list per se). With this being a CD release, three songs (if memory serves) from "Puzzle Pieces" were played. "Inverse Second(s)" with a female musician friend performing the vocals from (random) memory. "Int(r)o" - the guitar instrumental was played right before the set ender of "Turn The World".
The mix of new, old, and current songs was pretty much spot on. I think, though, considering this was a CD release show, at least one or two other songs from the CD should of been aired instead of new tracks that a fan, like myself, is unfamiliar with. This show was pretty low key so I can overlook that aspect but with any future shows (like the upcoming ones in PDX) - especially the podcast and the music store gigs, I would suggest playing the majority of the tunes from the new CD - so anyone that hears you live, they can say, "hey, is that song on the CD (like Roo asked at the end of the Seattle show)?" And that's when Jabi can proudly reply, "why yes - it is - would you be interested in buying one, etc". CD show - promote the CD as much as possible. Simple idea. Other types of gigs can be more carefree with the song selection. Just my opinion. And, yeah, I know the saying about opinions .....
I am a firm believer that Jabi Shriki is making music that, not only could do well with a wider audience, it deserves a wider audience! Some artists have it, some don't. Jabi has "it". Jabi's music is captivating. It stays with you. It's something that will linger with you into the next day, long after the smells of coffee wafting from the Gypsy Cafe have gone.
I would pay money to see him perform a show in a proper venue - an arts/community center theater, with a stage, seats, lighting, etc....something like the Historic Everett Theater would be perfect! The IKEA theater in Renton would do nicely, thank you. Heck, aim for the stars and go with something like the Edmonds Arts Center Theater - beautiful hall. I want to see him play the music that he has an undying passing for in front of a proper audience.
I walked into the Gypsy Cafe a fan of Jabi Shriki's music. I left the Gypsy Cafe a genuine fan of Jabi Shriki - the music (recorded/live) and, perhaps more importantly, the man.
PDX - you're next - check him out! You'll be glad you did!