What is it about playing to a crowd of 60 people in the living room of an Indianapolis home that attracts an accomplished and well-known singer/songwriter from New York? Perhaps it’s the sincere love and appreciation for beautiful, genuine music that lives inside every person that attends. Maybe it’s the gracious couple who host such an event that appeal to dwellers from a city full of rough-edged citizens. It could even be the informal setting allowing for mistakes, banter, and stories that draws such talent to a small (if not tiny) venue in the mid-west. These, among others, are the reasons that Ari Hest returned to the little brick house on Kessler Boulevard on March 22nd and 23rd, not more than seven months after his last visit.
Several things were different this time around. Instead of playing solo, Ari brought an impressive group of musicians anyone would be proud to call their band. Thad DeBrock and Rob Calder played electric and bass, respectively, and Doug Yowell awed the audience with his arsenal of percussion toys. Ari, as per usual, graced the crowd with music from his acoustic guitar and phenomenal voice.
Due to demand and a quick sell-out after the concert announcement was made, Ari agreed to schedule a second show for the following night, giving fans of the Kessler House Concert Series the option to come on Sunday or Monday evening. Expectedly, the Monday night show sold out as well.
Early on, Ari confessed he was suffering from a cold and had chosen to sing select songs a half-step lower than usual. One would have never suspected a struggle for accurate tone; his vocal delivery was superb. A house concert setting eliminates any need to labor for lyrical comprehension. An absence of typical background noise in a bar (crowd chatter, bottles hitting trash cans, plates clanking in the kitchen) makes listening to a song as easy as conversing with a friend over lunch.
Another perk to attending a house concert is the easily apparent comfort and openness with which the performers handle their audience. As Ari set the scene prior to playing