City Paper featured songwriter Howie Day's solo gig at the Music Farm as a critic's pick in the Music Board section last week. Local songsmith Jay Clifford was initially the bill as well, but he stepped aside shortly before the show date. City Paper account exec Sarah Mullin and her partner in mischief Matthew Minotti were there with their eyes and ears open for the headliner's set:
Sarah Mullin: "The Farm was about half full, and the crowd was interesting. It appears that Howie's college following has grown up — at least in Charleston it has. The room stayed full of fans in their latter 20s and early 30s. Howie was solo, which is how I like him. I most looked forward to his improvisational style and sound effects that he does on his own. I enjoyed hearing his older stuff, but I was disappointed with songs from his new album, Sound the Alarm. The lyrics were corny, the sound was kinda blah, and it felt like the intensity and angst that came through on his earlier records was lost."
Matt Minotti: "I have been a Howie fan since back in the day. I thought he sounded great. The vocals were on. As a whole, the show was not as fun as the shows I have seen in the past, but maybe he's trying to seem grown up. The days of drunk college girls at his shows seem like they may be behind him, but that happens to the best of us. The new songs didn't grab me, but didn't offend my ears, either. I think if I'd heard the new stuff before I went, the songs might have sat better with me. But I was geeked for the show, and marginally let down by the set list — not enough old stuff and the stuff he did play was predictable — but I am glad I went. The opener chick [singer/songwriter Serena Ryder] was good, too. Her vocals were spot-on as well."