Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011 Acoustic Long Island’s Annual Outdoor Summer Concert

On a beautiful summer night with the stars visible in the sky and the Deepwells Mansion acting as stage and backdrop, Acoustic Long Island held it’s sixth annual free outdoor concert featuring Reed Waddle, Nini and Ben, Miles to Dayton, and Ari Hest. Dave Dircks, the heart and soul of Acoustic Long Island, characterized these musicians as the best of the 2010-2011 concert series. It is only the hard work of volunteers like Scott Posner and Billy Alexander, the two backbones of Acoustic Long Island, who make this outdoor event possible.  Reed Waddle, who, opened up the night, is great in a small space, but seemed overwhelmed and swallowed up on the stage. At first, I blamed it on the outdoor venue, which can be tough on musicians since you can’t control the acoustics and the sound system to deliver, but I was wrong. Nini and Ben came out with more drive and power with Nini’s voice soaring. While they never achieved those wow moments, what the crowd heard was a very talented band with an excellent vocalist in Nini and a strong song-writer-guitarist in Ben. They were followed by Miles to Dayton who exploded onto the stage. No sooner did they hit the first note than the crowd was riveted, proving that any criticism I had of the sound system and the outdoor venue was false. Miles to Dayton demonstrated the power of having two accomplished vocalists Jonathan and Krista Preddice with their impeccable harmonies and with having two backup singers, Leanne Preddice on violin and Dave March on bass. The blending of Jonathan’s guitar and Leanne’s violin, and the ensemble’s non-stop energy held the crowd in their hands for every song in their set. Ari Hest closed out the evening. At first, I feared that having Ari follow Miles to Dayton was a mistake, but Ari’s melodious voice with his tremendous range moving from deep bass to falsetto was commanding, his ability to connect with the audience through simple story telling compelling, and the warm sensitive nature of his songs such as Cranberry Lake, Bird Never Flies, and I’ve Got You served as the perfect coda to a wonderful evening.

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