Friday, January 23, 2009

REVIEW: Ryan Cabrera and Jesse Ruben at The Red Room @ Cafe 939 1/22/09

The first girls arrived at noon and they were also the last to leave. "But Ryan always does load-ins at 2PM". This was a sign that the night was either going to be a disastrous mess of teenage crazed fans or that it was going to be die-hard fans provided the background for a great show. It was definitely the latter.

While most casual fans might know him as the former boyfriend of Ashlee Simpson, Cabrera has tried hard to shake himself of the Simpson clan (including manager-dad Joe) and get back to making catchy pop-rock, which rang true on Thursday night. A mix of old and new, Ryan came out to the stage having cleaned up from his recent longer hair goatee look with just a his guitar and friend/opener Zach Hexum. Zach provided some backing vocals, guitar and sax support, but it was all eyes on Ryan. Hits like "On The Way Down" "True" and "Shine On" were sing-a-longs and most of the crowd knew more than that. The energy was high for a stripped down show and you wouldn't know that this was only the second night of the tour. On a cover of Paul Simon's "Call Me Al" Ryan brought out friend G. Love (of G. Love and Special Sauce) to play some harmonica. After the show, Ryan stayed and signed something and met everyone who wanted to meet him. When I first saw Ryan in 2004 opening for Jewel he did the same thing. In a cutthroat business, it's nice to see an artist who still appreciates and respects the fans.

Jesse Ruben's set kept the audience captivated with his melodic tunes. A Berklee alum and no stranger to the stage at The Red Room, Jesse hit the crowd with humourous chatter and songs "Lack of Armor", "Impossible to Find", and my personal favorite "Advice". If I was a gambling man, (and if you don't know that I am by now you obviously don't know me) I'd say Jesse is going somewhere and you should check out his music on his myspace or catch him on tour.

No comments: