The Bluebird Cafe truly is a magical space to experience music. I realized this on Saturday night when I attended a show there for the first time. I have to admit, it felt pretty surreal being able to say “we’re on the list” at the door of such an iconic venue, but from the moment you walk into the Bluebird, you stop feeling overwhelmed and start feeling right at home (you sort of have no choice, because you’re sitting elbow to elbow with strangers – but hey, it’s an all-in experience).
The 6:30 p.m. show that we attended included singer/songwriters E. Marlowe, Walker Hayes, Adam Searan and Skye Media‘s, Granville Automatic who are the reason we were able to experience such an incredibly intimate set.
Unlike the center stage set up I was expecting, the five musicians were in a circle, dead-center, surrounded by closely positioned tables with just enough space for the waitstaff to navigate through. It was an organized chaos that I felt lucky to be a part of.
A writer’s round is just that; each writer performs a song of theirs and the other writers can harmonize or tambourine in when they see fit. These five work together quite a bit at BMG, co-writing on a lot of each other’s songs they played on Saturday night. You could tell they were close with one another, which in turn, made the audience feel welcomed. It’s always nice to feel like you’re a part of something bigger, so I definitely supported the full-room sing-alongs on catchy hooks.
Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins make-up, Granville Automatic, named after a 19th-century typewriter. They make history interesting, telling stories of old war-tales that have since been forgotten until now. Admittedly polar opposites, Elizabeth’s soothing guitar ability pairs graciously with Vanessa’s clean and powerful vocals to create a lovingly haunting performance that we were able to get a glimpse of that night.
Vanessa was definitely the life of the party, chiming in whenever she could to add harmonies or small instrumental contributions to the other writer’s music. All of the writers played off of one another, but she was always the first to make a joke or lighten the mood after a seemingly heavy track was performed, which was interesting in juxtaposition to the songs she sang herself.
The show ended around 8 p.m. and I was briefly able to chat with the duo before inching out the small doorway with the other hundred of my newfound friends. The ladies were all smiles, happy and welcoming, just like they were during their “performance.” It gave me the impression that we weren’t watching Granville Automatic do a set of their songs, we were watching Vanessa and Elizabeth tell stories they thought we should hear – in a place where hundreds of other great musicians had done that before them, and I thought that was pretty cool.