Monday, April 21, 2014

Quirky Venues: Fullsteam Brewery (AND VIDEO OF LITTLE BABIES DANCING)

7:25 AM
Who goes to see live contemporary classical music? Generally not little babies.

If you are a little baby, then like the rest of the little baby population, you may find yourself put off by the solemn atmosphere of the concert hall. The cerebral parlor tricks of modern composers may rankle against the anti-intellectual sentiment so typically held by the little babies of today.

But of course, contemporary classical can't be put into a box like that. Plenty of it is poppy and fun. In the constant search for new, more diverse & younger art music audiences, sometimes half the battle is won if you can just bring the music to new people instead of trying to do the work of convincing them they'll like it beforehand. [hilarious video after the jump]

Fullsteam is a special place. Not many warehouse breweries attract sweet young families, even on a Sunday afternoon. But, of course, Fullsteam isn't just a bar; it's a cornerstone of the downtown Durham community, and yuppies, college students, hipsters, middle-aged businessmen, and aging hippies all happily flock to this chill, sunny place. If it's not past bedtime, none of them have any qualms about bringing their little babies. And why should they?

I took this video at a Fullsteam-set concert of French cabaret-inspired works by the [dnme] on April 6th. That's Tim Hambourger's take on "Tha ma ra boum di hé," well-known to us this side of the pond but not necessarily as something you'd hear at a concert. I doubt I'm far off in guessing that most of the Fullsteam-goers who stumbled upon this concert are not classical music aficionados--but whether you are or not, which rendition of this song would you rather put into your tiny child's ears?

Not pictured:
     - an older lady who looked like she might have arrived with a neo-Pagan group, intimating to her bench partner in a thrilled whisper during Dan Ruccia's drum kit-heavy piece: "Doesn't sound very classical to me!"
     - other small children approaching the ensemble to point in wonder at those funky-looking wind and brass instruments
     - the lovely moms of the sweet girls in my video not just giving me permission to post it, but also asking where they could read the blog because "I'd love to come to more stuff like this!"

Bringing our music to unexpected venues like this is a spectacular way for classical musicians to engage the mainstream community. This is the first post in what will be a series on these quirky venues and what happens when classical music shows up there. Where have YOU heard live classical music lately--or where would you like to? Leave a comment! Let me know!

Hear snippets from other pieces played at the concert here. Click here for indyweek's review of the same program presented by [dnme] at Duke the following weekend.

About the author

I'm Andrea. Everything you need to know is here.