Listening room and house concerts are a lesson in intimate attentiveness, both from the small assemblage of people who frequent them, and the subjects regaling the keen and cozy audiences with serenades and storytelling. Factor in pristine sound quality and a communal mood of camaraderie, and you have the recipe for an extraordinary live-music experience.
ConcertsInYourHome.com founder/musician Fran Snyder introduced these style of concerts to Bay area audiences in 2012 when he launched the Listening Room Festival, a multi-day event of private house concerts and public artist showcases featuring a genre-spanning assemblage of singer-songwriters and smaller scale acoustic-based acts.
The fifth annual edition spotlights nearly a dozen impressive acts of both national and local renown over seven days of concerts that are bookended by a few venue showcases and highlighted by one very special public performance.
The fest kicks off with a Monday evening Meet the Artists Showcase, which finds nine notable LRF acts hawking merch, engaging fans and playing a few songs as a sort of appetite-whetter for the week ahead. Among the highlights – cheeky Kentucky-brewed rockabilly troubadour Antsy McClain, minus his band (which we usually see at the Skipperdome), drawling through his acclaimed one-man “Poet Laureate of Pine View Heights” show ala 2014 DVD, Our Evidence of Life on Earth; Toronto-spawned Celtic/chamber folk ensemble The Bombadils, their songs brightened by lovely string passages and flute melodies; and Ryanhood, a harmonizing acoustic rock two-piece from Arizona that were named Best Group/Duo in the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards. Suzie Vinnick, Peppino D’Agostino, Tim & Myles Thompson, Dan Frechette & Laurel Thomsen, Olivia Millerschin and Woody Russell also appear on this night. (Mon., March 28, 7-10 p.m., Palladium Theater, $10 advance/$15 at the door).
Ryanhood head up LRF’s very special highlight — a free performance on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall (noon-1 p.m. Fri., April 1) — before everything comes to a close during LRF’s Main Showcase on Sunday night, which comprises full-scale performances by McClain, Ryanhood, D’Agostino, Frechette & Thomsen, Vinnick, and the Thompsons (7-10 p.m. Sun., April 3, $20 general/$35 VIP).
The Listening Room Festival takes place March 28-April 3, with the official after party Sunday night at Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg. Register to take part at listeningroomfestival.com (click “Get Invited”), or meet hosts (and check out some artists) at the Monday evening kick off.