When last we met I had decided that Australian band Manisonair was worth seeing twice in a week. This was of course before Hurricane Joaquin was threatening to get all Sandy all over NYC, which brought a nice chunk of rain to the city that never sleeps. For those that don't live in NYC and have the luxury of automobiles to drive around in when it's raining, most NYers rage quit on any plans they make whenever they are faced with a potential downpour. I was literally moments away from this point in my evening plan making until my favorite local troubadour, Jesse Ruben, tagged me in a tweet that he'd be doing a set later in the evening at Rockwood Music Hall stage 1. After verifying that I had enough time to get down to the Lower East Side but also show hop, I grabbed my biggest umbrella and trudged out in the mini-monsoon for what I affectionately referred to all evening as "CMJ practice".
Just like their set at Baby's All Right, Mansionair killed it yet again. They proved in that performance that it didn't matter the size of the stage or audience, they were always going to give it their all. The audience responded accordingly to their energy. In fact, it sounded like I wasn't the only one at Piano's that was a repeat customer for the band. I heard several references to Summerstage and Baby's All Right. That spoke volumes of their stay power, imo. They finally got around to the song that I had waited all evening for, "Shadows", which prompted the one and only note that I took for the entire evening, which reads (and this is a direct quote): "SHADOWS IS THE PIANO SONG THAT BROKE YOUR HEART". There is currently no recording of this song yet so you are going to have to take my word for it for now.
When I got to Rockwood stage 1 I was pleasantly surprised at how full the room was considering Jesse was filling in last minute. As soon as he started playing though, it was pretty apparent that most of the people there were just happy to be in a warm/dry room and drinking alcohol. It didn't take too long for Jesse to win the majority of the room over. He's good for that. He even managed to get the room completely quiet for the entiretyof one of his softer tunes. Gotta give the guy props. There's never a doubt in your mind that music is his one true passion once you've sat through one of sets.
I've thought a lot about what it would take for him to see more national/mainstream-esque success. I've yet to put my finger on what the answer is. I know a few songs are seeing air time on some MTV shows and his charity project based on his song, "We Can" continues to gain traction in schools nationwide, so maybe good things are just around the corner for my favorite sandwich-loving singer-songwriter.
Listen to Mansionair's latest EP, Pick Me Up.