MNPR Magazine sent our Florida correspondent out on assignment. MarkHoran.Pictures went away from the large halls to the local level, the city bars where local musicians are making their living. Here is the what he reported:
I have been following Melissa Crispo’s career for the past 14 years giving support to this talented artist. I started photographing her shows and realized in the larger halls my equipment was outmatched. So, I owe Melissa Crispo for the inspiration to venture into concert photography and upgrading my gear. She has performed in all the large venues in Orlando, Florida with her band. But, never a national tour, not yet. Melissa has opened for Sophie B Hawkins, Styx, and Jefferson Starship. Lately she and her band performed on cruise ships with Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLachlan and Joan Jett. She has even crossed over to the Country Cruising Cruise performing alongside country artists Kelsea Ballerini, Montgomery Gentry and Locash to name a few.
Saturday September 15, 2018 Melissa Crispo was performing at the bar Brooklyn South within the Aloma Bowling Alley in Winter Park, Florida. Special guest, Newnan, Georgia native Melody Kiser would be sharing the stage. The bar was standing room only when I arrived and navigating around to get my camera angles was difficult if not impossible. I was excited to see Melody as I had seen this incredible musician on YouTube playing electric guitar and singing at the young age of fifteen, from five years ago.
Melody opened the show by herself on acoustic guitar. She was relaxed and very at home in front of a large crowd. And wow, can she sing! This was the second show the duo had played together during Melody’s seventeen date September Florida/Georgia schedule, which includes an EP lease show with her band Kiser in Newnan, Georgia on September 28th .
After a brief intermission, Melissa Crispo hit the stage to wild applause from the packed house. Melissa played covers and originals from her debut album “A Break In The Clouds” and latest EP “Tomboy”. Halfway into her set she invited Kiser back to the stage and the two played for over an hour. The chemistry on stage was magical as they played back and forth with Kiser playing lead guitar riffs to Crispo’s original arrangements. I was glad I attended this show as it was one to remember and I really enjoyed it. I am not sure if the crowd, or the ladies on stage had the better time as live music is always a great time in my opinion, I just can’t get enough.
On any given night, great musicians can be found in local pubs and bars performing up close and personal within arm’s length. This is the origin of all national touring bands that are household names we hear and sing to on the radio. All musicians have a burning desire to perform to large crowds, to be in that moment. But, the reality is that it is hard to get to that pinnacle. In the past, record labels would go out and search for talent. Then they would nurture and promote those musicians fronting the financing for recording and touring. This still takes place but on a smaller scale.
A local musician with a band will on average get exposure and a chance to play once or twice a month and the pay isn’t enough to live on. The majority do not tour as you might think. So, lies the dilemma of a musician, can I make enough money to survive until I am discovered? Or do I get a day job and only play on weekends or when my band is booked for shows. Most local musicians choose the later.
The local music scene is blessed with many great musicians scattered throughout the city playing solo acoustic shows nightly to make a living and refusing to get a day job. They are playing in the background of your favorite bar, pub, and restaurant. For these music gladiators, they have made it. Not to the big stage or on the local radio station, but they are doing what they love and paying their bills and not working a job punching a time clock. So, I salute those creative artists and their craft. They are courageous and thank God they are there to help the rest of us unwind, relax and smile because we are not at work. Give them a listen and maybe a donation in the tip jar as a salute to them and their craft, they earn it every night.
Melissa Crispo’s Solo Set List:
1.) Take it Easy (Eagles)
2.) You’re So Vain (Carly Simon)
3.) Ironic (Alanis Morissette)
4.) How Crazy (Melissa Crispo)
5.) Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
6.) Demons (Melissa Crispo on Piano and unreleased)
7.) Radioactive (Imagine Dragons)
Melissa Crispo With Melody Kiser:
8.) Collide (Howey Day)
9.) All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix)
10.) Not Me (Melissa Crispo)
11.) Sweet Dreams (Melissa Crispo)
12.) Running in Circles (Melissa Crispo)
13.) Tomboy (Melissa Crispo)
14.) You’re Gone (Melissa Crispo, piano)
15.) Take Back Your Power (Melissa Crispo, piano)
16.) Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
17.) Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
18.) Sweet Child O Mine (Guns N Roses)
19.) What’s Up (4 Non Blondes)
20.) Blister In The Sun (Violent Femmes)