12/29/11…Kristen Smith @ B.D. Riley’s

B.D. Riley's

B.D. Riley’s

When I called to find out who the performer would be on this particular evening (it was listed only as “live music” on B.D. Riley’s website), the employee told me that it was Kristen Smith…a harpist.  “A harpist??” I balked.  He explained that it wasn’t typical harp music, that she played with a band, and that it was cool.  Well, I wasn’t totally convinced, but I penciled the show into my music calendar.  Maybe because I was already a bit skeptical, or maybe because the band started about 45 minutes late, I was not won over by this act.  Once Kristen was ready to start playing, she introduced herself (harpist and vocalist) and her two band mates (a guitarist and a drummer).  She went on to share that she would be doing covers of “pop” songs and songs that we had probably heard on the radio.  Hmmm…now I was even more suspicious.  She assured us that we would be audience to something new and different.  Well, I have to disagree.  While Kristen can sing and the harp sounded quite pretty with the songs, I found nothing new or different about the performance.  She stuck true to the original arrangements of the songs, so even with a harp in the mix, the songs didn’t become anything unique in her hands.  The other problem is that B.D. Riley’s is in the heart of 6th Street and it’s a sports bar.  It’s laid out like a typical sports bar with a big wraparound bar and TV’s all over the place, playing college football tonight.  I felt like the crowd was there for the sports, not so much for the music.  I understand that the type of crowd that 6th Street brings in warrants a cover band.  But, this particular cover band just didn’t seem to fit.  I read on Kristen’s website that she does weddings and private events.  I think that those types of audiences would respond better to her music.  I’ll be honest, I left halfway through her third song without hesitation.  Maybe if she tried being more original and actually played her own music, that would be more interesting to me.  But, hey, it’s only my opinion.  As for B.D. Riley’s, it’s seems like a nice enough spot.  There’s plenty of seating throughout the bar and there’s a kitchen so you can watch games, eat, drink and be merry.

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