Tag Archive for Cactus Cafe

2/19/12…Over The Rhine @ Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

Over The Rhine is a couple from Ohio that I discovered through one of my friends on Last.fm a few years ago.  I had never heard of them, but he RAVED about them so much and then linked me to their album, The Trumpet Child.  He was dead on.  They were wonderful.  I then proceeded to pass this album on to my dad, who also immediately fell for them.  Karin’s voice is pretty irresistible.  I had never seen them play before but my parents did have the pleasure of seeing them in Chicago.  Over The Rhine came to Austin a couple of years ago; my dad had told me about the show and encouraged me to go, but I couldn’t make it for whatever reason.  So this time when he saw they would be playing, he went ahead and purchased tickets for all three of us. I wasn’t mad. ;p  I was curious to see how Cactus Cafe would be laid out because the last time I was there, they had tables set up and random chairs, but that was a smaller performance.  Over The Rhine is a national act and there were definitely more people there.  In fact, since it was a general admission show the line was already forming to enter when we got there at around 6:00 pm.  I’m glad we did get there early because when doors opened at 7:00, we were able to get seats right in front of the stage.  There were no tables tonight, just rows of chairs.  It’s such a great venue too.  It’s really not big and the sound is really great.  So an acoustic performance of this type is just perfect in this more intimate setting.  Karin & Linford (OTR) walked on stage just after 7:30.  They immediately started playing, he on keyboard and she on acoustic guitar.  Neither of them said anything to the audience until after the second song.  But once they did get going with the audience, it was great.  They were both pretty funny and had great stories leading into each song.  They obviously have an amazing rapport onstage (they’re married).  The chemistry between them is undeniable.  But even more apparent is their musicianship and complete love for what they do.  I became more electrified with every song they performed.  They veered from smoky jazz inflected tunes, to more bluesy rock, to country-tinged, to straight up pop.  They are not afraid to try on any type of music, which is just part of what makes them so fantastic.  They are both such wonderful musicians.  Linford roamed from the keyboards to the acoustic guitar and back to keyboards,  also adding wonderful harmonies under Karin’s soulful vocals.  Karin is the main vocalist with the kind of voice that drips like honey and cuts into your soul.  She gave me the chills.  She also busted out her skills on the acoustic guitar and even played the bells.  The two together are a killer combination.  The audience was completely behind them.  We were all very much invested in this show.  In fact, when it came time to end the set, we did not want them to go.  With excessive clapping and hootin’ & hollerin’, we got them to come back out for a two song encore that did not disappoint.  Over The Rhine is not an act that the general public necessarily knows about…but they should!!  They are beyond talented.  Then again, maybe that’s better for me.  I love having them as my little secret.

11/11/09…Anais Mitchell @ Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

This joint is literally one room in the UT Commons Building.  It took me a minute to realize this and I drove down Guadalupe past the address.  Oh well, at least I found it.  I came to see Anais Mitchell tonight.  This is a CASH ONLY spot so leave the plastic at home.  It’s a fairly intimate room with small round tables set up in front of the stage.  There were a smattering of solo chairs lined up along one wall, in case of overflow.  There is a nice round stage for the artist with a beautiful red velvet drapery backdrop.  It almost felt like I was in an old school coffee-house, although they do sell beer & alcohol here.  There was a decent turn-out.  By her second set, the place was full.  There is an early start time for artists here…8:30 pm.  The cover charge is pretty high compared to what I’ve seen charged at other places.  I only paid $10 tonight, but I know they have charged $15 for several other shows.