While I didn't make it out to many shows this year, mysterious special guest star The Paper sure did. I'm proud to highlight the ten shows of 2016 that made his list of favorite shows.
Not that I would turn down free music, I was sold instantly when Chargaux tagged their performance at NextNow Fest in the program guide with #BlackGirlMagic. A portmanteau of Charly and Margaux, the duo from New York comprises of violin and viola respectively. Yep, read that again. I remember noticing that one of the violins was significantly bigger than the other. Upon examination, I noticed it sounded different as well! Two idle instruments alone do not make a marvelous combination, however. Beneath the dazzling lights at Kay Theatre, they shone brighter with each successive bow stroke and pizzicato pluck. I still remember the tingly sensation of blood rushing to my cheeks which happens whenever I am awestruck.
That said, the music wasn't the key reason they were so breathtaking even if fusing strings with hip hop has been a weakness of mine since Original Pirate Material. The rapport between the two is not unlike an amalgam of a chemical reaction. The witty manner in which they banter with each other easily reveals a partnership that no amount of rehearsing could replicate. They were two entirely distinctive personalities bonded intimately into a greater element. Watching the process catalyze made the performance such a joy to witness. Actually, now that I have the leisure to reflect, their interaction is the definition of a magnificent performance.
As if the music and performance were not amazing enough, their ability to connect with the audience is beyond charming. It's typical for people to barf at unsolicited advice yet in between the G string [of the violin] and college loans, I never felt patronized in the slightest. Sarcasm remains the quickest way to my heart, so when Charly introduced herself as Travis with a perfectly straight face much to Margaux's chagrin, she became my favorite. She also left us a gem towards the end of the set. She proudly proclaimed herself a genius as though it was the most natural statement to make, then proceeded to tell the audience that, they too, should consider themselves geniuses.
This has been a great year of live music. After 120 shows and over 430 bands, I reflect upon my top ten even though top 50 would have been much easier.
[words and photo of Chargaux by The Paper]