Ashworth and Slocum give mediocre performance
Sam Ashworth pleased the crowd with his heartfelt lyrics as he and Matt Slocum perform at the Cave Cafe on Tuesday.
Matt Slocum formally from Sixpence None the Richer co-wrote Ashworth's new album.
Despite travel difficulties, Sam Ashworth and Matt Slocum came together in the Commons Cave Café Tuesday night to entertain Calvin’s music lovers free of charge.
Ashworth, son of Charlie Peacock — an influential producer in the CCM music industry — had his first personal exposure to the music scene when his song, “I Won’t Stay Long” was recorded by Sixpence None the Richer.
Slocum, the genius behind the intricate sounds of Sixpence None the Richer, has joined forces with Ashworth on his new album, “Gonna Get it Wrong.”
The two focus on dreamy folk-rock melodies combined with reflective and heartfelt lyrics, using Ashworth’s worthy ideas alongside Slocum’s undeniable talent.
Ashworth and Slocum first came together when Ashworth’s sister gave Slocum a demo of his work and it was used on one of Sixpence None the Richer’s albums.
The relationship began to flourish after the breakup of Sixpence. The two musicians currently play together in the band Astronaut Pushers and continue to write songs together.
After a cancelled conversation with the two artists and a 15-minute delay due to flight difficulties, the two took the stage Tuesday night and seemed to please the small yet attentive audience.
The concert revolved around the new album with almost complete focus on Ashworth and his new exposure to the solo scene.
Slocum acted more as a filler, taking a step down from his previous time in the spotlight with Sixpence, allowing his “apprentice” to take time to shine.
Ashworth took no time in getting started and began to woo the crowd with a few of his folk-like ballads.
The combination of Ashworth’s basic melody and Slocum’s ethereal guitar riffs created a pleasing yet simple sound that left room for the lyrics to be heard and contemplated.
The songs generally focused on the heartfelt lyrics and, despite being hard to hear at times, lived up to their recommendation by Ken Hefner.
Although showing reasonable talent in song writing as well as guitar playing, Ashworth’s voice left much to be desired.
Although keeping in track with his dreamy feel, Ashworth’s boyish and slightly breathy tone distracted from the meaningful lyrics and intricate guitar riffs played by Slocum.
However, despite the slightly below average voice quality, Ashworth generally kept in tune despite the difficult quality of the vocal lines. His falsetto also proved that his talent exceeds many singers of today.
Slocum occasionally added vocal harmonies into the mix. His strong vocals blended into Ashworth’s breathy tone and created a contrast more pleasing to the ear than Ashworth’s straight vocals.
Slocum’s artful guitar riffs gave the music a Sixpence None the Richer feel without showing an overpowering influence.
Throughout the show, the two musicians showed artistic variations within the songs, combining folk with rock, emo ballads with Martin Sexton-like vocals and tight harmonies with eighth note chord strumming.
Despite their musical quality, their stage presence left much to be desired.
Ashworth constantly interrupted the artsy feel in between songs with awkward attempts at jokes and continuous apologies for the slight delay in the set. He seemed to bask in his relatively newfound stardom.
Slocum never talked directly into the microphone, seemingly playing the part of a mute sidekick despite their mutual musical participation in the show.
Ashworth awkwardly attempted to show emotion throughout the set. He gave the appearance of a little boy imitating his favorite rock star in the bathroom mirror. This did very little to keep the audience engaged.
Slocum constantly maintained indifference throughout the set and looked like he would rather be in bed than playing the set. He rarely looked at the audience and only occasionally looked involved in the music.
The music continued to get better as the set went on. Ashworth became more comfortable both with the audience and with his voice.
Although maintaining a breathy feel, Ashworth’s growth in confidence gave his tone and extra boost and he became much more pleasing to listen to.
Despite slightly flat guitars, awkward pauses between songs and relatively normal vocals, Ashworth and Slocum perfected the approaching autumn mood with their mellow, laidback and dreamy melodies.
With coffee and tea readily available from the Cave Café, the two musicians pleased the Tuesday-night audience and kept them interested enough to engage in the rescheduled conversation after the show.