Brendan James @ Berklee’s Cafe 939

Earlier this semester I attended my first Cafe 939 show, and WOW! Was I impressed! While I had been inside the Red Room at Cafe 939 to hear several guest artists to speak to my ACI class, I had never attended a concert to hear the acoustics of the room and the vibe of the venue. And I can confidently say that it’s the finest small-medium venue I’ve ever been to – just intimate enough to cultivate a sense of chemistry between the artists and the audience but also large enough and technologically outfitted to keep the energy level high. But enough about the venue – on to the music!

Berklee alum Will Knox @ Cafe 939

Will Knox performed solo to open the evening. Being that he was a Berklee alumnus, I already liked Will, but his fantastic English accent and his catchy songwriting certainly helped too! Immediately I was struck by how well he self-accompaniment himself on guitar, as the songs never felt lacking in energy, rhythm, or substance. Lyrically, Will’s songs ranged from incredibly serious, like “Immigrant Hands” that ponders the lives and struggles of immigrants coming to Ellis Island, to light-hearted angst, like in his song “I’m Going to Kill You In Your Sleep” about wishing harm on his former, and terrible, New York City roommate. Of course, he performed many songs that were somewhere in between silly and serious, but always well-crafted and passionate. Here’s an example from his newest EP Lexicon – Ice Capades.

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