(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2020)
Every now and then I'll check out an up and coming artist that I know next to nothing about. I will go in as a blank slate for the most part and see how they come across on stage, how they sound, their online presence, etc.
Devon Baldwin caught my eye when I noticed she was going to play at The Funhouse in Seattle. Now, anyone that's been to the venue knows that it is on the other side of El Corazon - the big stage and the small stage. The venue used to be a standalone club mainstay of punk and alternative bands before closing its doors only to join the El Corazon building a few years back. While I know The Funhouse does book pop and singer songwriter type acts, it's more known for rock, sludge, metal, etc.
Since I have been to El Corazon more times than I can count, I wanted to see if they had booked anything on their side of the building. Yup - a big bill of metal bands. This meant the bleed through to The Funhouse side was going to be inevitable. I already knew this. Whether the folks that booked Devon Baldwin there knew remains to be seen. Let's just say there are other venues in the area that would have been better suited to her style of music.
In any event, Devon Baldwin played a 45-minute set of original music, with at least one cover by Train. Her voice is what stands out most to me. She has a voice that is layered in emotion. There is a smooth tonality to her voice that also makes it easy to listen to her sing multiple songs. She is a songwriter - a big plus in the industry these days. Sure, you can have others write material for you but when you can express yourself through your own songs, that's always a good thing.
She definitely has talent and has the image to match. In some cases, the image may be overshadowing the talent - but that's an easy fix. I would love to see her do more promotional pieces such as acoustic numbers at radio stations, etc. while on tour. Stripping the image away will show listeners just how talented she is as an artist.
I would love to see her return to Seattle albeit at a different venue. Based on her social media, she was hanging out in the Ballard area after her show - exactly where she should play next time. Connor Byrne Pub and The Sunset Tavern come to mind as venues more suited to her music and demographic. Barboza up on Capitol Hill also seems logical, as does the High Dive in Fremont. If an all ages venue was sought after - then The Vera Project would be a good place.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Devon Baldwin. She has the talent to go very far in this industry.