Saturday, September 14, 2019

ERIN BOWMAN - Apartment 101 U.S. Tour Review Seattle, WA 9/12/19

Erin Bowman
Apartment 101 Tour

Easy Street Records
Seattle, WA

(All Photos - Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)


As most of you know out there, Eclectic Arts is a passion project for me. I am forever grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me over the years. When things aren't going well in the day-to-day part of my life, Eclectic Arts has been the pick me up I've needed from time to time. Thursday night was one of those times.

I wasn't sure I wanted to make the journey to West Seattle on a Thursday to cover a new artist (well new to me). Things were stressful during the day this past week for reasons I won't mention here so I was initially going to pass on this opportunity. There were other media opportunities the same night that I was considering as well.

But I went back and listened to a clip of Erin Bowman singing. My instinct has rarely been wrong when it comes to new musical artists. I used to enjoy discovering new music when I was a teenager and turning my friends on to the latest underground band, etc. So, after listening to one of her songs from her forthcoming EP, "Apartment 101", I said screw it - let's go out to Easy Street Records on Thursday and cover the show.

This was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Erin Bowman (from New Jersey but based out of L.A.) was doing a grass roots campaign to promote her upcoming EP. She was playing acoustic sets at independent records stores to get the word out and to have that person-to-person connection with the audience.

I ventured out on I-5 heading south - knowing full well the traffic would be typical Seattle at that afternoon time - bad. Once I got over the West Seattle Bridge I stopped into one of my old haunts (Skylark Cafe') before heading over to Easy Street Records on California Ave.

I knew about Easy Street Records - walked by it a few times - but had never actually been inside the store. I arrived around 6pm while sound check was going on. Soon thereafter I conducted a video interview with Erin inside the store. A few customers came in (we were upstairs) and oblivious to the interview going on - at least initially. Look for the interview at the end of this review.

Erin was warm and personable. She came across as a woman that was excited to forge a new musical path with this upcoming EP - a bit of a left turn from her previous music that got her quite a bit of attention a few years back.

After the interview we took a few photos downstairs on the main floor and then she got ready for the show while I went outside to get some air.

A little after 7pm, Erin introduced herself and played an eight song set for a crowd inside the store and curious onlookers on the outside (there was a garage style door that was opened up for people to hear and see the performance from the sidewalk).

Armed with just a Martin acoustic and her voice, Erin played many songs off her EP. I can honestly say that from the first song, Erin bared her soul for all to see. It reminded me of something from a movie where all of a sudden - a fully lit room goes completely dark - with only a single spotlight on the performer. Sort of like the world stopped. Yeah, she was that good from the first song. The singles like, “Your Mother” and “Something To Say” sounded mature and carefully introspective. Many people stopped on the sidewalk to take a listen, too.

I started going to concerts when I was nine years old. I can't count how many shows I've been to as a fan and now as media. Some have been good, others have been great, and a few have been disappointing. But every now and then I get to experience a show where it just affects me. Deeply. It lingers for days after and it really makes me reevaluate my own interests and my own life. This was one of those shows.

Erin's voice swings between singer songwriter, a modern Alanis Morissette, and a few other influences. There was even a little bit of Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt in one of the songs – not Erin’s voice but in the song structure and melody. She accompanies herself well on guitar and I felt like I was watching someone tell a story, in some cases a painful personal story, through well-written songs.

For the artists out there (not just musicians), putting your life experiences into a song is one thing. Performing it in front of strangers is another. I've always likened it to having your skin completely removed from your body - so every little thing affects you. A slight breeze, someone brushes by you, etc. It hurts. It's painful. And it takes a lot of courage to do so.

The upside is it can be cathartic. It can help you heal those wounds and become stronger because of it. But it's still a scary process to perform songs that are so personal to you.

Erin put herself out there on Thursday night. Through her songs, she connected with the audience, and forced us to listen. That's a rarity, folks. "How raw do you go with your emotions" is what I used to always say with my writing. It can't be half measures or even almost full measures. It must be one hundred percent. All the time. Every time. Otherwise it misses the mark.

I was one of the fortunate ones. I got to witness an artist in an intimate setting that is ready for bigger things. And I don't mean in a mainstream way. If Erin stays on the path she is forging, the audience will come to her. She will accomplish her musical goals on her own terms. And that is something to be respected and admired.

And to think I was this close to not going.

I'm so glad I did. Thank you Erin for making such an impact on me - on a day/week that I really needed it.

You read it here - remember the name Erin Bowman - you will absolutely be hearing from this talented artist again.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
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Special Thanks: Sarah for the invite - thank you for the opportunity!

Special Thanks: John for being friendly and professional. Everything went off without a hitch. Thank you!

Special Thanks: Erin for being an amazing talent and person. All the very best. Hope to see you back in Seattle soon!








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