Oct
06
2004

  Jen Chapin

Jen Chapin
On Saturday while Terry & I were strolling downtown, he noticed that Jen Chapin would be in town on Monday night. We got tix on the spot. I'd heard her at the Bitter End (or somewhere in the Village) and Terry heard her several times before we got together. Terry actually has been in her apartment, although she wasn't there at the time. He went with Matt Stone to her party, but before they arrived she'd decided to go out somewhere with some of her friends, but the party continued without her. He didn't mention that to her when they chatted between sets. She was much better than she used to be (it's been a few years since we last heard her), and I'd highly recommend her new album, Linger, if you like very laid-back jazzy songs. Her voice reminds me slightly of Shannon Worrell, and the genre of music is the same, but their themes are different.

Gravity Lounge
Last night was my first time in Gravity Lounge, and it was a pleasant venue. Although there really wasn't anyone in the audience younger than, well, us. It was pretty much a tiny sliver of the usual downtown-artsy crowd, the same crowd that has held court for at least seven years now, maybe longer but I wasn't around to witness further back. I guess we're the target demographic of the club; I was pleasantly surprised that they had reasonably comfortable chairs, there was plenty of room to get a seat with a good view, and they had quite a variety of wines by the glass. They had wine/cheese plates and other similar snacks as their "bar food", but I didn't try any.
I saw two single men at the start of the show, one wearing really faded tie-day t-shirt w/oversized worn denim overalls, and the other jeans, sneakers, and some kind of logo t-shirt. The women were either in some hippie hemp getup (well, except for the older lady (58?) in a denim romper, gray hair in pigtails tied with fabric, and a faded now-pink baseball cap which was not so much hippie as weird) or basic after-work garb. I guess in Charlottesville a club can't really get away with a velvet rope and a dress code.

There were only about 15 people in the audience at the end of the show (it was a school-night, after all), and I wondered about the life Jen is pursuing for herself. She has opened for Bruce Hornsby, Aimee Mann, and Smokey Robinson, and while not U2 or anything at least most people have heard of them. And here she's brought her band to Charlottesville, to play for a quite intimate crowd. Terry pays attention to "Music" (yes, with a capital "M") and he said that the supporting band members all had chops. So we wonder why they're on board. But Jen is just as good as Norah Jones; it's just a matter of timing and luck and she could be "the next Norah Jones" since due to timing and luck she missed out on having Norah be "the next Jen Chapin". And isn't it awfully hard to predict just who exactly is going to hit the big time before the fact? So I suppose band members just have to go with their gut, find a band they enjoy playing with, and just ride it out.