Photos and Writing by Jim Collins
In researching the term ‘artisanal’, I found that it refers to something made of limited quantity yet very high quality. Hence it seems we have artisan everything these days. Well, the term is definitely an accurate description of what you get when you see the band The Artisanals. Few bands can match their level of great music and stage show. On an abbreviated tour right now, The Artisanals made a stop in Charleston to play a midnight show at The Royal American on Saturday. Yes…Saturday! The same day as the incredible High Water Festival was happening in town. But for fans in search of high quality music, there was no shortage even after the festival concluded that night thanks to Johnny Delaware and the guys.
Johnny along with guitarist Clay Houle, keyboardist Ian Klin, bassist Eric Mixon, and drummer Nick Recio are true artisans of the music world. Recently, Johnny has been helping out an old friend, Justin Osborne, by playing guitar with his group, Susto on their tour. With the first opportunity however, Johnny got The Artisanals together to hit the road and get in a few shows. Despite this being an abbreviated tour and not having a lot of prep time, the guys sounded phenomenal. Eric and Nick were providing super tight, driving rhythms with Clay jumping in shredding notes like lightning on his beautifully toned Stratocaster. Add to that mesmerizing runs on the keys by Ian and you would find yourself immersed and lost in the moment. Of course with Johnny at the front of things guiding the audience, you have to know the show was power packed. The intimate venue was rocking hard for the entire evening. The packed crowd was full of friends, fans, and local folks. Adding to the fun was what appeared to be a wedding party that showed up and numerous festival goers still wanting more that arrived by several shuttles and Ubers.
And all those fans would not be disappointed. The high energy set list covered just about all the songs from the bands self-titled debut album and their most recent release, Zia. Favorites such as Primitive Style, Roll With It, Country Roads Town, Always Taken Care Of, and Violet Light were delivered in what can only be described as an “Artisanal” way. Everyone looked exhausted at the end. Jumping in time with the music, fist pumping, screaming, cheering, and singing along were the order of the night for anyone that attended. After about 90 minutes of jamming, the band ended the show with their hit everyone loves: Angel 42. The entire venue joined in and The Artisanals concluded what was one incredible night. Musicianship, showmanship, and craftmanship was on full display the whole time. I am sure the High Water Festival had some awesome acts and shows that day but what took place at The Royal American was an event that everyone there should remember. If anyone wasn’t a fan before the show, they were afterwards. A heartfelt “Thank You” goes out to The Artisanals for putting so much of themselves into that night. Be sure to watch for them on tour and give them a listen if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed!
And don’t forget…Support Local Music.