June 13, 2014 Duncan Sheik live at YMCA Boluton Center For The Performing Arts Bay Shore, NY 6-12-14
During the late 1990’s a list of noteworthy and talented singer-songwriters came to fame on mainstream pop-rock radio. One of the names which may come to many’s mind is Duncan Sheik. Growing up a musician and performing with countless artists, Sheik’s big solo break came in 1996 with his self-titled album which featured the Grammy Award winning track “Barely Breathing”. Launching a long career of seven studio albums, Sheik continues to perform live and craft new music year after year. On Thursday June 12th, Sheik made an appearance at the artist friendly YMCA Boluton Center For The Performing Arts in Bay Shore, NY.
Originally from Montclair, NJ Sheik has made it a habit to stop on Long Island regularly, building a loyal following that come out to see the artist perform each time around. Providing a relaxing atmosphere for a quaint Boluton Center, this was the perfect unwinding process for many after a long work week. Coming out calm and collected, Sheik played through a set of his well-crafted songs. Combing the past with the present Sheik played older songs with new pieces on his soon to be released album. It was a nice blend of easy going acoustic based music. Accompanied by a drummer and a pianist, who also played the glockenspiel, Sheik treated the evening like a VHI storytellers explaining how songs came to be. Included in the set was a cover of version of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped”. Adding his own touch to the new wave classic, Sheik’s voice bled through each word sung with beauty and clarity. Delighting the room the song was followed by newer tracks such as “Lay Down Your Weapons”. Clearly an artistic expression about the ever touchy topical of gun control, Sheik was openly honest and unafraid to express his political views. Conversing with the audience between songs on his beliefs, while not coming across preaching, his words conveyed sincerity.
Being such an intimate experience already, Sheik continued to capture the moment with tracks like “Half-Life” off his 2002 album Daylight. Continuing to speak with members of the audience in between songs, making jokes and keeping the mood light, Sheik showed a colorful personality. Coming across as a performer who cares about his audience, as much as the music itself, he struck a chord with each person in the room. Sharing in the enthusiasm fans shouted out their favorite song requests of Sheik’s catalog, and in the hour long set he answered the calls on several occasions. Switching things up a bit, Sheik put down the acoustic guitar at one point and turned up the volume for a more rock feel on a newer song “Distant Lovers”. Keeping the audience’s attention with more personal conversation, Sheik introduced “This is Not an Exit”; a song he wrote for his new stage show based on the novel American Psycho. Performing the song with excitement it was easy to see Sheik’s glowing love for the theater. Perhaps those unaware of his contributions to the scene will now be inspired to check out his music composed for American Psycho.
At this point in the evening everyone was completely relaxed and into the groove of the music. Sheik concluded the set with a surprising performance of his breakout radio hit “Barely Breathing” and a mesmerizing cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”. Smiling and applauding the audience bid Sheik farewell from the stage. This was only a brief goodbye though because moments later everyone gathered upstairs in the Higbie Lounge for a meet and greet with the singer to take photos, purchase music, and exchange personal conversation. Overall the evening was a mellow yet stimulating listening experience dedicated fans dream of. It is nice to see talented musicians such as Sheik continue to create music and perform at such intimate venues as YMCA Boluton Center For The Performing Arts.Photo credit : Charles Eames