A lone figure stands on a stage. You're close enough to see the sweat forming on his brow and the veins in his neck pulsating as the lyrics of his songs go from highs to lows. As you watch his fingers tumble across the guitar strings, you begin to feel something. Maybe it's excitement. Maybe it's curiosity. Or maybe it's intimacy--that feeling of connection and familiarity that provides literal and figurative warmth.
Live music in small settings can summon a sense of closeness that overblown arena shows can't touch. But even the boy-and-his-guitar concerts at tiny clubs can be overpowered by a haze of cigarette smoke or the cha-ching of the bar's cash register. So when Ally David, yoga instructor and owner of Bend Studio, decided to offer smoke-free acoustic shows at her yoga studio, it seemed like a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.
David's venture into the business of booking artists began simply enough: with a love for music and a couple of friends who just happened to be in the music biz. The two friends, Austin musicians Guy Forsyth and Ian Moore, agreed to do shows at the studio, and through mostly word-of-mouth, David says, the events were a success. Thus was born the Intimate Evening Concert Series, which begins this week with a performance by Austin singer-songwriter Bob Schneider, an energetic rocker who has reached somewhat of a godlike status in his hometown and has a rather respectable national following as well.
With just 75 tickets available for each show (Schneider's Tuesday performance sold out in about a week and a half), these Intimate Evenings are just that: small, casual, comfortable. And David plans to keep it that way. "We could pack people in there," she says, "but that would kind of defeat the purpose. It's supposed to be intimate...You're right there in the artist's face--it's awesome."
The symbiosis of listening to music in a yoga environment is not lost on David, either. The therapeutic, feel-good benefits that both can bring to an individual came into play when she created this series. "It's a good marriage," she says. "I think the artists we're trying to bring in have a lot to say in their music. Enlightenment--if you want to call it that--doesn't just come from yoga."
Upcoming shows include Dan Dyer on December 4 and Patrice Pike on February 19. Moore and Forsyth make repeat appearances on December 30 and January 23, respectively. And there are other perks, too. Complimentary chair massages are available at every show (doors open early for this free treat), and a local tea vendor shows up occasionally. The audience also gets a free pass for a yoga class, and they can even bring their own wine and beer.
Good lineup, unique atmosphere, great gimmes. Sounds like David has a knack for drawing a crowd. Could she abandon her first calling to make her break in the music industry? "No way," she says. "I like yoga too much."