Hotel Café Tour Part One: Meiko

When Cary Brothers began mulling around ideas for taking the regulars players of the Hotel Café on the road, the concept he has in mind was that of a group of friends who act more like family piling into a bus and playing music in a way that it seems less like a concert, and more like a hang out. What he could not anticipate was how successful his Hotel Café Tour would actually become. The tour, now in its fourth season, has become a steadfast stomping ground for the music scene’s premier singer-songwriters to stumble onto the exposure needed to catch a glimpse of the national spotlight. In fact, many of the Hotel Café Tour alumni have found success at the hands of this road show.

The tour itself is set up in a way that is unique and cutting edge. Each band plays two sets of fifteen minutes each. This allows for roughly 3 songs per set. Each group shares a house band to allow the exclusion of set ups and tear downs. The bands also assist each other, joining each other on stage to assist with backing vocals and other instruments. It’s pretty relaxed and comfortable, allowing for the feeling that these artists are just hanging out with you in your living room, singing for fun.

I caught this year’s crop of players in a sold out show at the Record Bar in Kansas City. Progressively, I’ll run through the lineup, giving you my opinion and reflections of each, in this five part series.

Part one – Meiko

Meiko‘s journey has been nothing but hard work and elbow grease. She has been playing for anyone who would listen since the age of eight. It turns out that one of those people listening happened to be Paste Magazine editor
Josh Jackson, who instantly declared Meiko a “big success story” waiting to happen. In the months following that prediction, Meiko found her way onto L.A. radio and into the hearts of the Hotel Café regulars. To date, her approachable personality and bold, potty-mouth style of humor has left her a fan favorite at the cafe.

Tonight would turn out no differently. Before spilling a single note, Meiko held the Record Bar in the palm of her hand by simply asking one question; “Is this an all ages show, or can I say words like “fuck” and “shit?”” And with that, she becomes that girl you know you should run away from, yet want to run away with.

Oh, and don’t forget that she sings, too! Her music with combines flawlessly with her full on voice, which she uses to woo you with fluffy yet meaningful lines like, “Girls need attention and boys need us / So let’s make everyone glad,” from her song “Reasons To Love You.” Think Kimya Dawson with serious lyrics and a trained voice.

Her storytelling shines on tunes like “Under My Bed,” a song surrounding her breakup with a boyfriend of four years. She discusses the process of collecting her things as she prepares to move out of his house. As she packs, she stumbles across a photo album that she didn’t really want to take, but didn’t want the next girlfriend to burn. So, as she states in the lyrics, she “Has nothing to show for / Except pictures I posed for / Which i keep in a box under my bed.” The song remains cute without giving the listener a toothache.

Meiko however, takes a completely different approach to closing her second set, opting to end with a song featuring the words “cock,” “tits” and “vaginal infection.” To set up the song, Meiko confesses to the Record Bar crowd that she and the guys were sitting on the bus early in the day, discussing Ingrid Michaelson‘s breasts. Meiko, who is less endowed in the breast area than Ingrid, asked the guys, “Just how important are breasts?”

The guys, being guys, of course responded, “REALLY IMPORTANT! I LOVE BREASTS!”

Meiko muttered, “Oh! Cool. Perfect,” in a sarcastic and disappointed voice. She went on to say, “So, because of this I want to dedicate my hooters song to Cary Brothers, who loves big boobs! Happy Birthday, asshole.”

Seriously though, with spunk and a voice that sells itself, Meiko is nothing but a good time. You can stream her album on her webpage, or shoot her a message on her myspace.

Up Next: Cary Brothers

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One Response

  1. […] Ingrid Michaelson: website | myspace | interview with | live review Stand Up To Cancer: website Hotel Café Tour: website | review […]

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