March 10, 2011

Freedy Johnston - Treehouse Concerts - February 19, 2011

A Nice Guy With a Bad Reputation

In what was one of the most intimate concert experiences of my life, Freedy Johnston played in my living room.  Well, it wasn't my living room - rather it was that of Pete and Anne (you can check out our prior post on the Tree House in Takoma Park for more info on the venue). They invited 50 or so friends, neighbors, writers and strangers into their home for a one-night-only performance by 90's troubadour, Freedy Johnston.

The music, to start, was as warm as the environment (as you can imagine with 50+ people in a living room).  Mr. Johnston was unassuming, full of quirk and down to earth, shaking the hands and listening to the stories of fans after the show.  He's not likely to make a huge mainstream re-entry, but if he plays a place near you, check him out and support his work.  He did a few covers (Matthew Sweet & Jimmy Webb), a few new songs and his hit (Bad Reputation).

The venue itself however was somewhat of a sociological study.  We entered feeling anxious, like going to a party where you don't know anyone.  It became clear almost immediately that the majority of the people there were friends and neighbors of our gracious hosts, and then it became clear who wasn't (us).  Not that people weren't friendly, but even a somewhat welcoming environment can feel artificial if 90% of the people there already know each other.

For Freedy, the hosts had to turn away regular attendees in favor of strangers, and for the next show with Jill Sobule (of "kissed a girl" fame) and John Doe (of famed punk band X), the Tree House is sold out and maintaining a waiting list.

I ultimately left glad to have had the experience, but wondering, "what's the difference between this and private party?"  Even now, still don't really know.

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