The Mint showcased a variety of talent on its June 21 bill from pop-influenced singer-songwriters to hard rocking folk quartets. There was something for everyone on a busy night. The venue itself is very intimate with an up close and personal stage where patrons could enjoy a variety of food and drinks mere feet away from live performances.
Singer-songwriter Emily James, originally from New York, opened the night by playing songs from her latest EP as well as some to be featured on an upcoming release. As she started singing her first song, it was apparent early on that her voice is the driving force behind her music. Along with bold lyrics and stellar performances on both guitar and keys, she used all her talents as she shared stories stemming from personal places in her life including the tale of “A Boy in Memphis” (which may or may not be based on a true story). Emily is a well-rounded musician and her voice alone is enough to get hooked on with striking similarities to the likes of Adele. She put on a good set that was well received by a full bar by the time she was finished. We look forward to seeing her again on stage and in the meantime, we have the recently released and tender “Emily James – EP” to listen to, which she collaborated with Grammy award winning producer Jacquire King and producer Ian Fitchuk.
Following up was the Bay area-native James Taugher, a Motown, funk extraordinaire who brought a full band to stage to rock out. The five-piece was a solid group that excelled with soaring guitar solos, groovy keys, eclectic drums and sure-fire basslines. James is very comfortable on stage as he was dancing and showing off his Hip-Hop inspired vocals that are tinged with soul. At one point, he split the venue down the middle and got one half of the packed venue to sing the first part of the catchy chorus and the other half to finish it off. His way with crowds could only have been refined through years of performances, and on this last date of his band’s tour, everyone was in for a treat. James’ energy was contagious as it flowed from himself to his bandmates and ultimately to the audience. It was a high-octane set that went far above all lofty expectations.
Folk indie rock band Gestures & Sounds took stage with the anthemic “Coach” that showed everyone what they were capable of. The mostly-Wisconsin band had moments of introspection followed immediately after by moments of rocking out, a combination not often seen by bands not sporting an electric guitar. With an acoustic guitar, melodic keys, and an intense rhythm section (not to mention the occasional harmonica), Gestures & Sounds managed to be louder and larger than the sum of their parts. Especially impressive was the drumming performance, as it took songs that would perhaps be considered tame in nature to the next level. The atmosphere at The Mint was lively and welcomed Gestures & Sounds, who returned the appreciation by putting on a solid set that shows what a group of guys who love for music can do.
Overall, the night was a fun time to be had by all. Attendees who stayed longer had the opportunity to enjoy Cult of Positivity and Nicholas Braun, establishing once again that The Mint is the go-to place for experiencing young, upcoming talent.