Should you get caught within the rain in San Francisco, Cafe du Nord is the place to take cowl. This historic venue within the metropolis dates again 100 years – and might solely seat round 350 individuals, making it the proper place to carry an intimate live performance. On December sixth, a crowd at Café du Nord fortunately welcomed Strawberry Man to the comfortable house.
Alex Stephens, identified by his stage title Strawberry Man, has been rigorously crafting indie pop music since 2018. Previously the keyboardist for house rock band The Orielles, the Welsh musician has been steadily making a reputation for himself, honing his solo musical model through the years.
His sold-out San Francisco live performance felt like a mild, sweeping experience by the pasture, on the theme of his Impressionist cowl artwork. It takes a particular musician to have the ability to lead so quietly: Strawberry Man’s efficiency was by no means abrupt or overpowering, but it carried a particular enchantment that may solely be described as magical.
Sitting at his piano, his signature blond hair seen above the tops of heads, Stevens was the epitome of calm. The pre-recorded strings bled together with his easy however wealthy voice, and the rotating woodwinds chirped right here and there. The swelling strings of “I will Be There” instilled poignant consolation, and for songs like “When the Morning Comes” and “Birch Tree,” his soothing vocals meandered by stately, mild piano with sweetness and dedication. His viewers listened with childlike surprise.
Easy and clear, the one vital prop of the modest theater was a pink neon signal studying “Cafe du Nord.” Beneath the flashing crimson, Stephens was utterly transfixed—at occasions, the place was so quiet that the viewers might hear the bartender mixing drinks.
The one intermittent distraction to Stevens’ stellar efficiency got here from the viewers, which was fairly shocking at occasions, particularly for a bed room pop present. Except for some determined pleas to sing “Comfortable Birthday,” there was a repeated heartfelt request for a sweat towel that resurfaced. “San Francisco has essentially the most flirtatious crowd ever,” Stevens famous fortunately however virtually sheepishly.
In addition to the intermittent flirting and teasing, Stephens shared tales and made small discuss together with his engaged viewers. His integral fiddle labored nicely to attach the time between songs, giving the live performance extra persona. Amid the viewers’s laughter and amazement, he recalled the time a person supplied him a $100 invoice to cease enjoying the piano; “It is going to take greater than $100 to cease me,” Stephen joked to supportive cheers.
Whereas Strawberry Man’s recorded songs seize a quiet whimsy, his dwell efficiency memorably enhanced that magic. With function (and maybe some as-yet-unreleased songs), he alternated between enjoyable and beauty naturally, channeling the vibes for his small however loyal viewers at Café du Nord.
He will get misplaced within the imaginative instrumentals of “As We Bloom” and “Intermission,” solely to seek out himself in “What Would I Do?” and “Solar Outdoors My Window,” Stephens knew he had the total consideration of each viewers member, and was intent on cultivating pure magic.
After waltzing to fan-favorite “Birch Tree,” his newest enchanting work is none apart from “Mrs Magic,” his hottest single that has gained reputation on TikTok because of its exceptional catchiness. At first of a particular shimmering piano melody, telephones appeared like fireflies within the crowd; Everybody swayed with Stephens’ thrilling world, his vocals highly effective and nourishing, and he ended the night with a particular, divine magnetism.
Though his music has been described as minimalist, the Strawberry Man live performance in San Francisco sounded hardcore and excessive in scope. As his energetic artwork ebbed and flowed all through Café Du Nord, the musician transported his viewers away to a nostalgia they did not even know they craved.