Live Music Review //
Pocket Vinyl
October 10th, 2023
at The Telegraph, New London CT

Additional photos can be found here :::

At some point I started following Pocket Vinyl on Instagram.   Since all social media is spying on us, I began seeing their posts on Facebook and that was how I found out that not only did they create a graphic novel but they were going on tour to promote it and the first stop was to be in New London.    To the credit of New London, they keep pulling me in for shows in the best possible way even though I live about an hour away.

When I found out this show was at The Telegraph and looked up where that was, I also realized it's on Bank Street which is the main road I drive down before turning left onto Golden Street for shows at 33 Golden Street.  I've always thought of it as a "Main Street", but it is Bank Street and it's funny that it's so close to where I've been going these past few weeks any way.

Also, special shout out to The Telegraph in New London for hosting this.  It was my first time in there and as far as record store performances go it was very well done.  There were chairs set up around where Pocket Vinyl would be performing and so right away there was enough space to accommodate everyone and that's one of the best things a record store can have when hosting such an event.

On top of that, The Telegraph had cassettes from Mercy Choir and Mountain Movers as well as records from James Burke and Slyne and the Family Stoned for sale which just made it feel like a good local record shop as well.   This is definitely a record store I would recommend going out of your way to experience even if just for the experience of buying new music in physical formats.

Being that Pocket Vinyl makes music but this was also a book tour, I wasn't sure what to expect going in but it was all laid out for us nicely and the show had a great flow to it.    Eric Stevenson plays the piano and sings songs while Elizabeth Jancewicz paints live on stage during the music.   This, in and of itself, is an experience but also for this show, Stevenson told stories in between songs about what the graphic novel was about.   So this was part musical performance and part book tour, in the sense of authors talking about their books.

Sometimes my focus was on Eric Stevenson as he was singing but was playing at times with such passion it felt like he was abusing his keyboard.   At the same time, it wasn't easy to stop seeing what Elizabeth Jancewicz was painting.   What started as a blank canvas turned into something absolutely beautiful.  I thought there was a fish bowl at first, but that shape later turned into a cauldron.  Just seeing the painting at one point, turning away and then coming back and seeing the texturing on the leaves was something to behold.

The graphic novel is about Pocket Vinyl trying to play shows in all 50 states in less than 50 days.   See, to me, I think driving around the country might allow for that, but the most difficult part would be getting those non-continental states.  Also, they played three shows in one day on the East Coast and just lining up an afternoon show, an evening show and then an even later show all on the same day within that driving distance just feels overwhelming.  

I just love that as they both spoke about this they both had such confidence.  I wouldn't have even thought of attempting something such as this because it seems impossible, but to their credit they did it and for the most part they did it in the most positive way possible.   They did have some mental battles, but you really need to get out and hear about that or buy the book (but, preferably both) for yourself.  

At the end of the show, as people also bought graphic novels, t-shirts, records, etc. the painting which was being painted during the show went up for auction.   At first it was silent bidding but then it turned into a live auction.   I'm not saying that this is something you can just wake up and do tomorrow because Pocket Vinyl is rather established and has been doing this for years and years, but going out and painting live then having someone being able to take what they saw created home is a bit of genius compared to just painting at home and putting it up for sale on Etsy.  

But that sense of connection, that ability to take things so personally just feels like what Pocket Vinyl is all about.   Whether or not you walk away with a painting, you can at least say that you were there.   It was something you were a part of in that sense.  Both musically and artistically, that's worth getting out of bed for.    So if Pocket Vinyl is coming to your city, definitely go out of your way to see them.  It will become a memory you treasure forever.

Pocket Vinyl can be found on the web here :::

The Telegraph can be found on the web here :::


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