Music brings people together in many ways. Thursday night at Phog Lounge was no different. Music brought people together in support of a friend going through a tough time. People used their musical talents for good — raising money for their friend’s medical treatment. The night was the perfect blend of cozy atmosphere, acoustic tunes, and camaraderie.
Without a doubt, the spirit of the evening was captured on entrance to the show. I paid at the door and was pleasantly surprised to be handed a small card — it was a thank you note from Alexandra, the woman the show was benefitting. Alexandra herself was not able to make it to the show, but she was able to tie the event together with this simple gesture. I was already being drawn into the collaborative spirit of the evening, just by paying my entrance.
I arrived at the show as Tony Coates was crooning away with his acoustic twist on soul. He drew my attention right away. I only caught a few songs but was immediately excited for the rest of the evening. Coates sang with a passion that shone through his quiet personality on the stage.
Next up was Tiffany Budway. Her folksy, sweet voice drew the attention of the crowd, cutting through the chatter that had arisen in the transition between musicians. Candles flickered on the tables, making the already cozy venue feel even more so. Budway’s guitar was yearning and quiet, adding to the atmosphere.
The quiet atmosphere wasn’t destined to last long. Bath Assaults flipped the room on its head. Tim Lantais, the lead singer’s strong guitar and striking voice called to mind a cowboy singing into a starry night by a campfire. The room was transfixed, barely anyone dared chat over the music. The lead singer knew the power of his own voice, joking “You like that?” when he would hit a particularly wailing high note. Lantais owned the stage, fearlessly tackling big songs like The Police’s “Roxanne.” He knew how he wanted his performance to go and was not afraid to direct the crowd appropriately.
For me, the highlight of the evening was the acoustic stylings of Danial Malik. Malik tackled classic songs with a soulful, old school charm. His cover of “Valerie” was sung with tons of emotion and a suiting retro twist. It got the whole crowd grooving in their seats, toes tapping and smiles widening. Every time Malik finished a song he got a huge cheer from the audience. His music seemed to remind everyone of the purpose of the evening: coming together in support of a friend. Even people like me, who don’t know Alexandra, were drawn in and made to feel like a part of the effort. Malik had a great stage presence, you could tell he loved the music and performing. Offstage, he seemed shy and reserved but as soon as he picked up the guitar, he shed that shyness and transformed into a true performer. He had the crowd singing along to the familiar songs he chose, fostering a connection between the stage and audience.
The last musician of the evening was Elle. Her sugary sweet voice slowed down the energy that had bloomed over the past two artists. Everyone in the crown settled in again, swaying to Elle’s indie tunes and friendly attitude.
Despite the widely varying sounds throughout the night at Phog Lounge, the show did not feel disconnected in any way. The musicians built off each other, drawing from the theme of collaboration that overshadowed the whole event. Everyone was there with a purpose: to use the magic of music for good. Talent and optimism came together in a way I did not expect. At the end of the night I felt amazed at how much love and passion can be shared through a couple acoustic guitars and amazing artists.