Mike Perkins

Mike Perkins

March 31, 2010 – I walked into the infamous Scarlet and Grey Cafe at about 10 p.m. on a warm Wednesday night to witness and review local granola rock staple of the Columbus music scene, Mike Perkins. This was his weekly free show and I saw whom I presumed to be him setting up his merchandise table near the front of the bar near the entrance. From my minds eye, I had pictured him to be a much older man with long white hair and mustache, but he ended up looking more like Luke Wilson. He was very warm and attentive and as a plus was sporting a shirt that read, “STOP WARS,” in the Star Wars logo font, clever.

So I got some elixir of dreams for $2.75 at the bar and went to my seat. A few more people came into the dark bar and Mike started fiddling with his acoustic guitar, doing a sound check. I could already tell he was a proficient player. I noticed he had no drum set on stage with him, which was mildly disappointing. I wondered how he would fill the sound, but on a good note he had a Saxophone player and a bass player up there with him. They were also apparently amazing on their instruments.

The young hippie college crowd was starting to fill the bar quickly, which wasn’t too bad considering it was only ten thirty. It took Perkins and the gang a few minutes to get their sound worked out technically on stage, but once they started playing I knew from my experience with the noodler hippy sect what I was in store for.  I was never a rabid Grateful Dead fan, but I had been to a few shows and had a good time. I have gone to my share of Phish shows in the past as well. If you are wondering what Perkins sounds like, think Keller Williams meets Jack Johnson with the vocals in a lower register.

I was impressed by his amazing guitar skills and his vocals weren’t bad either; they were very smooth and simple. The bass was phenomenal; the bass player was slapping that thing around like it was his last day on earth. The Sax player kept it mellow the whole time and the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Mike Perkins and band on stage at Scarlet and Grey Cafe

Mike Perkins and band on stage at Scarlet and Grey Cafe

I was also impressed by how many young folks had filled the place by his third song, which by the way could have still been the first song as far as I was concerned. There were very plucky upbeat notes and hippity lyrics sung in an uplifting manner. The crunchy kids seemed to be in bliss singing along and twirling to his stylings. For my buck, even though it was free, I would have liked to see him change up his style a bit more. I don’t think he was interested in challenging these kids artistically, he wanted to give them what they wanted, which was more of the same all night long.

I felt the inner flower child in me telling the music critic to shut up, smoke a joint and have a good time. Oh well, the scenery was refreshing and it put me in a good mood. All in all I liked what Perkins was doing. If you want to find out for yourself or are already an avid fan and just want to follow him around and sell veggie melts go to his site on the web: http://mikeperkins.net/.

-Oddfellow