Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sam Bradley w/Holly Conlan - Carrboro, NC - June 5th, 2011

Never have I EVER been to a show like the one I went to this past Sunday. E-V-E-R! Why do I say this? Well, for starters, it was an absolutely amazing show and left me only wanting more. The talent that filled The Arts Center of Cat's Cradle in the little quaint college town of Carrboro, NC was simply spellbinding. I knew, from others who have seen Sam Bradley live, that he was a true wonder to watch & hear, but I was so taken by surprise after being made a believer! The voice. The charisma. The humor. The grace. Everything. I also knew, from others, that he was a true sweetheart... someone who really cares for his "fans", a term I think he shy's away from hearing. To him, you're more like a friend. This is SO true. More on that later...

My sister came down for the weekend from Virginia to spend a "girls weekend" with me. We started the weekend off by going out to dinner at my favorite local spot near my house, then we ventured to Downtown Raleigh for some club hopping. Which I should add, I haven't done in years! It was fun, and we had a blast, but I couldn't wait for it to be Sunday. Because Sunday I would FINALLY be able to meet the man that so many before me had the privilege of meeting. Me, being me, I had to show up a little early....

I had responded to an email from Sam's manager, via his website "fan" club, which stated that If I were to bring 2 or more people to the show I could get into the show for free. Now, for starters, I already had a ticket for the show. I had bought it a full month prior... but with my sister coming down I figured I could give her my ticket and we'd be good to go. I also had some other friends/co-workers coming to the show as well. Well, you see, I was told by someone on his staff that I'd be "on the list" and that I'd be able to get into the show, no problem. My sister and I arrive about 6:30 p.m., a full 30 minutes before the doors even open. As the doors are getting ready to open, I ask the doorman about "the list". He had no knowledge of a list. OH NO! Well, that was my thought anyway. I had to figure out what was going on... The guy who didn't know didn't work for Sam, he worked for the Arts Center, an affiliate of Cat's Cradle (a pub/bar/live music venue). He told me that I would need to walk outside and venture down to Cat's Cradle and talk to the owner to get this straight. So, out I went. (it was just right down the sidewalk - think strip mall) Cat's Cradle's doors were closed and locked and no one seemed to be there, so of course, I start panicking. A little. OK, a lot. In comes my savior!

I'm standing outside Cat's Cradle, as if I were waiting on someone to show up that never would, and here comes a group of guys. At this point, I had no idea who they were, well, not really. Not at first. One of the guys asked me if I was OK and I told him what was going on. He said, "Oh, I'm Dustin the Tour Manager, I can help you out with that." YAY! I showed him the email from Sam's website from a 'P'. 'P" was apparently Sam's manager who I'm guessing never gave Dustin my information. No information = Me not on the list. It was starting to make sense. Before he walked me back down to assist me in getting into the show, I noticed the other guys that were with him were holding clothes waiting to get inside Cat's Cradle to, from what I heard, change their clothes. They introduced themselves as John Notto, Jeff Riedlinger, & Mark Kerrey. THE BAND! OMG. Really?! I felt like such an idiot! They were all so nice! They went in to change and Dustin walked me into the theater where I met up with my sister who, bless her, scored a table front & center! I was a happy girl again!

We had a good 15 minutes before Holly Conlan came on, Sam Bradley's opening act. Brit and I were really hungry so I left the theater, after safely ensuring my re-entry, to go next door to order a pizza. You'll never guess what I witnessed while I was waiting... out of the corner of my eye I see this guy with curly hair w/ a plaid shirt playing soccer (football as the Brits call it) barefoot in the adjoining parking lot. It was SAM! He was playing with the son of one of his long devoted "fans", along with Holly Conlan (recognized her from the posters inside) and the guys I had just run into down the way at Cat's Cradle. Too cool! I couldn't help but be entranced by this. How often do you SEE a singer/actor/etc. doing anything before they perform? Usually they're locked up somewhere backstage. The lady who's son was playing w/Sam noticed my amazement and I told her I thought this was the coolest thing I had ever seen and also mentioned it was my first time seeing Sam (in person). She immediatley calls out for Sam saying, "Hey Sam, you have a first-timer over here!". What does he do? He stops and runs over to me to shake my hand. Really? This just doesn't happen. He asked me how I was doing, and even remembered me, after I told him my name, from the email I responded to about the free ticket. He's also on my Facebook so he mentioned that too. OMG! I was speechless at this point. Honestly. I let him be and mosied my way over to the pizza joint to pick up my pizza and then to meet my sister back inside the theater. OMG, one more time...

It was 8 p.m. and Holly Conlan was up. I have to be honest... I hadn't heard of Holly Conlan prior to 6/5/11 so I had NO idea what to expect. Boy was I SURPRISED. We both were. I was blown away by her sheer presence on stage, her voice, candid humor, and exceptional talent that was very apparent on stage. She, and her band I might add, blew us away. I have never been so pleasantly surprised by a live performance like this before, ever. She was bluesy, soulful, soft rock, with a little bit of folk. Singer-songwriter type. LOVED It. All of it.

About 45 minutes later, Sam Bradley and The Men make their way to the stage. I was so pumped up by this point. So much excitement. Was he really as good as others had described? 100% YES. And then some. He was hilarious. He was beautiful, and yes, male singers are allowed to be beautiful. Everything about his show, including The Men were fantastic. It felt like I was onstage with him the whole time. He brought his soul to the stage and shared it with everyone there. I felt it for sure. That's probably what I noticed the most with the show, is that it was clearly evident that these guys feel the music. LOVED it. I didn't want the show to end, but it had to... but wait! Sam Bradley plans to come out & meet everyone? Whaaaat? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! (*Sam affectionately made a funny, while on stage, about how us Americans/Southerners say that term. LOL!*)

After only 5 or so minutes, Sam was out in the crowd giving hugs, signing posters and CD's, taking pictures, and everything in-between. Really? Who does this? Sam does, that's who. VERY, very genuine. A true performer/star that truly cares for his "fans". My sister and I hung around and talked with everyone. Holly Conlan and her band, Al Sgro & Chris Barnett. AMAZING. They were so, so friendly and chatted with us for awhile! We took our pictures with them and even added each other on Facebook right then & there! :)

I couldn't wait for Sam to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The first thing he tells me was that he was sorry for the trouble I had earlier about "the list". OMG. Wow. I can't believe he even had to bother himself with that. SUCH a humble, genuine guy. Wow. Wait, I just said that. One more time... WOW. We probably spent the next 1.5 hours gabbing it up with both bands and even made mention of meeting up with them for dinner but, sadly, it was getting late (past midnight) and I had to get home. After several hugs, pictures, and more hugs, we left.

Hands down, this was the absolute BEST concert/live performance I have EVER been too. I really mean that. It was so intimate and endearing to me. I will never forget it.

My only regret is not having met Sam earlier on in his tour. I would have traveled far & wide to see him, but unfortunately I will have to wait until he tours again. He mentioned Aug/Sept. Gosh I hope so!

For more on Sam Bradley, CHECK OUT HIS WEBSITE! Or his FACEBOOK! You will NOT want to miss out on his next tour. Promise!

For more on Holly Conlan, CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE! Or her FACEBOOK!

Enjoy a snazzy slide show of the TON of pictures I took, but it should be mentioned that my camera bites. I couldn't get the settings right and the result was Sam with NO hands. Not cool. Missing a guitarist hands is not cool at all. Sorry, Sam!






I have a few videos of both Sam & Holly and I plan to upload them tomorrow! They are AWESOME! Stay tuned!

4 comments:

  1. Oh what a wonderful write up on your first Sam show!! I agree 100% with everything you've said. Sam is one of a kind! The rest of the guys, to include Dustin, are just some of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. April,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I know some of us probably tend to set some pretty high expectations by how much we support and adore Sam, so I feel especially excited when people get to see the show and/or meet him in person and see that he's really even more amazing than you expect. The music speaks for itself but there's so much above and beyond that I don't feel like you get from many other artists.

    If we all spread the word to one more person, then one more person, etc. I know one day that Sam and the band will get recognition that they truly deserve in the music world. Until then, we'll just keep talking ;)

    SO glad you went, and enjoyed, the show!! xoxoxo

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  3. Brittany StevensJune 12, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    April, my Aphy puff,

    Wonderful and dead on point entry April. I have told everyone who will listen that the concert, both Sam Bradley and his band and Holly Conlan and with Chris and Al, were absolutely amazing. By far the best concert I ever attended. No comparison at all actually. I would have loved to have gone to their concert in Arlington the day after we went in Raleigh. My loss. They all were unbelievably humble, engaging, endearing, and of course talented. I am so glad I came to visit you for our girls weekend and I am soo thrilled the last part of our weekend was the best part, this concert. When they all tour again, you best believe I will be begging you to attend another event. Even though I am sure I won't have to be twisting your arm by any means! Love you!!

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  4. April, my Aphy puff,

    Wonderful and dead on point entry April. I have told everyone who will listen that the concert, both Sam Bradley and his band and Holly Conlan and with Chris and Al, were absolutely amazing. By far the best concert I ever attended. No comparison at all actually. I would have loved to have gone to their concert in Arlington the day after we went in Raleigh. My loss. They all were unbelievably humble, engaging, endearing, and of course talented. I am so glad I came to visit you for our girls weekend and I am soo thrilled the last part of our weekend was the best part, this concert. When they all tour again, you best believe I will be begging you to attend another event. Even though I am sure I won't have to be twisting your arm by any means! Love you!!

    ReplyDelete