Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Last Friday Darian Cunning was scheduled to be my guest on my radio show, The Adam B Experience. Unfortunately, Cunning was called to handle some business before the show started and had no way of getting in contact with me. Always one to have a backup plan the show still went smoothly and in my effort to promote his show I told my listeners that Darian Cunning was supposed to be in the studio with me but since he’s not here you can catch me whoopin his arse for not showing up at the Acoustic Café on Thursday the 20th. How’s that for creative promotion?
Not one to go back on my word I was at the Acoustic Café last night for Cunning’s show. I did not, however, feel the need to whoop his arse. After hearing him play there’s very little chance anyone could be in anything other than a good, relaxed, mood, and who can whoop arse when they’re relaxed? Not I! Especially not when I have a pint of Monty Python and the Holy Grail Ale in my hand (it’s tempered over burning witches)!
Cunning is an eclectic artist. Completely at home with a guitar in his hands I’ve seen Cunning perform numerous styles of music. At a past show he went acoustic, last night he was fully plugged in and ready to show off some of his rock influences. Throughout the night Cunning mixed his own original work in with covers of some of his favorite artists. For a lot of artists covers are usually relegated to one genre, and oftentimes one band, but Cunning showed the audience his massive list of influences when he performed covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary,” Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” and UB40’s “Red Red Wine.”
A lot of artists say they listen to everything, but during Cunning’s performance he proved he not only listens to numerous genres of music, but he also understands them. You could feel the reggae strumming of his guitar during his cover of UB40 and the hard rock licks on the guitar solo during “The Wind Cries Mary.” At times Cunning slipped into what I like to call Dave Matthews mode, but for the most part it was all about variety while he was on stage.
Speaking of the stage, Cunning did something I see very few artists do. While performing Cunning made sure to stand to one side of the drummer since it was just the two of them on stage, giving people a view of both musicians rather than taking center stage and making it all about him. It may have been his name on the bill but clearly he was not content letting his fellow performer go unnoticed. There were also a few drum solos that let the crowd know the drummer was there as more than just a tempo provider.
Sightings: Though the Acoustic Café isn’t a celeb hot spot (what place in Fairfield is?) everyone there is usually pretty cool and it was great to see Rich (the owner) again. The Acoustic is nicer than your normal neighborhood bar, but not so nice that it feels stuck up. My only gripe is that all the local artwork that had been on display on the walls is gone. I really dug seeing the work of the locals.
Liks: I paid $5.50 for my Monty Python brew, but for the most part everything is fairly reasonably priced at the bar. They now also have a popcorn machine that dispenses free popcorn and makes the area near the bar feel like a movie theater concession stand. I guarantee that at some point some drunk person has asked for a box of Goobers.
Verdict: Darian Cunning is a talented musician. I appreciate that he pays homage to so many of his influences. His own sound, however, is also one that people should take notice of. Cunning has the chops to create some great tunes and in a college town like Fairfield, CT, his music should go over exceptionally well. With the right PR Cunning could have college girls throwing themselves at him.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.