On the first night of Thanksgiving weekend, four musicians gathered together in a quaint venue for an audience of seven people. Paul Federici, along with Stefanie Parnell and Ben Cardilli put on a show October 11, 2014, at Burritoville.
The concert area of the restaurant is small, consisting only of a bar and some tables. The walls were bright green and cheery, and the lighting was inviting. A few candles were burning, and the random paintings and photos on the wall made the place feel artsy.
The concert started on time with Ben Cardilli taking the stage at 8pm. He was funny and had the audience laughing the second he began his set. The guitar riff of his first song was relaxing, and his voice was so strong that I am sure the people in attendance had goosebumps covering their skin.
As he got ready to perform his second song of the set, his guitar went out of tune due to circumstances that were out of his control. He jokingly explained to his audience, “this guitar hates the winter.” Before performing the song, he described its meaning with a very deep and long speech, something that he would go on to do for every song of his set. He displayed so much emotion while he performed this song, it was nearly tear-inducing for everyone watching. His voice became more impressive with every song. By the end of the second song (by Dullboy), its power had resonated throughout the audience. Parnell seemed to echo everyone’s thoughts when she let out a simple, “Wow.”
Though Cardilli described the last few songs of the set as “awkward” and “downers”, they were more radio-worthy than the rest, and they even had a toe-tapping sound to them at times. Sure, the themes of the songs were depressing (one of which being about how we deal with school shootings), but the way they sounded was reminiscient of the best music of the 90s. He also included an incredible cover of Marcy Payground’s “Sex and Candy”, which was almost better than the original. To finish off he sang another Dullboy song, gave a “last boring speech” and gave us all a piece of advice saying, “Don’t do drugs”.
Paul Federeci was up next. Throughout his set, he was just as talkative and hilarious as Cardilli, but he also gave a very inspirational speech before starting, speaking out about how music helped him get out of a very dark place. He started off with “Sail On”, a track from his album, Now and Then. His voice somehow managed to be simultaneously graceful and strong throughout the performance of the song.
“Strange Disease” proved to be his strongest performance of the night. He described it as a toungue-in-cheek song, with a weird music video. The lyrics were smartly written and his voice was powerful and absolutely flawless. Its bridge was chilling, and the guitar riff was better and more complex than in previous songs. He ended his set on a bit of a sad note, with the song “Without You”, which may not have been the best way to conclude his time on stage.
Ending off the night was a very sleepy but very talented Stefanie Parnell, performing with Chris See Hoye. Both musicians were incredibly modest and quite hard on themsleves, but they really didn’t need to be. Parnell and Hoye’s voices harmonized as if they were always meant to be combined. Both Parnell and Hoye had good stage presence, but Hoye became shy and awkward whenever given a compliment. The awkwardness only made the show funnier and more enjoyable, however. Parnell had an amazing vocal range, sounding like the perfect combination of Loretta Lynn and Grace Slick.
Their performance of “Rusted Nails” was something incredible, despite the fact that it was, as she explained to the audience, performed past her bedtime. Hoye’s voice was at its best in this song; it was jaw-droppingly strong. It was, like most of the songs of their set, a combination of folk and rock, with a country influence. She followed that with an amazing cover of “You Really Got a Hold On Me”.
Parnell finished up the night with a cover of Civil War’s “The One That Got Away”, where she named the band as her biggest influence. They followed that by a new, as-of-yet-untitled song that felt like it was straight out of the 60s psychedelic movement. It was an incredible way to end off the evening, showcasing their vocal, writing, and musical talents better than anything else they had played that night.
While each performer may have messed up a couple of times throughout the evening, the enjoyability of the show was far from ruined. All three musicians deserved a larger audience, and though the intimate jam session setting was enjoyable, it is to be hoped that even more people show up for their next performances.