Have you ever seen raw emotions performed on a stage?
I do every single night I go to a concert. When you watch someone perform on stage, you are typically watching them sing or play through some of the hardest or happiest times of their lives. Songs aren’t typically just a bunch of words strung together. They are memories and stories from the songwriter’s life. I think that’s why I love music so much. No matter what I’m going through, I can find a song with lyrics that seem to match exactly what’s going through my head. I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone and that other people have the same thoughts as I do, no matter how uncomfortable they are.
Watching Cam Brooks of Hotel Books perform was unlike anything I had ever seen or felt before at a live concert. Hotel Books is not your typical band. The instruments fall to the wayside and Cam’s vocals are front and center. At times it truly feels like he is just reading his poetry above some background music but it’s absolutely perfect. The raw emotion is magnified when you take the time to listen to what Cam is saying. The words are heart breaking majority of the time. They come from an obviously dark place for Cam and the beauty of seeing them performed live is nothing short of breath taking.
The second Hotel Books took the stage, the mood of the whole room changed. Before Hotel Books, the show had been full of heavy bands with an open pit for people to express themselves in. Between Dayseeker and Hotel Books people seemed to move closer to the stage because there was no fear of a pit breaking. People put away their cell phones and the second Cam approached the microphone, the room was dead quiet. I think that last night was the first time I’ve ever been at a show where you could literally hear a pin drop.
In between songs, Cam was explaining how he had been trying to fight his way out of contracts in order to no longer be Hotel Books. He was talking about how the guys he started this band with (5 years to the day yesterday) don’t even talk to him anymore. It was heartbreaking to see this grown man on that stage get so close to breaking down while explaining the past of the band and how desperate he had been to get out of it all. He then went on to say that with the help of the new band behind him and a tour that hit more clubs than libraries and fans that have encouraged him to keep on going, that everything is starting to feel right again. That’s when he said it…
“All of my secrets are on a rack at Best Buy for $10.”
Just think about that statement for a second.
You can literally go into a store and buy all of Cam’s deepest darkest secrets for a nominal value. Sure, this is how it is with every musician out that they write about his real life but I’ve never heard it stated like that. It really put it all into perspective for me.
Hotel Books’ set was unfortunately really short due to Cam recovering from a concussion. At first I was super bummed because I could listen to him sing for literally hours but as my brother and I walked to the car, we were discussing what we thought of the show and I realized I probably couldn’t handle much more. Seeing someone literally pour their heart out into a microphone a mere couple of feet in front of you is something exhausting to watch but in the best way.
I see musicians pour their hearts and souls out on stage almost every night but something was different about last night. Something about Cam and Hotel Brooks was more genuine than I had ever seen before. I left the show last night confused and heartbroken but in the absolute best way.
I don’t care if you’re a metalhead, hip-hop kid, pop princess, whatever. Music is an expression of the soul and a true performer will make you feel something.
Last night I felt more than something and I still can’t get that feeling out of my head.
Venue: The Nether Bar
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 19
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None
Celebrity Sightings-Dominic of Skyhaven
Overall Score- 7 out of 10
Show on Deck- D.R.I!