Last night’s jam-packed Brooklyn Bowl was an opportunity in more ways than one.
For some of those caught in the path of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, life has gotten back to normal. Lights are back on, showers are hot, offices are open, and fallen trees are being removed. But for many, the hardships have only just begun. In response, many artists are hosting benefit concerts, from big names like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, to and up-and-comers like Matt Sucich and Blues buzz artist Gary Clark Jr.
Clark, who released his first album with a major label in October, was already scheduled to play three shows in New York this week, all at Bowery Ballroom and sold out month in advance. Like many of his industry peers, he did his part to aid with Sandy relief by adding the election night appearance at the Williamsburg hotspot last minute. The surprise tour addition was announced on Sunday, tickets went for a minimum donation of $20, and guests were encouraged to bring canned goods and other household supplies.
While Clark’s album Blak and Blu seemed like a slight departure from his rough and rugged norm, with tracks than run the gamut from bluesrock, to soulful serenades, to softer studio recordings of previous hit releases such as Bright Lights, from the first strum of his live performance, Clark brought it all back home. As screens around the venue depicted the incumbent president wrapping up his reelection, Clark ripped through solos, had the assembled crowd bumping and was at one point joined on stage for an impressive vocal rendition from singer/songwriter Bilal.
While last night’s concert was not about business, Clark’s numbers have been looking good since his album dropped. In the past two weeks, he has seen close to 265,000 YouTube video views, a 50 percent increase in comparison to the fortnight prior. He has added an additional 2000 followers on Twitter, bringing his total above the 20,000 mark, and his Rdio plays have jumped a staggering 1100 percent, with almost 50,000 streams since release. And although 80 percent of his fan base resides the US, Blak and Blu appears on iTunes Charts of Top Albums across the globe, from Australia, to France to Mexico.
If the Brooklyn Bowl performance was anything to go by, those lucky enough to have snagged tickets for his two remaining concerts in New York (or any of the other stops on his ongoing tour for that matter) are in for a treat.
Get ready to get down.
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, The New York Times Local East Village, Westchester Magazine and more.