Friday, September 12, 2008

Allison Francis & Stephanie Barrak @ The Channel Cafe, 9/6

Much buzzed about Base Trip Records kicked off the school year with acoustic performances from two of its artists at The Channel Cafe in South Boston last Saturday night. Friends and supporters of the BU-based record label gathered in the spacious cafe to eat, laugh and sing with featured performers Allison Francis and Stephanie Barrak.

Francis went first with her impassioned, youthful take on folk. Her songs tell tales of the hope and sorrow of growing up; from Portland to Boston to Massapequa, Francis related tales of her travels with her earnest, unshy vocals. She mixed favorites like "Lost on this Side" in with newer material like the solemn "In June pt. II." She ended with a cover and some help from a friend, complete with an impromptu run-through of choruses from such amusing pop hits as Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me."

Stephanie Barrak and her back-up band (someone's little brother with an avocado-looking maraca) stepped up next. Always the comedian, Barrak kept things light during her set. While she never takes herself too seriously, her songs speak for themselves: honest and simple, and always comprised of pretty melodies. She played early material like the catchy "Drift With It," which never fails to draw "this should be in a movie" comments. Barrak also debuted some new songs, one of them with her two friends harmonizing on back-up vocals to make for a particularly moving performance.

The night then turned into a free-for-all as friends pushed friends to the front to perform a song or two on guitar. If there is a common thread in the Base Trip camp, it is one of community and appreciation for music and for everyone. Be sure to check them out at a gig sometime, as they will be making appearances in and around BU throughout the year.

- Jessy Bartlett

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