Last night was open mic night at the Underground, which hosted any UMW student talent who signed up as well as the headlining act, pop-rock singer-songwriter Steve Moakler.
Arriving 10 minutes before the scheduled show time, I didn’t wait long before the first act of the open mic portion of the evening took stage. The band’s name was inaudibly mumbled by the MC, but they were a trio of musicians consisting of a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar and a bassist. The trio opened with a bluesy jam-type number and then played a cover of Cream’s classic “Crossroads.” After the trio left the stage, the second and final opener, whose name was also missed, took the stage and represented more of what was to come in the show, as he played several pop-rock acoustic songs.
After about a half hour opening set, Steve Moakler took the stage accompanied by his keyboardist. The hour-long set of Moakler’s seemed to go by relatively quickly despite the fact that all of his songs sounded the same to me. However, despite my personal disconnection with Moakler, the singer seemed to have garnered a devoted following at UMW, mostly consisting of young ladies.
Hailing from Bethel Park, PA, Steve Moakler combines a pop-rock acoustic sound similar to that of such acts as Parachute, Jason Mraz, and a slight vocal similarity to the Isaac Slade of The Fray.
As far as I could tell Moakler’s entire set consisted of slow-tempo love songs with heavy emphasis on melody and chord play between him and his keyboardist. Steve Moakler played a few songs well known to his fans which included “Run,” “True Like Your Name,” and “Boy That You Drew” as well as a few newer recordings of his. Despite my surprise that I’d be reviewing a pop-rock show, the evening was not without bits of comedy which included some funny banter between Moakler and his keyboardist as well as the crowd. Another slightly comedic touch was an “American Medley” Moakler played which consisted of bits of “American Pie” by Don Mclean, “American Woman” by The Guess Who and “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus all fused together for one immensely patriotic and amusing song.
As the open mic night came to a close, Steve Moakler thanked the crowd at UMW for having him back a second time and wrapped up an overall decent show, which included much audience participation and plenty of acoustic love jams.