How long has Pete’s Candy Store been a concert venue on the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn?
I’ve been meaning to get thee since the day it opened, but something always got in the way — my schedule, other priorities, whatever.
So what (or should I say who) did it take to finally get me there?
Cynthia Hopkins, that’s who.
If you follow this blog, you’ve read about Hopkins in one or more of her musical guises more than once. She’s created major theatricals experiences, she’s fronted a country-tinged art-rock band, Gloria Deluxe, and even as a solo performer on occasion.
On Tuesday, Hopkins, in her guise as a solo artist of sorts, visited the back room of Pete’s to do a set of what she billed ahead of time as new songs. By all appearances, most of the songs we new only to a few in the audience.
She had some trouble settling in at first. The room’s sound, which was a little odd and skewed toward the back, didn’t sound right to her. After some tweaking, and with the assurance of friends and others in the audience, she set aside her reservations and launched into 40 minutes of material.
Hopkins, accompanied only by her trusty iPod loaded with harmony vocals and instrumental backing tracks, started off with a couple of unfamiliar tunes — one a tribute to Lou Reed that makes reference to “Sweet Jane,” among other things, and the other honoring Barack Obama.
Many of of the other songs in her set were recognizable from her most recent theater piece, “A Living Documentary,” which had its premiere at New York Live Arts in March. The songs, including one about a reluctant waitress trying to put on a happy face for her customers, worked well as standalone numbers outside the context of her show, whose theme is the difficulty of making a living as an artist.