Ian Axel (accompanied by Chad Vaccarino) opened for Hugo on February 3rd 2011 at The Basement in Columbus Ohio. Sarah and I arrived at The Basement earlier than either of us have ever before. We arrived early with the hope of getting in the front row with my SLR camera. We actually arrived before the the artists were even in the venue. The Basement does not have a restriction on SLR cameras, so that makes it a good venue to use in order to build up a portfolio of concert pictures. The Basement is a very intimate venue, you are able to get so close to the artists you can practically tune their guitars while standing in the pit. We quickly recognized Ian from his YouTube video with Julia Nunes. She is another great artist we saw at the same venue. Ian quickly won over the crowd of Hugo fans after playing his first song, Leave Me Alone. Ian is very passionate about his music, you can definitely tell by his exaggerated expressions during his performances. He is a very talented musician and a nice guy too. He had Chad Vaccarino come up on stage to accompany him for a few songs. Chad is a little guy with a booming voice and he also plays the trumpet. Ian has a very "Ben Folds" like vibe. I really enjoy a musician that can walk onto a stage with nothing more than a keyboard and mesmerize the audience. Ian gave a short insight into each song before singing it. He almost brought the audience to tears after explaining and sining Gone. Ian announced the upcoming release of his album on iTunes on 2/8/2011. I have already purchased his CD and am listening to it as I write this.
Hugo has 99 problems but a good concert ain't one. It may sound cheesy, but its true. It was obvious when Hugo walked through the doors he was not from around here. While Hugo is most well known for his twist on JayZ's 99 Problems, he isn't a one hit wonder. His set included other songs such as Bread & Butter, Old Tyme Religion, and Hopelessly Stone. If i had to pick two other artists to describe his stage presence and mannerisms, I would have to pick Jack White and Johnny Depp. Do not attend this concert without a belt, Hugo's show will literally rock your pants off. At one point the music so loud I could feel my pants vibrating from each hit of the drum. If you decide to take your girlfriend make sure she wears a bib, she will likely be drooling over Hugo before the night is up.
After the concert we made our way back to the merch table where Ian and Chad were pawning their wears. After talking with Ian and Chad about the upcoming album release and Julia Nunes, we moved down the table to purchase Hugo's CD. We searched around The Basement for a while to have Hugo sign it, we then decided to leave. On our way to the car we found Hugo talking with a group of fan's and signing CD's. Of course we gathered around and had him sing ours before he made his way back inside. I snapped the photo in this post while he was signing our CD.
Overall the concert ranks in at one of my favorite ever. I almost feel we robbed the artists because of the extremely cheep ticket prices. At only $15 I recommend this concert to anyone that has a chance to see either of these two bands. Be sure to check out some of my photos from the night on my portfolio page, click here for photo's of Ian and here for Hugo