The contrast between the two presentations is especially strong during Suzanna's song written during a rainstorm. At the house concert, she tells the story of last summer's rare rainy July and we all remembered it together as the song started. With a saxophone and second guitar added to the band, the drip, drip, drop of the raindrops become a powerful rhythm. We agree that some songs are better with the full band, with the hard-driving rhythms and energy. The saxophone brings jazz notes out in the arrangements that the sparse guitar and drums arrangements can't match. However, intimate pieces with delicate harmonies, such as "Stumble," are better at Wyldwood.
Suzanna joins us for a late dinner or very early breakfast after the show. I gain some insight into a new genre of music; audio foreplay, perhaps? "My biggest goal", she says with a laugh, "is for everyone to go home and get laid."
Asked about the difference between the two gigs, she points out they are "literally, day and night." At a venue like Wyldwood, they are all there to see music, and to see you, and you are more exposed. "When people are listening so carefully you become acutely aware of everything you are doing on stage." She describes how she has to be "very in the moment" at a house concert.
At a club, people are talking, watching TV, drinking, meeting each other ... they aren't there specifically to see a band, and may hesitate to pay a cover. Sometimes it is difficult just to be heard. However, the upside, playing with the full band allows her to dance more, play around more, and it becomes more interactive.
The three shows I heard this month, Rod Picott, Will T. Massey, and finishing up with Suzanna Choffel were each outstanding in their own way. I am glad I heard about Wyldwood, and look forward to more shows in the intimate setting.