April Fools’ Day this past Sunday brought many surprises to those lucky enough to get punk’d. However, High Fidelity, formerly known as Milestones, took a different route hosting a soulful and ingenious performance from artists Jon McLaughlin, Matt Wertz and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers.
These musicians have been traveling for the last several months hoping to enlighten their fan base through intimate and literally heart-wrenching shows.
First on stage was Jon McLaughlin, a charming young pianist from Anderson, Ind. He humbly walked on stage to give a performance one would describe as uniquely infatuating. Without any accompaniments, McLaughlin embarked in an intimate piano solo for his entire set.
His lyrics offer a candid look at the ups and downs of life. Ranging from funk soul to beautiful ballads, his spectacular piano playing draws from artists such as Billy Joel and Ben Folds. One of his songs, “Beautiful Disaster,” addresses how the media shatters self image in girls: “And she would change everything, everything just ask her/ Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster.” McLaughlin’s self-titled debut album is due out sometime this year.
The main attraction for me was Matt Wertz, a Missouri – born musician currently living in Tennessee. He has been traveling throughout America, gracing hundreds of stages for the last several years.
As Wertz approached the stage at High Fidelty, I stood excitedly in the first row feeling the energy and genuine excitement he exuded. His sweet “y’alls” were enough to make the crowd swoon, but his authentic and heart-wrenching performance certainly made it easy to fall in love and listen.
Starting out in grassroots fashion, Wertz began by playing at Young Life camps and after releasing his third full length studio album, has maintained his independence.
Instead of using his success to secure a record deal, Wertz has maintained his artistic freedom and has garnered success mainly through word of mouth from fans.
It is not hard to understand why his fans have been so faithful. Constantly laughing and cracking sarcastic jokes about his bass player who guised himself strangely like the unibomber, Wertz oozed charisma as he played and conversed with the audience.
Unfortunately, instead of sticking around to hear the main band, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, my friends and I opted to go talk to Wertz and McLaughlin, who were hanging out in the back.
A soft-spoken McLaughlin agreed to have his picture taken with us, while Wertz flashed his guy-next-door charm. Senior Lindsay Dussing said to Wertz, “You remind me of Dane Cook.” “Aw, man,” chuckled Wertz. I added, “Don’t worry, you are definitely sexier than Dane Cook.” We all laughed, or maybe it was just me.
Han is a member of the class of 2007.