Mike Murphy wants to have more in Sarasota. More bands, more music, more unique sounds and more unique events. Over the past two and a half years as a Sarasota musician and band promoter, Murphy has seen what can be done with our city’s local talent, creativity, and willingness to collaborate. Now the Sarasota native is ready to push the limits of the local scene with a new collaboration that promises to be a step forward towards his vision of what “more” can look like in Sarasota.
The third Sunday of every month, Murphy’s promotional arm The Closet and Art Center Sarasota are partnering to host the biggest and most unique Sunday art and music event Sarasota has ever seen. The event, named Chrch!!!, is not religiously motivated but does have the potential to become a Sarasota institution.
“You go to church and the body of people there is the congregation,” explains Murphy, “Why can’t we all congregate in something that’s culturally progressive, socially redeeming, [where] you actually leave with experiencing something?”
With four to five local and touring bands and live art organized for every show, Chrch!!! will provide a multi-sensory experience as well as an example of what a town with love and support for art and music can do. Growing up in Sarasota, Murphy watched many of his peers choose to move to areas such as New York City, where an established renown for innovative art and music already exists. But Murphy made a conscious choice to stay in Sarasota, because, he says, “why go to someplace where there’s already something established, when you can play an integral part of something amazing? It’s so much more rewarding when you can be that piece of the puzzle that really brings something together.”
The Closet/Art Center Sarasota collaboration sets Sarasota’s puzzle pieces in a completely new configuration and allows for more innovation than the usual band-in-bar set-up. Murphy brings talented and relevant musicians, organized into cohesive bills, to a building which, besides offering great acoustics, provides four galleries of art from local and nationally recognized artists. The Art Center also boasts more space than our average local venue, allowing more room for more collaboration in the form of local artists working live in a variety of mediums. If you have not been to one of the Art Center’s carefully curated exhibitions, Chrch!!! is the perfect time to visit and take in the art while listening to live music and watching local artists create new work. If you have not been to a Closet-produced show, the Art Center space provides a welcoming and comfortable introduction to the Closet’s brand of concert as a place for discussion on art and music as well as “a place where you can go, you can have fun, you can cut loose, you can be with your friends and you can make new ones.”
Besides, says Murphy, “There’s only so many things to do here in town, and why not just come out to a show and support music? You listen to a band on a CD and it’s like, ‘Oh that’s kinda cool. I really enjoy that sound.’ If you go out and actually see the individuals creating the music that you’ve heard, you can see each person and you can see each part that they play, and you can see each part of the puzzle and, to me, that’s extremely fascinating.”
The Lowdown: The first installment of Chrch!!!, on Sunday September 16th, is a folk-inspired lineup of three local bands and one touring band.
Roadkill Ghost Choir, of DeLand Florida, is a six-piece band with a folk/bluegrass sound that has a twang while also sounding current and relevant. Murphy says, “Every time they play a show, it’s as if it’s a mastered full-fledged CD production. It sounds as if you stuck a CD in an awesome system and hit play. But you can actually see the people playing it. To me, that’s fantastic. … I’ve never been disappointed with any part of their show, except that it was too short.”
Fancy Rat, a local favorite comprised of multi-instrumentalists, describes their music as hardcore whimsy (which Murphy points out is not a real genre, but still provides an accurate description of the band) and they always deliver a fun and danceable set.
Sarasota trio O’Captain brings sing-along music in indie-folk form.
Kyle Kern is a singer/songwriter of whom Murphy says, “The delivery of his lyrics and his vocal range is very unique, and I like the fact that when you hear him sing and you see him perform it’s not just some dude with a guitar, nervously pacing back and forth on a stage; it’s an emotion, it’s a feeling. He’s taking pieces of his soul and breaking it down and becoming so extremely vulnerable and he’s up there; and he’s shaking, and he’s yelling, and you can see the sweat on his brow and sometimes you can see a tear … and you can really feel what he was feeling in the period when he wrote the song. To me, being able to translate the emotion, and that being the main thing that’s communicated through the songs, speaks volumes on his ability of not only composition and arrangement but also of lyricism.”
The show begins at 8 pm, with doors to the Art Center opening at 7:30. Admission is a suggested $10 donation. All ages are welcome and children under 12 get in free. For more information on Art Center Sarasota, including details on current and upcoming exhibitions and events, visit their website. For more information on The Closet follow them on Facebook. For further information on Chrch!!!, including additional information on the bands, visit the event page on Facebook.