From arena shows to bar gigs, and major label albums to indie releases, Marc Scibilia has done it all. The singer-songwriter headlined Schubas Tavern (3159 N. Southport Ave.) with Corey Harper as their last stop on the “Summer Clothes” tour.
Schubas Tavern is an antiquated tavern adorned with lots of dark, old wood and accompanied by a back room used for various indie concerts. The wooden tavern overall added to the relaxing aesthetic of the rock singer-songwriter concert.
Harper is already on the rise at only 22 years old. Beyond his own music, he recently created an artistic collective called Winston House, a place for talented people from all over the world to hang out and create together. The creation of Winston House also afforded the musician the opportunity to open shows for soul musician Allen Stone. After seeing him play at Winston House, pop superstar Justin Bieber asked Harper to open shows for him on the Pacific Northwest dates of his Purpose Tour.
Harper began the show with energetic folk rock and Americana tunes to a small crowd of 15 fans. Few knew his music, but the St. Louis musician captured their attention with his reserved, polite persona and mellow guitar-centered set.
Early in Harper’s performance, he broke a guitar string and was forced to improvise. Aside from this, his skills on the guitar were impressive beyond belief for that of an early musician. Harper, with a cigarette tucked behind his ear, played through songs off his “On the Run” EP exhibiting complex riffs and melodies.
As time passed, more people began showing up for Scibilia’s set. Scibilia is a Nashvillian (via New York) who gained recognition from having his version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” featured in a Jeep commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 2015. Afterward, the commercial earned more than 12 million views on YouTube.
The atmosphere of Schubas’ back room seemed to change in the blink of an eye when Scibilia’s voice filled the venue. He brought the audience together immediately when he opened with “When The World Breaks.”
Having recently released an EP, Scibilia is preparing to drop his first full-length record. His original material is indie-pop music that claims the modifier “folk” because he is a master of all things guitar-related. He switched between acoustic guitar, an old Strat and went over to the piano for “Jericho,” a number about being afraid to fall in love.
Scibilia can easily be described in two words: authentic and passionate. His performance was real, and one that his audience truly connected to when he opened up about his life. Between songs, Scibilia gave anecdotes from his life that related to each song. For example, he talked about his guidance counselor inspiring him to move to Nashville at age 18 and writing “Shining Like America” when he first arrived.
“Summer Clothes,” the title song of the tour, is dedicated to Scibilia’s hometown of Buffalo, New York. “Summer Clothes” came out last month and is a gentle ode to reconnecting with a loved one, with a chorus that swells and soars over reverb-drenched vocals and electronic drums. An acoustic version of the song is also available on streaming and download services.
Scibilia’s performance of “Jericho” was the highlight of the evening. Played as the closing song, Scibilia used various loops and effects pedals to create a guitar solo that was not only complex but incredibly impressive.
The two musicians stuck around the venue after the show to meet and take pictures with fans. Scibilia spoke to many that were in attendance with bubbling kindness. Scibilia has a music career that’s thriving, and his stage presence is consuming in the best of ways. As for Harper, his potential to be a greatly popular musician is profound.
Although Scibilia and Harper are under the radar, they shouldn’t be overlooked.