Music Reviews — 14 October 2013
Thomas Ian Nicholas Croons the CBGB Festival at Pianos

Thomas Ian Nicholas
CBGB Music Festival
Pianos, New York, NY
October 11, 2013

Most people instantly associate Thomas Ian Nicholas with his role as Kevin Meyers in the “American Pie” franchise or perhaps as Henry Rowengartner in 1993 baseball film “Rookie of the Year.” However, what might not be as obvious is Nicholas’ budding career as a singer/songwriter. Nicholas hit the music scene in 2007 with his debut album “Without Warning” and on Friday evening as part of the “CBGB Festival,” Nicholas played a highly intimate show to a select few at Pianos NYC on Ludlow Street in New York City’s Lower East Side.

The evening was a showcase of sorts, curated by Promenade Music Entertainment and featured a lineup of up and coming artists Rebecca Perl, Alexis Babini, and Dan Godlin, leading to Nicholas’ performance. The bill would be capped off by Mike Scala, backed by a full band. But candidly, our curiosity was piqued by Nicholas himself, as big time fans of his acting career. Just prior to 10pm, Nicholas began prepping the stage for this stripped down appearance. After a quick 15-minute preparation, Nicholas happily greeted the crowd and launched into his acoustic set. Just a few minutes into the opening song, Nicholas took a long-winded break and addressed the crowd, letting them know that he was incredibly hungover from the previous night. At that moment, an over-zealous fan walked straight to the front of the stage and handed Nicholas a fresh beer, which he appreciatively accepted and proceeded to jump back into his set. As the hour-long set progressed, Nicholas did a nice job of incorporating his original tracks alongside some crowd-pleasing covers. Fittingly, Nicholas mentioned his role in the American Pie movies as he launched into a great cover of “Laid” by James, which is arguably the most well known song in the films. Other notable highlights included a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” and the show’s closer “Everlong” by Foo Fighters.

While this may not have been a sold out show at Madison Square Garden, it was refreshing to see an accomplished actor and aspiring musician gracefully play a gritty and stripped down show to a small group of fans. Nicholas engaged the audience throughout the set, noting multiple times how grateful he was to be a part of the “CBGB Festival.” Nicholas and his band are currently working on a new record so this is certainly something to keep a look out for.

- Eugene Jerome

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