Coffee shop welcomes performers

SPU students land weekend showcase spot

On Saturday, March 5, Juniors Liam Wright and Sam Leon played a two-hour acoustic set at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard featuring original songs.  Curtis Oh | The Falcon

On Saturday, March 5, Juniors Liam Wright and Sam Leon played a two-hour acoustic set at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard featuring original songs.
Curtis Oh | The Falcon

A friendly, neighborhood coffee shop in Ballard transformed from a mundane study environment into a place where Seattle musicians shared their talent.

The room was dimly lit in neutral tones with bar stools lining the walls; a small gated-off square that doubled as a stage.

With local art for sale on the wall and Harley Davidson posters hanging alongside, approximately 20 students, friends and family turned their chairs to face the stage, listening to the live music performed.

On Saturday, March 5, Grumpy D’s Coffee House welcomed Seattle Pacific University student’s Sam Leon and Liam Wright to play their own two-hour show.

Grumpy D himself introduced Liam Wright under the name, “A Raven Renaissance.”

“Great turnout, thanks to my house,” Wright said as he began playing.

Wright, a junior Music Therapy major, opened for friend and solo singer-songwriter with a folk-rock style Sam Leon’s first official show.

As of late, Wright  has been gaining experience performing as a solo act in the Seattle community, playing around one to two shows per month.

“I’m excited for Sam, this is his first real show by himself, I’m glad to be a part of it,” Wright said.

Leon, a junior Communications major, started playing guitar at age 11, influenced by both his dad and his older brother.

Leon learned the basics from his dad, however the rest has been self-taught, he says.

“When I was a teenager I wanted to be a rock star, so I would always watch lots of ACDC videos, and then I just grew from there,” Leon said.

Leon had previously played at Grumpy D’s and was invited back to perform. Curtis Oh | The Falcon

Leon had previously played at Grumpy D’s and was invited back to perform.
Curtis Oh | The Falcon

For Leon, the hope for the night was just to perform in front of friends and family and gain exposure.

Leon played at an open mic night previously at Grumpy D’s and landed the Saturday show as an opportunity to share his talent.

“Sam came back and asked me if I wanted to play a show with him, it was no pay to play, and we got to keep the tips,” Wright said.

Leon doesn’t have any goals in specific about where his music career is heading, but rather is waiting to see where his music takes him in the future.

“I want music to be something that I love to do, that means if I find an opportunity and I like it, then I’m all for it,” Leon said.

At Grumpy D’s, Leon’s performance was pulled from new and old music.

Although he has not recorded an album yet, he says there is one coming up as soon as time allows.

Leon’s inspiration, like many others, pulls from life experience.

“My music is mainly inspired by random occurrences that happen to me,” Leon said. “I think about them and write them down.”

Unlike Wright, Leon’s artistic process begins with the music first then moves on to the lyrics, Wright does the opposite.

“I thought it was nice that all of his friends came out to support him,” SPU junior Emily Ballesteros said.

After two hours of personal music, the night came to a close.

The owner of the coffee house, Grumpy D, stayed for the entire show to give closing thoughts and express support for local artists.

Grumpy D’s has been supporting local artists for a little over a year.

“Our goal is to have people that want to come and sit around at Grumpy D’s even if they don’t know the artists, they can always know it will be good,” Grumpy Dan said in his closing comments. “The artists who play here are people like Sam and Liam, singer-songwriters that you can always count on being good otherwise they won’t be here.”

This article was posted in the section Features.

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