Dru Cutler opened Melodic Monster’s show at Old Smith’s bar last Tuesday night. The venue’s back room, which is also home to the Secret Comedy Show every Saturday night, had its familiar layout ditched in favor of an open floor, and Dru Cutler was performing to an intimate crowd of about 13 people.
To most, Cutler’s genre is indie-rock, and his work stays true to the style of the man-guitar duo. Cutler’s use of his instrument is crucial to his performance; he seems to value his guitar skills just as highly as his lyricism.
For most of the set, Cutler rotated between covers and his originals, the first half of which he debuted on an acoustic guitar. For a listener who is familiar with the original songs covered, Cutler’s original songs were up to par with existing ones.
Much of his tone was calm and as if he was telling the audience about his day. Cutler let the audience in on grave moments of his past, told his listeners jokes, and even turned song into story. Cutler’s comfort with the listeners was striking and it seemed as if he was among friends.
One song was simply a story from Cutler’s childhood about his stepmom, Judy. The artist’s immediate involvement of the audience into serious parts about his life eliminates a barrier that typically exists between the performer and listener. The songs all have distinct messages, but no real construction of a story. In this way, Cutler’s writing style is rather unorthodox — his songwriting often reminds one of the open-endedness often associated with a Haruki Murakami novel.
Cutler’s singles and albums can be found on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.com. “Judy” and “Oceanside” are some of his best songs. Cutler abandons the traditional tenets of rhyme, and his music finds a flow that the listener does not expect as first. The guitar playing pairs beautifully with Cutler’s vocals.
Cutler’s chords are raw and untamed; the artist brings the same intensity to his tracks which feature electric guitar, but he is at his best and most authentic with his preferred acoustic style.