It was a Sunday evening, December 1st. It was a cozy venue, Gemmayze Theater. We’ve seen few YouTube videos of Mike, but had really no idea of what to expect from a full-on live performance.
It was dark, and we heard the howling of a bow over a string of some sort. It echoed through the room nostalgic and deep. It felt that we’re in a Buddhist temple (spooky). The lights gradually turned up and Kareem Khneisser was playing a Swarmandal (indian hard kinda thing). The sounds it made were delightful and Kareem is pretty skilled at fingering that thing. After he was done fingering, he continued to blow some weirdly shaped things.. wind instruments, over an electrolooped track. Then he played the guitar and sitar for us. His set was versatile, entertaining and quite the experience. Quite the opening act that Mike Dawes deserves. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist.
Then Mike Dawes took the stage, even before he played a single note, he caught the audience’s attention with his witty English humor. He’s a master of finger-picking guitar! The young virtuoso, kept us involved through an hour and a half set. The music was brilliant, his performance was subtle and over-the-top (yes, even we don’t know how that is possible), and the jokes pretty fuckin’ good. It was like a stand-up comedy night with guitar tracks between the jokes. We laughed, we cried (not really), and had a dandy time! Dawes’ music is well composed, emotional and groovy. His fingers are the fastest we’ve ever seen, that when he mentioned his ex-girlfriend I figured that had something to do with them breaking up.
Point being, Beirut Jam Sessions did it again. They brought us another amazing musician in a flawless running night! We loved Kareem, Mike and BJs.. I mean BJS.