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N.Y. hardcore venue CBGBs host summer acoustic shows
CBGB’s and OMFUG has been known as the temple of punk rock for nearly 29 years. This staple of underground music is located on Bowery Street in New York’s East Village.
Bands ranging from the Ramones and Blondie to even Shakira have graced the stage since the club’s inception in December 1973.
Over the years it has made a name for itself by giving unknown bands a chance. Owner and founder of CBGB’s Hilly Kristal had one rule for bands: they had to play their own music (too bad Britney!).
However, today it is CB’s 313 Gallery, adjacent to the old bar, that has become the creative outlet for aspiring musicians.
Although separated by only a wall and a swinging door, the Gallery resembles nothing of its counterpart.
The Gallery is dimly lit with finished wooden floors, booths and plush couches. Towards the back, a small stage is set up accommodating mostly acoustic acts and smaller bands.
There is a cover charge of $5 to enter on most nights, but it’s well worth it as you can usually catch three to six different performances.
Desperately seeking something to break the monotony of summer nights, the decision to check out what CB’s acoustic scene had to offer came sporadically.
Sets included singer-songwriter Zac Maloy, former front man for the 1990’s alternative-rock band, The Nixons. Skidmore College sensation Jeremy Borer also played a set.
One of the final performers to take the stage was a short guy going by the abbreviation JB. There he stood at 5’7,” dressed in jeans and a red thrift shop t-shirt that was somewhat fitting, considering his name and his sole possessions being an acoustic guitar and microphone.
JB seemed nervous from the beginning as he fumbled for his guitar cord and quickly tuned. From the first utterance he sang and strummed accordingly he had the audience’s full undivided attention.
Jonathan ‘JB’ Briggs is a recent college grad from Cornell University, who started out as a bass player with no formal musical training.
After performing with several different bands, he changed to guitar, which served as a more practical tool for his songwriting priorities.
Unsatisfied with his initial experience, Briggs started his own band, Tobie, which allowed him to both play guitar and be active as songwriter.
Tobie built a successful following, selling out clubs in the Ithaca area, N.Y., as well as opening for the Pat McGee Band in April 2001. During this time Briggs began writing acoustic material designed for his solo debut, “Captivated.”
Briggs energized the crowd with his up-tempo guitar licks in songs like “Reality Blind” and “For The Night.” His style and sound is most easily comparable to that of John Mayer, Jack Johnson or Duncan Sheik.
His first album “Captivated” boasts ten original tracks, all of which were performed during his acoustic tenure this summer at CB’s.
JB also showcased his vocal strength during “Short Of Conscious,” which proved to be a crowd pleaser by the level of applause.
Briggs is set to perform Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. at CBGB’s 313 Gallery again, should you happen to be in the metro area.