“I’m batman, but you can call me Bob.” This was one of the many jokes that accompanied Bob Schneider’s concert at the Downtown Artery on Thursday, August 25, where he engaged the audience with his hilarious banter and soulful music.
Before Schneider took the stage, Americana soloist Elise Wunder opened the night with a solid performance. Wunder, wearing a cowgirl hat with a big bird feather, did not need anything other than her guitar to win over the crowd. Her beautiful voice both lulled the crowd into a relaxed state and energized them with her broad and powerful vocal range. Her lyrics were poetic and coherent.
Schneider came onto the stage playing the Barney theme song, and the jokes did not stop there. Throughout the night, the crowd was laughing at his hilarious intermittent raps and anecdotes about his life, or just about the pants he was wearing. Schneider joked about his marriages, his sexuality and the crowd.
Schneider said he has been a recording artist for 25 years. He was a member of multiple bands including “Joe Rockhead,” “Ugly Americans” and “The Scabs,” and his songs have appeared in movies like “Miss Congeniality” and “Gun Shy.”
Schneider’s sound incorporates several genres of music including rock, country and folk. Listeners are attracted to his voice, which is strong and throaty. He has been forming his style for a while now, as has began playing music at a very young age.
“It was something I’d always done, but I never considered doing it as a career because I’d always assumed I would pursue art as a career,” Schneider said. “It was only when I got to university and realized how exciting the rock and roll lifestyle was that I got side tracked into trying it out as an actual job.”
Influenced by music legends like the Steve Miller Band, Paul Simon, James Brown, and the Beastie Boys, Schneider’s music, which was sometimes oddly sappy and cute, was just as enjoyable as his personality. The audience seemed to enjoy both sides of Schneider. He mostly played with just his acoustic guitar, but he also had a recorded version of the the guitar for some of his songs, which freed him up so to play percussion and harmonica.
During his concert, Schneider played most of the crowd’s favorites including “The Effect,” “Batman” and “Big Blue Sea.” Schneider also played an intimate song he had written for his baby daughter while she was in the hospital.
Schneider’s live performance was actually better than his recorded music. His voice seemed gentler live and the live acoustic guitar accompanied his vocals better.
Simultaneously, Schneider engaged the crowd with jokes and fuzzy feel-good music. Between the laughs and the love songs, it was an intimate night at the Downtown Artery.