Singer/songwriter Nick Flora

Latest

HOUSE SHOW TOUR – FALL 2011!

Have a house? Does that house have a living room? Like live music? Enjoy fun times with friends and the occasional stranger?

If you answered yes to at least 3 of those questions, you’re in luck! Here’s the rundown of deets: It’s $5 per person with a minimum of 20 paying attendees (if, for example, there are 30 people it’s $150). You can ask your guests to contribute or cover the cost yourself. I play a one hour concert. Beyond that, it’s up to you. You can make it an all night event or have people leave as soon as the music ends. Your call. I just ask that the hour I’m playing, people are sitting and listening.  If you have a place for me to stay, I might take you up on it, but if not, no worries.

Please email booking@nickflora.com and I’ll let you know when I’m coming to your area.

If you live in the midwest, south, or southeast US then you have a pretty good shot at booking a show but I’m open to playing anywhere! Sounds like fun, eh? I agree!

These shows will be spread throughout the months of August, Sept, Oct, and Nov of 2011, let’s make it happen!

If for some reason you’re not up to date or familiar with my music here’s a sample of what you’ll get (outfit and witty banter may vary):

Thanks!
Nick

Advertisements

Make It Out Alive

Here’s a new song I wrote and recorded yesterday for a short film I’m scoring.  I think it turned out nicely.  Enjoy! 🙂

POST MINI-TOUR WRAP UP!

I set out about a week ago on the very familiar interstate 40 west for a work week’s worth of shows.  First stop was Conway, AR @ The Greenhouse.  I’ve played The Greenhouse a few times and it’s more fun each time I play there.  If you’re ever self-booking a tour, a good rule is to book end it with shows in towns with good friends.  Adam Hambrick and Taylor Weston shared the bill with me which made for a super fun show.  My buds Jon and Katie came to the show (after my incessant bugging and telling them that they never come to shows anymore) they took a pic for proof.

The next tour stop was a house show in Lawrence, KS where I was taken under great care of by Mark and Heather Miller.  Really sweet people who opened the show as well.  Met some new fans, and got to make some as well!  All in all, super fun time.

On the way up I killed the 5 hour drive by listening to the audio book of the hilarious and well written “Bossypants” by Tina Fey (read by Tina herself!)  This made for a perfect drive.

Friday night, I was slated to play in Springfield, MO but as things sometimes do on tour, the show didn’t come together well.  Thankfully I had good friends in town to save the day!  I ended up going to see stand-up and star of NBC’s “Community”, Donald Glover perform a free show at MSU!  It was a fun time and hilarious, annnnnd… a little dirty.

Saturday night was spent with some of my favorite people in St. Louis at Foam Coffee & Beer.  Foam is a cool little coffee shop close to downtown and was the perfect venue for this tour.  My longtime pal and former tour-mate, Owen Pye played too.  Always amazing to see him perform.   Got to see my old friends Jon and Christy Shell, Ross and Lindsay Brand, Todd and Juliette Genteman, Josh and Kim Jones, Dave Johnson as well as a few family members that have never seen me play!

Overall there were some long-ish drives, annoying gas prices, and sometimes sleepless nights, but the fun that was had, the people I met, and the music shared, was WELL worth it all.  Thanks to all who came out!

Nick

Showzens!

Hello blog readers,

I’m very excited because since ‘Hello Stranger’ has come out the shows have been amazing!  Great turnouts, fun crowds, great response!  NEXT WEEK I return to Central Arkansas since the release shows in February, as well as a couple other places I’ve been dying to play, so if you’re in any of these areas come see a show!

Tuesday, April 5th – Conway, AR @ The Greenhouse w/ Adam Hambrick & Taylor Weston (221 Baridon)  – 7:30pm
Thursday, April 7th – Lawrence, KS @ House Show (1490 N. 1082 Rd) – 7pm
Friday, April 8th – Springfield, MO @ Front Porch Cafe (310 South Avenue) – 8pm
Saturday, April 9th – St. Louis, MO @ Foam Coffee & Beer w/ Owen Pye (3359 S. Jefferson Avenue) – 8pm

Let’s do this!  1-2-3 break!

Nick

My Favorites of 2010: Film

Unlike years previous (*cough*2009*cough*) this past one was a pretty outstanding year for film.  Almost every genre was covered by a handful of strong contenders of legitimately well constructed compelling pieces of cinema.  It wasn’t easy to narrow down, but here are my choices for “Top 10” of 2010.

10. Catfish


When I saw the trailer for ‘Catfish’ initially I thought it would be another ‘Paranormal Activity’ type docu-thriller.  But instead what unfolds is an intriguing look into the lives we present to the world via social networking sites and how far some escape into them.  If ‘Social Network’ is the film of our generation, ‘Catfish’ should be it’s companion film.  While many argue that it’s contrived and faked, I’d say those people are missing the point.  Fascinating film.

9. Best Worst Movie


It happens a lot these days.  Being famous or known for some piece of art that is bad or embarrassing.  There are 2 ways out: either going into denial and get angry at the thing, or embrace it’s hilarious awfulness and the adoring “so bad, it’s great” crowds. This film does the latter in full force.  Best Worst Movie is a documentary about “Troll 2” a terribly terrible “horror” film made in the 80’s that never saw the light of day but copies of it’s awfulness made it’s way into circles of adoring fans who embrace it’s atrociousness.  The documentarian is one of the “actors” in the film and follows his journey to reunite the cast and crew and bring a reunion to the fans who have made it a “cult classic” for all the wrong reasons.  It’s an interesting look into nostalgia, denial, and being able to laugh at your past, no matter how embarrassing it may be.

8. Kick-Ass


Superhero movies are coming out in droves these days.  I am a bit of sucker for them, even the really bad ones.  There’s something about ordinary people rising above evil and taking on extraordinary circumstances.  That’s exactly what the movie Kick-Ass is about.  I really didn’t expect to love this movie as much as I did, but the truth is I likely didn’t have as much watching any other movie this year.  It’s not breaking any new ground story wise but it’s fun, aware of itself, action packed, and at times laugh-out-loud funny.  It also has one of my favorite performances this year by Chloe Moretz as “Hit Girl”.  [Warning: there is a lot of language and graphic violence involving teens and kids (in Hit Girl’s case) if that sort of thing isn’t your thing.]

7. Easy A


I’m a sucker for teen comedies.  It’s a fact.  They’re the guilty pleasure that I don’t feel that guilty about.  Can’t Hardly Wait: Check. 10 Things I Hate About You: Yes. Mean Girls: Si. “Easy A” is no exception.  But it’s also not your normal dumb teen flick.  It’s a smart, hip, true to form homage to the teen films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe.  The plot is pretty normal teen romp plot filled with pretty people misunderstandings and good intentions gone bad, but underneath it’s got a great sense of humor, a brain and heart.  Emma Stone is completely in her element with the quick wit dialogue and rounds it out with a great supporting cast.

6. Exit Through The Gift Shop


What is art? Who decides what is art?  How much do outside influences guide our brains in making those decisions?  This documentary takes the viewer on a journey into the world of illegal street artists and the people behind it, and introduces us to Banksy, the illusive master who’s as famous for being mysterious as he is for his art.  Beautifully made doc.

5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World


Movies are supposed to be fun.  Sometimes I feel like the industry forgets that.  Especially when awards season comes along.  Movies are also supposed to make you think, bend your expectations, and break rules (even the ones they set for themselves.)  Every few years one comes along and does all of those things.  This year, that movie for me was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  It’s a modern day fairy tale of sorts with all the fun pop geek culture references and winks you can handle.  Great casting, fantastic direction and sharp writing.  All around one of the most re-watchable movies to come along in a while.


4. True Grit


When I heard that the classic western ‘True Grit’ was being remade, it worried me.  When I heard that the Coen Brothers were behind the wheel, I got excited.  Re-imagining an iconic film and/or adapting a classic book is not an easy task and the Coen’s did both in one film.  Gorgeous filmmaking thru and thru.

3. Inception


What else is there to say about ‘Inception’ that hasn’t been hashed and re-hashed and argued back and forth for months now by nerd on message boards across the net?  It’s a new world of cinema and Chris Nolan is at the helm, and thank goodness.  I love a good twist, turn, spin, and levels stacked upon levels until I’m wincing from my brain hurting trying to piece together the puzzle.  Nolan and guys like him (JJ Abrams, Edgar Wright, etc) are ushering in the “new cinema” and ‘Inception’ is just the kick-off, and that excites me.

2. Toy Story 3


I’m a sucker for nostalgia and the art that evokes it.  The newest installment in Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ saga brings nostalgia and knowing when it’s time to “grow up” to a new level.  Like most of us, I saw the first film as a kid, and finished the trilogy as an adult.  ‘Toy Story 3’ manages to wrap up a great trio of story lines, compel and entertain it’s audience while poetically commenting on the idea of community.  Not to mention turning grown adults to streams of tears.  You’ve been warned, it will happen.

1. The Social Network


Sometimes I hate agreeing with the masses and jumping on a bandwagon, but when a film is as good as David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ is, there’s no denying it.
It’s compelling, riveting, extremely well written by Aaron Sorkin, and has a dynamite cast to boot.  I love how much a movie about the beginnings of a simple website (that changed everything) can be told so dramatically and almost Shakespearean.

My Favorites of 2010: Music

10. Discover America – Future Paths

Discover America is former Twothirtyeight frontman, Chris Staples.  I’ve followed his music almost from the beginning and it’s been a rewarding trip.  To hear him grow from the kid playing emo/punk at Furnace Fest a decade ago to a thoughtful, searching and introspective songwriter has been fascinating.  His latest release, ‘Future Paths’ further showcases Staples’ growth as a musician while documenting his journey as a late 20 something into a early 30 something and all the thought provoking turmoil that comes along with that.
Standout tracks: Force of Proper Wind, When You Were Young, Time Is A Bird

9. Lakes – The Agreement

Northern California pop/rock outfit Lakes’ latest release ‘The Agreement’ is a good 5 years in the making.  At it’s best it’s as catchy as it is sincere, on the other end it tends to drag in keeping the listener’s attention.  The songs that are great are GREAT, but there are a few “worth skipping” tracks.  Singer Seth Roberts has a raw honesty about him that makes you absolutely believe what he’s singing.  Almost like it’s the last song he’ll ever sing.  That’s a gift that I wish more modern singers would encompass.
Standout tracks: Heart Is An Anchor, Oh Lovely, The Ghost And The Man, Back In Your Head

8Dustin Ruth – Learn How To Love Someone

Washington based singer/songwriter Dustin Ruth is the Lloyd Dobler of indie songwriters.  The songs are sweet, noble, and ring honest. Ruth pulls his influences from Jon Foreman to The Beatles. In a business where everyone is exhaustingly trying to break new ground and stand out, sometimes you just want to hear good songs with solid structure and melody.  That’s exactly what ‘Learn How To Love Someone’ offers.
Standout tracks: Honey, Trouble For You Girl, Close Your Eyes

7. Vampire Weekend – Contra

Vampire Weekend had my #3 album of 2008 with their debut, and even though they’ve gone down a few notches on my list this year, they still know how to crank out fun, quirky, schoolboy indie/rock that is begging for a spot in a Wes Anderson film soundtrack.  ‘Contra’ is infectious, plain and simple.
Standout tracks: White Sky, Holiday, Cousins

6. Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

There’s no denying that the musical landscape right now is full of bands that sound (and dress) like they just came down from the mountain and are out of razors (ie: Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, Mumford & Sons) but Dr. Dog does this type of folk/rock really well.  ‘Shame, Shame’ is a mix of the driving bass and upbeat drums (and tambourine) along with the multi-layered harmonies and simultaneous alternate melodies and the heartfelt ballad.  Never under estimate a simple yet well timed piano hook.
Standout tracks: Unbearable Why, Stranger, Later

5. The Weepies – Be My Thrill

The third proper release from the folk/pop husband & wife duo might not be their best, but it’s certainly strong on it’s own.
‘Be My Thrill’ is chocked full of hooks and crannies that being just enough pop to satisfy that musical sweet tooth,
while managing to attach heart and honesty to it as well.
The Weepies do this kind of folk/pop as good as anyone and ‘Be My Thrill’ showcases that expertly.
Standout tracks: Be My Thrill, Hummingbird, They’re In love, Where Am I?

4. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild HuntSometimes The Blues Is A Passing Bird EPWhen you first hear ‘Tallest Man on Earth’ the obvious comparison to Bob Dylan is almost all you can hear.  By the second and third listen, the record starts to open up, and you get lost inside the images swedish singer/songwriter Kristian Matsson paints so effortlessly.  It’s very stark, only using voice, acoustic guitar, and banjo for most of the instrumentation but it serves the songs well.  ‘The Wild Hunt’ is a perfect summer driving record, especially somewhere rural.
Standout tracks: The Wild Hunt, King of Spain, The Drying of the Lawns

3. Jarred McCauley – Giants Among Men

Admittedly, I’m a little biased to this record since Jarred has been my best friend for the better part of a decade, and he let me sing some really high BGV’s on a couple songs.  But all that aside, ‘Giants Among Men’ is gripping and real.  It’s a beautifully dark, wonderfully hopeful look at a time long gone but hardly forgotten.  A time when chivalry and honor meant something and couldn’t be handed off, but had to be earned.  Jarred paints some amazing pictures of the old west and relates them back to present day in a relevant way without coming off “cheese ball” or trite.
Standout tracks: Clean Your Guns Boys, Letters, I Was A Cowboy

2. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo

If there was a record that owned me completely this year, it was Brandon Flowers’ ‘Flamingo.’  Overall this record is a love letter.  To his home town of Las Vegas, to his wife, to his friends, to his fans.  It’s a gorgeous and bold look into his heart that he has willingly placed on his sleeve.  I was never a huge fan of The Killers, because I always felt like they were trying to be the biggest band in the world, and I couldn’t relate to that.  This record breaks down and absolutely show Flowers’ vulnerably honest side.  On some tracks he channels Johnny Cash and U2 simultaneously and without effort. Flowers is a true artist and it’s never been more clear than this recording.
Standout tracks: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,  On The Floor, Only the Young, Magdalena

1. Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue

It should come as no surprise that my favorite album of the year involves Mr. Ben Folds.  I can’t help it, no other artist speaks my language more distinctly than this guy.  When I first heard that Ben was collaborating with novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, etc) I was intrigued but not hoping for anything of true merit.  I was completely wrong.  ‘Lonely Avenue’ is sharp, heartbreaking, and all out gorgeous writing.  Sure, irony, wordplay, and snark abound, but the record truly shines in it’s most intimate moments. Whether it’s a nine year old dealing with her recently divorced parents at her birthday dinner, or an upper middle class man trying to figure out how to appease his nagging wife’s pleas to tell the neo Nazi next door to shut his dogs up, or a rock ballad from the view point of almost two-time vice presidential “son in law” Levi Johnston telling his side of the story, each track is a different “short story” that you can’t wait to read again.
Standout tracks: Levi Johnston’s Blues, Claire’s Ninth, Picture Window, Your Dogs


Runners-Up:
Here are some records that I think are good but didn’t grab me enough to flesh them out.Perhaps next year?

The NationalHigh Violet
Jars of Clay The Shelter
She & HimVol. Two
Taylor SwiftSpeak Now
Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People & Age of Adz

Top 5: Comedies That Shaped Me

I’m a nostalgic person, this is no secret. But I think this time of year allows for a little more of the “sweet reminisce” than others.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the art, music, films that shaped me early on in my more “impressionable” years, and how in many ways my tastes haven’t changed.  And also in many ways I’ve evolved greatly.  This post is one in a short series of blogs highlighting/bullet pointing some of the pieces of pop art that made me who I am today (in small ways, and in some cases rather substantial.)

The recent passing of Leslie Nielson, got me thinking of some of the early comedies I watched that helped shape my sense of humor.  If you didn’t know, I make jokes. Kind of a lot.  In fact, if that’s news to you, we probably don’t know each other at all.  Humor is always something that’s come easy to me and a great deal of it is attributed to my hilarious family (on purpose on my dad’s side, and a little more “genuine” on my mom’s.)  But outside of that, watching people be funny helped me learn how to hone these attributes and senses and fine tune them into something…useful (for lack of a better word.) And as a young lad, movies were exactly where I learned such things.  Here are a few off the top of my head:

Airplane!

My dad first showed me the 1980 comedy “Airplane!” when I was a pre-teen.  He told me it would make me laugh harder than I’d ever laughed before.  He was right.  This was my first introduction into “dead-pan humor” and the “double entendre” and oh, what an intro it was.  Leslie Nielson is iconic in this film playing, as always, the “straight man saying ridiculous things.”  My favorite though was Lloyd Bridges and his flamboyant assistant who always had an absurd quip to kill me.  “Airplane!” might not have been the first “parody” I’d seen, but it began my love for them.

Three Amigos

There probably wasn’t anyone who made me laugh more as a kid than Steve Martin.  I memorized his comedy albums and watched anything he was in.  Well, anything my parents would let me.  In many ways “Three Amigos” is a perfect comedy.  It’s got all the classic comedy standbys: Strangers in a strange land? check.  Bumbling idiots who mean well finding themselves in constant streams of misunderstandings? check. A bad guy you love to hate? check. Randy Newman as a singing bush? check.  And not to mention 3 of the funniest comedians of their day: Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase.  I learned one of my favorite comedy gags in this movie, the “stating something big and important followed by something highly anti-climactic.” Works every time. Almost every scene in this film makes me laugh, and the lines are instantly quotable.  Now, that’s a good movie.

The Princess Bride

I’ve seen The Princess Bride more than any other movie ever.  It’s my dad’s favorite movie, and got played on rotation daily in the Flora house.  My brother and I would re-enact scenes from it verbatim in the car on trips, voices and all.  This movie is a great example of a parody done right.  Nothing too overdone, over the top, or too ridiculous.  Just the right amount.  In the end the film was what it was parodying, and that’s just good writing.  I had a favorite character every other time I’d watch it as a kid but you can’t go wrong with Andre The Giant as Fezzik, or the classic veteran character actor Wallace Shawn as Vincini. “INCONCIEVABLE!”

Waiting for Guffman

I didn’t see 1996’s “Waiting For Guffman” til I was a little older, sadly. But it’s a favorite nonetheless.  Easily one of the best American comedies ever made.  The concept follows the now popular “mockumentary” style and is 80% unscripted. Writer/director Christopher Guest shines in this department and this film introduced me to the concept of saying funny things without the punchline and instead letting the audience decide where the funny in each scene is.   Some classic moments throughout, and some really amazing and hilarious character work that still holds up.

Tommy Boy

1995’s “Tommy Boy” opened a lot of comedic doors for me.  Not only did it introduce me to Chris Farley and David Spade but also to ‘Saturday Night Live’.  I had never seen SNL until this movie came out and I found out that the two lead actors were on this show and you could see them EVERY WEEK.  Being raised somewhat sheltered from such things as, ya know, TV in general, this blew my mind.  I’m not a huge fan of overkill slapstick but Chris Farley was a king in that realm.  So effortless, so graceful, just like a dancer.  If the dancer was tearing off car doors, and falling thru coffee tables.  As much as I watched this movie for Farley’s antics, it was David Spade’s sarcasm that really had me rolling.  This might be the first taste of blatant sarcastic wit I witnessed and needless to say, I embraced it.

While I love all variety and genre of film, something about a well timed joke or an awkward reaction holds a special place in my heart. There’s something very honest, ethereal and innate about the sense of humor.  I love the way it seemingly comes out of nowhere and, if done right, hits the spot every time.