I listened to his whole discography in anticipation as I rode the train into the city. It was about an hour and a half until the doors opened at a small Brooklyn venue but the line wasn't long at all; I was sure I'd be front row.
On September 28, 2019, I went to see Phum Viphrut live. Viphrut is a singer and songwriter from Thailand who sings in English. His voice is smooth and melodic and his songs are lighthearted often talking about young-love. Since Viphrut is not as popular in the States, he was playing a smaller venue, the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The venue did not immediately fillup but got more and more crowded the closer it was time for the headliner to come on. The venue felt more intimate and cozy. There was no barricade barring you and the stage. There were no curtains on the side to concert-goers view of people entering through the side. There was also a very visible door that the artists had to enter through to come on stage, either helping or hurting the excitement of the show, depending on your view of it.
There was one opening act who sang a lot of slow songs while playing the keyboard. Her voice was clear and booming, it filled the venue in a well-rounded way. There was a lot of depth to her voice and she could hold long notes, causing cheers and shouts to erupt from the crowd. Then 30 minutes later, Viphrut came on; there was an exciting buzz amongst the crowd. However, as soon as he began singing, disappointment washed away my excitement. No, it wasn't because he actually sucks at singing or turns out he's a lip-singer. When the main act came on, the sound quality became noticeably worse. It sounded muffled; the normally clear harmonies and angelic singing sounded muddled.
But what lacked in sound was made up for through his energetic and lively performance. Vihphrut often trailed away from the traditional track of a song and went off playing guitar solos and riffs. Whenever he did this, the crowd instantly got energized and screamed. However, where it was lacking in sound for vocals was made up for with instruments. Live, every instrument was distinguishable within a song, giving me a new experience and perspective of a song. The "tskkkkkkk" of the cymbals was followed along by the clapping of the crowd. The music and the crowd suddenly became one.
Viphrut was also very interactive with the crowd. He often took a moment between songs to tell a story. There was one point where he was talking about a song he wrote called "Softly Spoken." He explains someone posted what they thought are the official lyrics online with one of the lyrics stating, "I rolled this spliff for you." He clarified that the lyric is actually, "I wrote this riff for you." He joked saying to sing along to the song and that we could sing either lyric. It was a lighthearted and genuine moment in the middle of the concert that made the venue, crowd, and distance from the artist all the more intimate.
While the main performance point of the night was lacking to the venue's sound and speakers, it was made up through the energy of the crowd, the instruments, and the authenticness of Phum Viphrut. I'm sure if the concert was at a different venue with a much better sound, this concert would've been one for the books.