This lives in the realm of the ridiculous….I somehow have never dedicated a post to my friend Louie Bello. If you’ve never heard of Louie, I’m sorry-you’re missing out. I first met Louie in May 2010. It was a friend’s birthday and somehow, I’d been convinced to make the trek to Boston to see Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees at the Hard Rock Cafe. Why I agreed, I’m not sure. My boyband love began and ended with 5 bad brothers from Beantown. I digress…there was a pretty good turnout that night. This show happened at the height of my renewed NKOTB love, so bear with me as I set the scene. As I’m impatiently waiting for the show to start, I see the opening act, Louie Bello, glide onto the stage. I say glide because he was really just that smooth approaching the mic. My first impression of Louie? He was dressed like Joey McIntyre, in his grey pants, vest, suspenders and fedora…and his Chucks. I liked where this was going. He opened his mouth to sing, which led me to my 2nd and 3rd realizations. He had a beautiful voice, like Jordan Knight…and the way he moved and interacted with the crowd proved that he had Wahlberg-esque swag. I was hooked. 3/5 of my favorite manband all rolled into one. While those were my initial observations, I realized almost immediately that Louie is unlike other performers, he’s definitely got a unique vibe. Frankly, he’s also easy on the eyes. I know, pics or it didn’t happen…so I snagged this from his Facebook page (I didn’t take this, it doesn’t say who did):
After a really fun set (and after Jeff Timmons pulled a bunch of us on stage during his set), I wandered over to the merch table. I had decided I needed to buy Louie’s CD. There was a line to get the CD signed, so I waited my turn. We had a chance to chat and I realized that he’s as charming off stage as he is on. I’ve been following Louie ever since. Lately it’s not as often as I’d like it to be, but Boston is a 90+ mile hike for me, so I did have to scale it back a bit. Over the last 2 years, I’ve gotten to know most of the major players in the Bello project. Louie is talented all by himself, but when you put him with the myriad of talented musicians that he works with on a regular basis, it’s pure musical magic. I can’t talk about the Bello project without mentioning Louie’s sister, Lisa. This woman is a POWERHOUSE. She can SANG. She’s fun, funky, fiercely loyal to her friends and family and one of the nicest people I’ve met. They work with amazing producers and composers but the bottom line here is family. Louie’s parents come to just about every show. This is a tight-knit bunch.
With all of that said, let’s fast forward to last night. Louie had mentioned to me that he was going to be doing a special “thing”. It was going to be small, exclusive and recorded to be part of a press package to be sent to potential venues. I waited for details and all he really told me was a date, time and place. Knowing that everything they do is a good time, I RSVPed that I’d be there, with a couple of friends. My fantastic gal pals Trish and Amy came along for the ride. We got into Boston a bit early and decided to grab a bite at the place where everybody knows your name. Quick aside, did you hear Rhea Pearlman and Danny DeVito are getting divorced? Sad panda is sad. Anywho, we met up with my Boston buddy Cara and wandered over to try to find the club, Market. We finally spotted it and the doors were locked. There was someone inside but they just stood there and stared at us. We finally knocked and were informed that we had to walk around the block to the other entrance.
Once we made it inside, we were greeted warmly by Louie. He’s always very appreciative when you take the time to come to one of his events and it shows. There was only one other person there besides the camera crew (my friend Nick and his partner) so we intro’ed ourselves and took a seat. If I’m being honest, I initially felt sort of bad for Louie, it seemed like there was nobody there. Then I learned he’d only invited about 30 people because he wanted the setting to be intimate. Intimate it was! It was really nice. He was solo last night, no band. He ran through a setlist from one of his regular shows, mixing old music with tracks off of his current album, some unreleased music and even a couple of covers (Set Fire To The Rain!). He cited Adele as being a major inspiration to him and expressed his desire to record a track with her for his next album. There were a lot of sing alongs, lots of crowd participation and even an injury. Yep….I’m the genius who busted a blood vessel in her finger clapping too hard. Ha! That’s what happens when you wear a massive ring and clap against it.
After about an hour, they were finished filming. Louie asked if we would all mind being interviewed, and we agreed. They took turns asking us questions and we were, of course, hilarious (would you expect anything less?). We mingled with the rest of the folks for a bit afterward and the bartender offered us a drink. We all had a cocktail and the bartender’s 13 year old son went up to the mic. I almost dropped my drink when he started singing, I’ve never heard anything like it. He’s in a band called the 21st Century Fugitives. Shortly after, we decided it was time to head home. Amy had to work today (sorry love!) and I didn’t want to get home too late.
All in all, an amazing time, as usual. I think my favorite part of this is that the 2 friends I brought with me didn’t know anything about Louie and now they’re fans. Like Louie says, one fan at a time, and he’s right. If he keeps on making the music the way he does, his fan base is going to continue to grow. Someone give him a record deal already! Also, be sure to check Louie out next time he’s in your area. I’m working on getting them to Western Mass.
If you want to keep up with Louie, you can check him out HERE. His albums are available on iTunes, or you can pick one up at one of his shows.