Matt Hires/Jason Castro/Caitlin Crosby at The Ark

A lot of people call American Idol a "guilty pleasure." But, for me, that shit is good TV, and I feel no guilt for loving every minute of it. I've watched since season 1, and even though I still think Kelly Clarkson is the biggest and best artist to come from the show, I still have my favorites each season.

In season 7, one of my favorites was Jason Castro. Those dreads, that ukulele...I was impressed.

I was really happy to hear that Jason was coming to Ann Arbor's The Ark as a support act for Matt Hires. The Ark - less than an hour from Toledo - is a venue I've wanted to see for a long time. After buying tickets to a couple of canceled shows there, I finally got to see the inside when Jason, Matt, and Caitlin Crosby played the venue. The Ark is now definitely one of my favorites. It has the intimate feel of a club and general admission without the hours of standing (the venue has seats). The acoustics are great, and you can tell the artists love playing there as well.

Caitlin Crosby performed first. While I'd never heard her music before, I was quickly impressed by her lyrics and witty personality. I bought her CD as soon as I got home.

Jason Castro performed next. He was one of my favorites on the seventh season of American Idol, and I was really looking forward to his set. He introduced several new songs from his debut CD, but the highlight was his cover of Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, a track he covered on Idol as well.
All I knew about Matt Hires' music before the concert was from a duet he recorded with one of my favorites, Sara Bareilles. I really enjoyed his set, though, and look forward to hearing more from him in the future.

After the concert, I noticed a "fairy door" on the entrance doors to the venue. I'd read about these unique designs that are located throughout Ann Arbor, but I'd never seen one in person. Pretty cool.

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