Coffee shop lineup brings buzz

Common Grounds’ March artist lineup includes Ellie Holcomb, Switchfoot, Colony House, Jenny and Tyler, Blue Water Highway Band and Honest Men (pictured). Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

The most recent Common Grounds hashtag, “#springlineupstrong,” suggests the beloved music venue has a number of talented artists booked for the month of March.

This month’s concert series kicked off Thursday night with Christian singer Ellie Holcomb. Venue manager and promoter for Common Grounds Taylor Torregrossa said Holcomb is one of several singers this month to offer a VIP experience for especially dedicated fans willing to pay a few dollars extra.

VIP experiences differ based on the artist, but Torregrossa said they can also include an acoustic set and a Q&A session. Colony House and Jenny and Tyler are also offering this VIP option for their upcoming shows.

“It’s an hour before the show, and there’s usually a small meet and greet,” Torregrossa said. “Sometimes artists like to spend a personal minute with every single person, take a picture, talk a little.”

Torregrossa said the Grammy award-winning rock ‘n’ roll band Switchfoot is the band that Common Grounds patrons are most excited about this month. The Facebook video announcing Switchfoot’s upcoming concert on March 26 has been viewed over 6,000 times.

“The response has been so great,” Torregrossa said. “Our Facebook post reached farther than any other post in the history of Common Grounds social media.”

Although Switchfoot has never played an official concert at Common Grounds, the band did surprise fans by showing up to play a few songs at the coffeehouse in 2014 after a concert in Waco Hall.

Colony House is the next band scheduled to make a stop at Common Grounds on March 14 as part of its “Only the Lonely” tour. Torregrossa said she expects this rock band to have a sold-out show as well. She said many Baylor students know of the band because Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman is the father of two band members.

“They are just really fun, great humans,” Torregrossa said. “I’m really excited that they’ve blown up, and everybody loves them, so I think it’s going to be a really great show.”

The only band that has never played at Common Grounds this month is an Americana group called the Blue Water Highway Band. Torregrossa said this group is her pick for an up-and-comer for music lovers to keep an eye on.

Zack Kibodeaux, lead singer of the Blue Water Highway Band, met one member of the band in his high school choir and another as a fellow opera major in college. He said that although he decided to go in a different direction with his music after completing his degree, the classical training he received still appears in his music.

“The three lead vocalists all have experience in choir,” Kibodeaux said, “so harmony singing has always been really important to us.”

Kibodeaux said those attending the March 17 concert are in for a fun experience. He said the band will be playing a mix of new material and old favorites that fans can easily sing along to.

“I’d like to think we ride the line between the show being an entertaining experience for everybody while also having quality songwriting and quality musicianship,” Kibodeaux said.

On March 30, the pop-folk duo Jenny and Tyler will play a concert and have a meet-and-greet before the show. Torregrossa said the musical married couple has an especially devoted fan base.

“It’s easy listening, beautiful songs, a lot of them faith oriented,” Torregrossa said. “That’s a really fun, low-key show — maybe a good date night.”

Finally, the alt-rock group Honest Men will take the stage on March 31. Two of the band’s members are current Baylor students, and two are Baylor alumni.

Since their first show at Common Grounds a year ago, Honest Men has expanded to playing at other college campuses and festivals around Texas. Singapore, China, senior Seth Findley, the lead singer of Honest Men, said the upcoming concert will be a kind of anniversary for the band.

“We want to make this Common Grounds show the best show of our lives,” Findley said. “Anyone and everyone needs to come.”

The group’s debut album, “Okay Dreamer,” was conceptually centered around the book of Daniel from the Bible. Findley said the band’s newer songs are very different, dealing with personal experiences of the band’s members.

Findley said they are especially excited to play their new single “Shoulders Back,” which asks and answers the question, “Am I OK?”

“With all of our songs, I want to write with hope as the underlying message,” Findley said. “My personal conviction is, I don’t ever want to write a song that leaves you feeling dry at the end. I want to elicit some kind of hope.”

Many of the concerts for March are part of the U-Pointe concert series. The apartment complex is also planning to sponsor a majority of the Common Grounds concerts in April.

Tickets are still available for every show this month on the Common Grounds website, although Torregrossa said she expects Switchfoot and Colony House to sell out within the next week. Prices range from $8 to $35 depending on the size of the band’s following and the option to purchase a VIP experience.