Nicholas Altobelli: "I Learned How To Play Guitar On Pat Green Albums. Did I Just Lose My Indie Cred?"
If you've been around Deep Ellum for the past six months, you've probably heard about Nicholas Altobelli. This weekend is no different, as he's a part of the first annual Deep Ellum Big Folkin' Festival, along with The O's, Telegraph Canyon and Dovetail.
Altobelli shared his first show experiences with us, and it's not surprising Ryan Adams made a major impact on him.
What was the first show you remember seeing? Were you with your parents?
This is going to surprise a lot of people, but I didn't see many shows when I was younger. The first show I remember going to was Pat Green at the Smirnoff Music Center when I was in high school. Back then I was really into the whole Texas music scene before it turned to shit. My mom and I would go see him every year. Say what you want about Pat Green, he is one hell of a performer and knows how to put on a great show. I learned how to play guitar on Pat Green albums. Did I just lose my indie cred? Oh well, I don't care.
What was the first show you paid to see?
Wilco was the first show I paid to see. It was in 2006 at the Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth. One of the best shows I have seen them play. I also remember the great opening band. I can't remember their names. If anyone knows please let me know!
What was the first show that made a major impact on you?
Seeing Ryan Adams at the McFarlin Auditorium in Dallas in 2007 had a huge impact on me. I have been a fan of his for a while and it was like a religious moment for me. Everything made sense. The way the lights moved, the set list, the band (The Cardinals). Everything about it made me want to do that and write songs like that. I could see myself up there. I saw him again at the Nokia Theater or whatever it's called now, but it wasn't the same. I still listen to the bootleg of that show to this very day.
So far, what's the worst show you've seen?
It's really hard to say what the worst show I have ever seen is. I don't go to many shows, so I guess I save my time for the good ones. I can tell you one of the best shows I have seen was Natalie Merchant at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I wasn't even planning on going. In fact, I had no tickets. I won a Twitter contest and got front row tickets. It was really funny sitting in the front row with the die-hard Merchant fans. They would ask, "So what song are you really hoping she plays?" And I could only name you one of her songs. She and her bad-ass band performed songs from an album full of children's lullabies. In between each song, she would tell us about the author and their backgrounds. It was really an educational and unique concert experience. The next week, the wife and I bought that album and it has been one of our favorites. I would really suggest everyone checking that album out!
Lastly, what can you remember about the first time you played a solo show?
I remember my first solo show very well. I was taking a songwriting class in college and our final exam was to perform an original song at a coffee shop. I met Josh King from the band Raleigh in that class, who introduced me to Amber Farris. I was really itching to play a full show, so I set up a show at Dunn Bros in Addison with the newly formed Somebody's Darling. What I remember from that show is how right it felt playing these really awful songs. I also remember Amber singing a Beyoncé song. I really wish Somebody's Darling would put that back in their sets.
Nicholas Altobelli plays The Prophet Bar on Saturday, March 31.