Ripe. Have you ever heard of them? If not, it’s time you discovered who they are before they get famous!
Most of you know me pretty well by now. I see a lot of concerts! In fact, this concert was #49 of the year for me. I know a good live show when I see it, and Ripe is a GREAT live show. YOU MUST GO SEE THIS BAND! Keep reading to find out why, as well as to learn more about The Baby Grand in Wilmington, DE.
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THE VENUE – THE BABY GRAND
The Baby Grand is the smallest of three venues inside The Grand family of venues in Wilmington, DE. Copeland Hall (which is the mainstage) holds 1,140 and is the home to The Delaware Symphony, Opera Delaware, and the First State Ballet. The Playhouse holds 1,252 and hosts a number of Broadway musicals each year.
The Baby Grand only seats 305 and was once the location of the historic Aldine Theater built in 1921. Located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, it’s part of a re-emerging downtown area that features restaurants, shops and music venues.
The Aldine Theater closed in 1970, and most of the building was knocked down in 1992. In 2000, The Grand acquired the lots and what was left of the building, and opened The Baby Grand. The theater sits on the first floor of the building, with offices, rehearsal and teaching space on the floor above it.
Tip #1: Downtown Wilmington is pretty easy to get around in. You can usually find parking on the street. If you don’t find parking on Market Street, try one of the cross streets. Parking on the streets is free after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all the time on weekends. There are also several garages nearby that are very reasonable in price.
There are a few restaurants in the downtown area if you want to grab some dinner before the show. On this particular night, we went to the Chelsea Tavern.
Tip #2: The Chelsea Tavern is located directly across the street from The Grand and The Baby Grand.
The Chelsea Tavern has a very large beer list. They also have a nice selection of wines and other cocktails. There is a bar area as soon as you enter. The restaurant area is further inside. There are booths that run along both sides of the restaurant, with a few tables in the middle that can accommodate some larger groups. There is another room downstairs, which was hosting a private event on the night we were there.
Tip #3: The restrooms are located downstairs. Go down the steps and walk to the end of the hallway. The restrooms will be on your left.
The service at Chelsea Tavern is great. Our server was very attentive. In fact, there was a mix up with my husband getting one of the beers that he ordered. She ended up giving him the beer (although late), but still taking it off the bill without us even asking. We started with the chicken nachos as an appetizer. It was a good sized plate – not too much, but enough for two people – and had large chunks of chicken. For entrees, I got the duck with potatoes and mushrooms. My husband got the buffalo chicken sandwich, which was served with three types of fries – regular fries, sweet potato fries and onion sticks. His only complaint was that the three types of fries probably each needed different amounts of time in the fryer, so none of the three was cooked exactly right.
Inside The Baby Grand, there is a bar area with some seating. You are permitted to take drinks inside the theater.
Tip #4: The bar closed fairly early during the concert. They came through and made an announcement prior to Ripe taking the stage, that the bar would close in 20 minutes. Be aware, and get your last drinks ahead of time.
The theater itself almost feels like being in an high school theater. It’s tiny! There doesn’t appear to be a bad seat in the house.
Tip #5: Our seats were in the second row in the center section. We had seats 101 and 102 on the aisle. There were no seats in front of us, which meant we had an unobstructed view of the stage and plenty of leg room.
Fronted by visual artist Aaron Martin and The Weeks’ guitarist Johny Fisher, Okey Dokey was formed a couple of years ago. Martin and Fisher decided to start making music together in Fisher’s small cabin about 20 miles outside of Nashville, which is where the band is based. The band features musicians that come in and out from other bands including The Weeks, Sol Cat, Desert Noises, Diane Coffee, and Wild Child.
In their music, Okey Dokey has mixed their love of classic Motown with psychedelic storytelling roots to create their unique sound. The band released their debut album – “Love You, Mean It” – on January 27th of this year.
Okey Dokey took the stage just after 8:00 p.m. The crowd was pretty small and pretty mellow. The guys were a lot of fun and interacted with the crowd. While I didn’t stand for their set, I did a lot of toe tapping, and really enjoyed the music. Their second song – Low Rent / Blue Skies – definitely had a Motown feel to it.
Okey Dokey was a lot of fun. Their guitarist even had an ugly Christmas sweatshirt on for the show. They played a couple of new songs. After introducing her as their “only friend”, they also brought Liz Cooper of Liz Cooper & The Stampede (which is another band out of Nashville) on to the stage to sing a song with them.
All in all, I really enjoyed the band’s set. I had listened to them before the show on Spotify to get familiar with their music, and found their stuff to be a little mellow. My opinion changed when I heard the music live. It had much more life to it. They are worth checking out!
Ripe is based out of Boston, MA. The band is made up of Robbie Wulfsohn (vocals), Tory Geismar (guitar), Jon Becker (guitar), Sampson Hellerman (drums), Josh Shpak (trumpet), Calvin Barthel (Trombone), and Nadav Shapira (Bass).
The band describes themselves as a dance/pop-funk band. The truth is, their live shows are one big musical party!
I first discovered Ripe during the Levitate Music Festival this past July. You can check out my review of Ripe’s set, and the rest of the bands from that day here:
There are so many things to love about Ripe! First, their front man – Robbie Wulfsohn – is amazing. Not only does he have a great voice, he is a true entertainer. He gets the crowd involved in the show and is full of non-stop energy. The other thing I love about Wulfsohn is his pure love of what he does. When we saw Ripe at Levitate, Lake Street Dive was the next act on stage after them. Robbie was in the crowd dancing with the rest of us – just loving the music. Last night while opener Okey Dokey was on stage, Robbie was hanging out on the side in the audience dancing and loving the music.
In addition to Wulfsohn, the band is full of talented musicians who are having a great time. Their energy is contagious! You can’t help but stand up and dance during one of their shows.
Ripe took the stage shortly after 9 p.m. After opening with “Stanky J’s”, they went into my favorite song – “Caralee”. I love the horn section on this song!
The band kept the audience on their feet and dancing all night long with a mix of songs from their EP’s, new songs from their upcoming album, and covers (including a cover of “Lola” by The Kinks). I loved the way they incorporated some covers into their own songs as well, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication”.
Ripe has all the ingredients to be a huge success. If you haven’t seen them live yet, check them out. They are small enough now to have to pack up their own equipment, write their set lists on paper plates (see below), and hang out and chat with their fans after the show. They are truly nice guys who love what they do and appreciate their fans.
Ripe is in the process of completing their debut album, which will be released early in 2018. You can pre-order the album now at www.PledgeMusic.com/ripe.
In the meantime, be sure to keep up with them on social media, and stay updated on their tour schedule at www.RipetheBand.com.
When we asked the band about writing the set list on a paper plate, guitarist Jon Becker told us that they usually don’t have paper around, so they just grab whatever they can. Here is the set list from the show. Click on any of the links to download the songs from Amazon.
Set List: Stanky J’s, Caralee, new song, Talk to the Moon, Lola (The Kinks cover), new song, Ex-Life, Brother Sky, Little Light, On My Mind (Ellie Goulding cover), Downward, Goon Squad, Pretty Dirty (In the Fading Light) Encore: Ladies Night
Have questions about seeing a show at The Baby Grand? Want to know more about Okey Dokey or Ripe? Are you a fan of any of these artists? What do you think? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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