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April 24, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Dan Tedesco can’t call for backup while he’s on stage. He only has an acoustic guitar, a keyboard and a homemade percussion instrument. Built by a friend, this instrument sounds like someone stomping on a wooden floor. Tedesco thrives off of his minimalistic approach, and he never fails to entice the crowd.
WHEN: Sun. 8:30 p.m., $5
WHERE: Mojo’s, 1013 Park Ave.
Tedesco has been making music since he started taking piano lessons at age 4, and he’s picked up influences along the way from classic rock legends such as Van Halen.
But now he’s settled on a show that is folk to the core reminiscent of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams. Tedesco sees music as a conversation, and he wants to give his audience plenty of time to respond, something he calls “talk back.”
“You have to treat it like you’re talking to someone,” Tedesco says of playing on stage. “Let people have a moment to process it and move on. Otherwise, the most awesome stuff you played will go through their ears.”
More than that, his passion for jazz has shaped him into a master improviser. Depending on the energy of the audience, he can play any given song on his acoustic guitar, or he might switch it up and play it on piano.
He calls music a living thing — an analogy that parallels the adaptability of his artistry. Music also facilitates a conversation between the performer and the audience, Tedesco says.
“You shouldn’t be going through the motions,” he says about performing. “Even if it’s a very specific arrangement, you still have to take that and make it a living thing. And what you don’t play is often more powerful than what you do play.”