Musician Chris Staples brings his Living Room Tour to Wichita this evening, March 7. The veteran musician's latest release is 2016's acclaimed Golden Age.
Tickets for his performance at Ellis Street Moto, 310 S. Ellis, must be purchased in advance. The event gets underway at 8 p.m.
Tell me a little bit about the decision to do a house concert tour.
I've been touring about 20 years doing, playing all kinds of venues, clubs. I started doing solo music about eight years ago, performing solo on guitar and other instruments. I've found houses to be better listening environments for this type of music. I found a company, Undertow, they organize house shows on a large scale. They do online ticketing for these shows. I still play clubs sometimes with a band, but when I tour solo, I like to do houses.
What is it like for you in terms of the performance? I would imagine, on one hand, it's very intimate, more so than a club. On the other hand, you're really in there with the audience at the same time.
It's very intimate. I find that I have conversations and get to know people a little better than if I was playing in a club. There's no barrier between the audience and the artist. It's very different. People usually feel like they've had a little bit more of a social experience than in a club. It's very up-close-and-personal.
How do you go about selecting the sets for shows like that? Is this something where somebody might shout something out that you don't normally play and you begin to play it? Or do you go in with a set idea of what the show will be?
I usually make up a setlist for my tours, but on this tour, I actually created a hotline and people will call in and leave a message, just to give me a little bit of time to practice the song and make sure I remember it if it's an older song. That's been a fun way [to do this], using outdated technology. I have a voicemail, people call and leave a request for their song. It's pretty fun.
Are you ever surprised by the requests or do you usually have a pretty good idea of what they're going to be requesting?
I'm not usually very surprised by it. Occasionally, somebody will pull out a song that's really old, but usually, it's something I know.
Are you traveling by yourself?
Yep, traveling by myself. I have a van. I have a little living room set up inside of it where I can sleep at night. That usually works out pretty good. I'm in Montana, well actually Wyoming, and it was -20 a couple of nights ago, so I've been sleeping inside on the first week of this tour.
How do you occupy the time in the van since you're by yourself?
I listen to podcasts, I actually listen to music. That's pretty much it. Just listen to music and stare out the window. Usually. [Laughs.]