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[Show Review]

Mike Wojniak at the Soda Bar 4/13/11

Reviewed by My Nguyen

Ignited by his music, Mike Wojniak resembles Popeye in the throes of an intense struggle. The grey beanie and the navy stripe shirt he donned Wednesday night at the Soda Bar did not help matters, but it would be Wojniak’s authentic stance on life and music that would set the tone for the rest of the night. With a tendency to fully immerse himself with whatever he is doing, Wojniak apparently does not half-ass anything.

Wojniak’s mellow and easy-going persona during the set, which consists of him on keyboard and acoustic guitar, and Andrew Gordon-Seifert on cello, sheds light on their unadorned but powerful sound. Stripped down to his signature melodies and emotional harmonies, Wojniak lets the music speak for itself.

A Columbus-based singer/songwriter, Wojniak began his music career as the front man for local acts like Harbor and Sheldon Marsh. He recently completed his sophomore release titled, Memento Vivere, (in Latin means “remember to live”) which undeniably lived up to its name Wednesday night at the Soda Bar—the crowd, sensing Wojniak’s intense and focused aura, continued to show their appreciation throughout the night.

“Woodlands,” which will be released in his next record, fully emerges as a folksy ballad that paints a picture of his native terrain. “Catching Snow in Our Mouths,” a track off Wojniak’s first record depicts a magical landscape through a solid backing from Andrew on the cello. The song steadily climaxes to a stucco-effect, a stop and go motion during certain intervals within the song, from both instrumentals. This creates for a visually and sonically dramatic image of falling snow skimming off an ice encrusted surface.

Stripped down to the barest essentials, Mike Wojniak’s music is powerful and engaging. He has an untouchable stance towards his music that definitely momentarily suspends time. His crowning achieving has to do with his ability to conduct an aura of extreme focus. Submerged fully into his music, his undistracted storytelling leaves no room for flighty relief and especially for a bar full of people who may have had one too many drinks—this level of intensity makes for a surreal and unusual effect that in no way belittles what was to become a crowd-pleasing set.

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