I'm kind of a newer fan of Ari, but definitely got the pleasant surprise of seeing him perform last night at my college (Grand Valley State Unv, outside of Grand Rapids, MI). We had this big end of the year concert last night with a bunch of local bands & a couple headliners: Allister & Reggie and the Full Effect. A friend and I went, more out of curiosity & cos we love live music (honestly, punk/rock/hardcore stuff isn't my thing). In between sets, the emcee was introduced as "Ari Heiss", and I didn't think anything of it. But then he came up w/ his guitar, and was like, "Actually, it's Ari Hest." It took me a second, but then I realized that I had heard of him before, had actually downloaded (and loved) a few of his songs off this blog. The flyers for the concert hadn't even said anything about him! So he performed a couple of his songs ("Come Home" being one), and no one was really paying attention, cos he was basically filler music. But I was kinda freaking out, because I recognized him and his voice is really amazing. He performed later too in between the sets, and he did a cover of Rufus Wainwright's "Hallelujah", which was simply wonderful.
The best part was, I got to meet him afterwards. :) I just told him how much I had loved his stuff, asking if he was on tour, etc. He said how bizarre this whole thing was, because he was the emcee for a bunch of bands whose music was possibly 100% different than his. haha But he was very friendly and down to earth. It was definitely the highlight of my night.
So yea, all that just to say, I'm a big fan now. He's definitely one of my favorite newer artists I've "discovered." Glad to find a comm where I can spread the love. :p