Concert Review: The Underscore Orkestra (3/29/2013)

I was very excited for the Underscore Orkestra concert at Lilypad here in Cambridge – I saw them for the first time almost a year ago in the same venue, and they were brilliant. And in spite of severe post-Australian-tour jet lag, they gave us an excellent show again this time around. I was pleased that they played a longer set than last year, so we got to have an extra dose of fun.

They’re one of those bands that can write songs that sound like standards, so I can’t always tell how many of their songs are original and how many are interpretations of older tunes. Their music tends towards somewhat “old timey” genres – gypsy jazz, swing, klezmer, etc. – which adds to the feeling that everything they play is about 80 years old. Mind you, they never sound dated! They remind me a bit of the wonderful Ghost Train Orchestra in that they play old styles of music with a modern touch that makes it sound fresh to 21st-century ears.

I took a video of a song they did early in their set – it’s called “Honey” and it’s from “A Little Bit of Magic in Every Batch…

After that they moved on to what might be my favorite song of the night, “It Ain’t Right,” which was introduced with a story about one of their band members having to take some time off the tour due to being burned in a fire at a Beltane festival. (There’s probably a very obscure and specific PSA to be made about this sort of incident.) You can click here to hear what I believe is the original version of this song from the 1930s. The Underscore Orkestra’s version was much more lively and modern, of course! Other songs I particularly enjoyed were “Devil with the Devil” as well as the last song they did, which was a very fun sing-along number that I don’t know the name of. They had everyone in the club singing and clapping along and generally having a great time.

Another fun part of this concert was that they had invited some dancers to perform with them, including Hybrid and the brand-new-to-the-scene Urban Nomad Dance Co. They really added another interesting layer to the mix.

The Underscore Orkestra has just started out on a big U.S. tour which is hitting about 25 cities in 15 states, so if you like what you hear, please check them out! (Click here for tour dates) In addition to the highly entertaining musical performance you will be treated to, you can also buy things like homemade underwear, mustache wax, and music boxes at the merch table. And how could you pass that up? đŸ˜‰

Bonus material:

Since I mentioned them earlier and I think they might appeal to the same sort of music fan as the Underscore Orkestra, here is a beautiful pro-shot video posted recently by the Ghost Train Orchestra from a concert I went to in Boston last summer. Enjoy!

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