Concert review: Chris Eldridge & Julian Lage (4/8/2014)

Sometimes you see a show that’s not just really good, but it really hits the spot: maybe it’s the relaxing show when you’re all wound up, or the difficult music when you’re feeling up for a challenge, or maybe it’s the Cubanos Postizos when I have a back spasm (…you’ll just have to trust me on that one). Whatever the case may be, tonight was one of those shows. I had a bizarre and sudden illness last week that had me ending up in Urgent Care with a prescription for some heavy-duty meds, leading to a long weekend spent in bed and missing no less than three concerts I was really looking forward to. Thankfully, I was able to get myself back in shape for tonight’s show, a guitar and vocal duo of Chris “Critter” Eldridge and Julian Lage at Passim in Cambridge. It turned out to be exactly the sort of fun, relaxed, easy-to-enjoy yet still top-notch-quality music that my slightly pathetic self desperately needed to hear. New and interesting enough to capture my attention completely, but familiar enough to be comfortable. Perhaps you’d like to listen to a piece from their new EP while you read? Check it out:

I’d seen the duo play a short set in January at the Deadly Gentlemen’s Ball, so I had a good idea of what to expect: serious technical mastery of the guitar, and some (more…)

Concert review: The Deadly Gentlemen’s Ball (Peter Rowan, The Deadly Gentlemen, Joy Kills Sorrow, Chris Eldridge & Julian Lage) (1/25/2014)

Saturday night was the first-ever Deadly Gentlemen’s Ball, a one-night bluegrass festival hosted at the Sinclair right here in my hometown of Cambridge. The Deadly Gentlemen are a local bluegrass-ish band, and they were playing host and curator for the whole night as well as contributing a couple of sets of great music. The other acts on the bill included a duet of Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage, a band called Joy Kills Sorrow, and the Boston-born bluegrass legend Peter Rowan.

First up was Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge – I’d seen each of them separately (with Gary Burton and the Punch Brothers, respectively) and thought they were both excellent guitarists, so I was looking forward to seeing them perform together. They did a great set (maybe even my favorite of the night) with music representing a variety of genres (mostly on the bluegrass< --->jazz spectrum), some instrumental and some with vocals. As an encore they did a lovely version of “Someone to Watch over Me,” which I filmed in spite of a rather chatty crowd:

The next band to (more…)