Concert review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band (11/19/2013)

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band made a rare visit to Cambridge last week, making their first appearance at the Sinclair in Harvard Square. For an extra treat, the show was mercifully inexpensive, a fraction of the ticket price of the other two times I’ve seen them in the Boston area: just $10 including all taxes and fees. Awesome! They had no trouble selling out the 500+ capacity venue at that price. The Sinclair’s standing-room-only setup is also a huge improvement on the other Boston shows I saw, which were both seated at extremely sedate venues which allowed no dancing whatsoever. There was no shortage of dancing at the Sinclair! It’s really becoming one of my favorite mid-size venues in the area.

The Sinclair’s habit of shining lights directly into the front rows of the audience made my camera pretty worthless for most of the show (“Enjoy this five minute video of BLINDING LENS FLARE!“) but I did manage to get one pretty cool shot of Clint Maedgen chilling out with his gorgeous white saxophone while listening to a piano solo.

Clint Maedgen

PHJB always puts on a fun show, classic New Orleans jazz that makes you want to get up and dance every time. Highlights of this particular set for me included “St. James Infirmary,” which they did a sort of double take on, with (more…)

Concert Review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Della Mae with special guests Dr. John & Noe Socha (7/26/2013)

The WGBH-sponsored Boston Summer Arts Weekend put together a nice three-day festival of free music along with a few paid ticketed concerts for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to attend the outdoor events. I was excited about the Friday lineup, but I wasn’t able to get there early enough for the outdoor show; instead, I picked up a ticket for the late-night “After Dark” event held in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Copley Plaza. I’d never been to the Fairmont before, and I was a bit startled by the decor – I think the interior designer must have had a brother who owned a chandelier factory and a sister specializing in gilt application. I felt a bit out of place, especially arriving at the end of a very long day which included getting stuck outside in the rain for 40 minutes. The fancy venue made for a fairly staid concert setting, which is a shame, because the music was very lively and fun – in most music venues people would have been dancing the night away instead of sitting at tables with white tablecloths drinking $12 glasses of wine and feeling awkward. (Er, maybe that was just me.)

The first band on stage was Della Mae, an all-female Boston-based bluegrass band. They’re a relatively young band (their first album was released in 2011) but they are very talented and the performance was really tight and a lot of fun. They invited another local musician, Italian-born Berklee student Noe Socha, on stage for a song or two, including “Trouble in Mind” which I caught on my camera:

I had never heard of Mr. Socha before, and I was very impressed with his performance as well. He plays blues harmonica and guitar (as you can see in the above video). The whole first set was excellent from top to bottom, and my only criticism is that they should have been allowed to play longer instead of giving us such an unnecessarily long intermission. Della Mae will be touring quite a bit of the U.S. in the next few months; you can check out their tour dates by clicking here.

The headliner of the show was the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who I’ve seen twice before. (The last time I saw them was an absolutely epic show in a bowling alley attached to a (more…)