There sure are a lot of Swedes in town this weekend. You’re probably going to some cool Halloween Party on Saturday night but, if not, or before, you might want to head over to Sound Fix to see Jens Hammelmann at the Sound Fix Cafe. He is master of the "complicated drumming technique" and will be giving a free demonstration and lessons. If you’ve ever wanted to master a 30+ piece kit with three kick drums, now’s your chance. He’s also got a DVD for sale too. Here’s the promo for it:
It will be worth going just to see if Hammelmann can fit all his drums on the small Sound Fix stage.
"We’ve never played a record-store-slash-bar before. This could make for dangerous shopping." — Grant Olsen, Arthur & Yu.
When the conditions are right, the cafe at Sound Fix, with its tin ceilings and inviting atmosphere, is one of the best places to see a show in the whole city. Certainly Arthur & Yu, who are in the same sonic ballpark as Luna or Acetone (by way of Nancy & Lee and the Everly Brothers), benefited from the room, making for one of my favorite shows of the year so far. The Seattle duo (Olsen and former Rogue Wave-r Sonya Wescott), here fleshed-out to a quintet, were in the middle of a three day stop in New York as one tour ended (Iron & Wine) and another was about to begin (Great Lake Swimmers) and were nice enough to play this free show.
As I said, their sound — twangy, kinda druggy, old school harmonies — is perfect for Sound Fix’s back room which was full but not so packed as to warrant the removal of the tables. You could sit back, drink your tea (or a PBR) and mellow out to the warm vibes and melodies, man. We got a full, ten-song set: eight from their excellent, underheard debut, In Camera, and two new ones, "Ball Vs. Feather" and "Three Horses" (which is not a cover of the Joan Baez song from what I can tell. Not that you thought it was.).
In Wescott’s own words, "[Arthur & Yu] might be the shyest band in the business" but she kept things interesting with a wide variety of instrumentation — melodica, electronic autoharp, and those whistling tubes you swing over your head all made appearances. I would even go as far to say that I liked the live versions better than the album (which was recorded as a demo), all the songs got fleshed out slightly, but not so much that it detracts from the magic in them originally. Setlist: Flashing the Lobby Lights | Afterglow | Come to View (Song for Neil Young) | Half Years | Three Horses | There are Too Many Birds | Ball Vs. Feather | 1000 Words | Lion’s Mouth | Absurd Heroes Manfestos