Blown away from "The Other Europeans" in Somerville, MA last night
An amazing show by "The Other Europeans" in Somerville, MA last night. The place was packed on a Tuesday night, much to everyone's astonishment and delight. (Well, the dancer's might have wanted more room)
The band plays a mix of lautari and klezmer music with an intense energy level, and with an ability to improvise together that continually blows me away. So many members of the band are famous in their own right, from Kalman Balogh, king of the Hungarian tsimbl, to Matt Darriau, best known as the reed player for the Klezmatics.
The killer moment in a killer evening, for me, came on a duet featuring Matt and bassist Mark Rubin (perhaps best known for his alt.country band, the Bad Livers). I have simply never seen anyone attack a standup bass with such ferocity such that Darriau pushed his own clarinet faster and farther than he may have known he could do (Rubin's playing, and his effect on his bandmates are well-known--a performance a couple of years ago with Andy Statman at the Ashkenaz Festival was my personal highlight of that festival). But the whole damn band was like that--14 people at times, crowded on a bandstand that seems crowded with half that number.
It was the sort of concert so transforming that people took a very long time to leave. We all had to stand around talking about what we'd just heard, and sharing the joy of being at a concert so intense and wonderful. And, of course, this was also the sort of event that turns into a social occasion—everyone who loves this kind of music was there, it seemed, so a lot of fun catching up happened in the afterglow of the fiercely great music.
At our tables we just enjoyed the concert—we didn't do any filming or recording. But you can catch last week's concert at the National Yiddish Book Center on YouTube (clip below)