Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

January 31, 2008

AeroPlane 1929, Low Anthem & More

Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton
January 26, 2008
By Eric Sutter

Music is sound arranged into pleasing or interesting patterns. This evening proved three distinctively different sounds could co-exist in an often inspiring manner. The triple bill featured a fine array of diverse talent from the Pioneer Valley and beyond. First up was Aeroplane 1929 from Springfield and New Haven. The 5-piece band at first glance looked like any number of indie-rock bands. The sudden impact of the opening song from their 2007 CD, "The Holy Ghost," with its persuasive sound permeated the core of the listening audience. Acoustic guitar slowly built the musical tension with the addition of lap steel, electric guitar, keyboard and cornet in succession. It was topped off with Alex Mazzafero's singing the red, white and blues. The quintet performed songs strong enough to break through radio's stonewall. The stampeding "Hounds at Heels" showcased a garage rocker with drummer Wil Mulhern's steady beat. Insightful lyrics and melodic guitar riffs evoked and transcended what could be ready radio play. The title cut, "The Holy Ghost" began with subtle finger snaps as the music swelled up to an upbeat crescendo of electric guitar and keyboard accented by a pleasant glockenspiel solo from Wil Mulhern.

Low Anthem from Providence performed in a mellow down easy alt-country style complete with a three part harmony sound. Diverse and versatile in styles that ranged from folk/country to roots rock, the trio employed acoustic guitar, harmonica, stand-up bass, banjo and clarinet to amazing effect. "The Ballad of the Broken Bones" and "A Weary Horse Can Hide the Pain" were moody pieces that lulled the audience into intense lyric listening. Multi-instrumentalist Jocelyn Adams bowed a banjo and played a clarinet solo in the course of the evening. Their vocal harmonies with the man out front were what shined and had the audience singing the A.P. Carter classic "Keep on the Sunny Side." moving bowed bass solo.

Vocalist Julia Suriano and acoustic guitarist Steve Biegner joined forces to enlighten and inspire with their wonderful music. The pop love song, "February's Moon Rise" was beautiful. Most of the evening was shared between this girl's gorgeous voice and this guy's brilliant guitar playing duets. The urgency of "The Water that Cut the Canyon" exposed their wide range in voice. It's not surprising with this much talent that they will play the lead roles in "West Side Story" at the Academy of Music on April 23-27.