Live at The Hotel Cafe
September 23, 2009
There are many things I love about going to The Hotel Cafe, one of them being its close proximity to Amoeba Music. So after getting my quick vinyl fix and marveling at the irony that they seem to have more trouble selling CDs than keeping records on the shelf, I continued on to The Hotel Cafe to see about a new band from the U.K., One eskimO (no, that’s not a typO).
I knew little about this band prior to going to the show, but trusted the recommendation of a friend who said I should check them out. As it turns out, he was right – One eskimO is definitely worth checking out. Their songs are melodic and the audience was captivated. Their music is accessible enough for the mainstream, while the band manages to maintain their indie cred. That’s easier to do now of course than when they really take off (i.e. the current perception of Kings of Leon held by many).
And I’m willing to bet that once word gets out about these guys, they will take off. Or, if Alexandra Patsavas finds out about them, you’ll be hearing them on an episode of a hit series on ABC. Is Zach Braff working on a new movie?? He might want to secure this band for his next soundtrack. But what they (and you) should do is see them live. What you hear online might peak your interest, but their live performance will lock it in.
Another thing I love about going to The Hotel Cafe is that their sound system is really good (and often underutilized). Many of the musicians who play there play soft, quiet, songs. But when you get a real rock band in there (like Billy Corgan & Spirits In The Sky) or a musician who plays multi-layered soundtrack-esque music (like Imogen Heap or One eskimO), the room fills perfectly with sound and you get lost in it.
One eskimO sounded great. I ran into the lead singer, Kristian Leontiou, on his way up to the stage and I never would have suspected that voice came from him. In fact, several times during the show, I closed my eyes and pictured who was singing those notes. And not once did the guy I pictured look like the guy who was actually singing. One eskimO are refreshing like that. There’s a familiarity about them so you feel like you may even know the songs, yet there’s an originality to their sound and certainly to their live performance that keeps you engaged.
This is one instance when I wish I could have captured some video of the show. Unfortunately, Hotel Cafe has a strict no-recording policy which I respect and abide by (especially since I often spend more hours there than at my own house). The good news is, I hear One eskimO is stopping by LP33.tv tomorrow – they’re bound to get some great video.
Speaking of videos, apparently One eskimO is releasing a full-length animated film in conjunction with the album. You can read more about it on their website. Although, like some of the best movies, I often enjoy going in with little prior knowledge and no preconceived notions or expectations.
When the band finished their set, the crowd demanded an encore. And here’s where things could become disastrous. . . I recognized it within the first 3 notes. . . They were playing one of my favorite Neil Halstead (remember Mojave 3?) songs, “Hi-Lo and Inbetween”.
There’s nothin’ worse than a new band covering a song that was done perfectly in the first place (by the original artist). . . unless they get it right.
And they did.