I'm not sure why it is that I wax despicably verbose whenever I'm writing for Amie Street, but I sure seem to. A piece I wrote about The National just got published there, and I realized that although I've been listening to them incessantly for the past few months, I've never bothered to mention them in this space.
So...I've been listening to The National a lot lately.
BTW, now is a great time to give Amie Street a shot if you've been resisting thusfar, as they've recently won deals with some really great labels. Not only can you get all The National's stuff there, but now they've got Interpol, Belle & Sebastian, and a whole bunch of other awesome new arrivals.
"We're called The Raptors," Sarah Pedinotti was saying to the comfortably packed house, "like the dinosaur. The second most vicious dinosaur. We would've been the first, but T. Rex is already a band. A really good one."
"Isn't she so cute?" the lady behind me was asking her date. "Isn't she so funny?" I would've been more annoyed if I didn't completely agree, and if I weren't so busy bemusedly recapping in my head all of the serendipitous discoveries I've made at The Living Room. I swear to God, every time I go there someone good is playing. And every once in a while, someone great is playing.
It just so happened that on this particular Saturday night, just as I was getting ready to call it an early night, the crowd began to swell in familiar anticipation, coaxing me to stay a little longer. "One song," I said. "We've got seats, there's no reason not to give them one song." An hour later I found myself unable to remain seated as I applauded, glancing hopefully up at the sound booth, hoping to see the sound guy give a permissive nod, hoping for one more song.
The Sarah Pedinotti Band has been performing as a unit for some time, but that fateful Saturday night was, I believe, their first show under their new moniker. Something about "the hatching." They played a bluesy brand of folk rock, delivered crisply, competently, and with a we-know-exactly-how-good-we-are swagger. They left me breathless.
Sarah can write, she can sing, and she owns the stage. Her lyrics are whip-crack smart, and she's mesmerizing all the way up and down her dynamic range. The band? Glad you asked. The drummer's done time in the Empire State Youth Orchestra, the bassist's played in one of Trey Anastasio's bands, as well as with David Bromberg and a host of others, and the keyboardist is an accomplished jazz pianist. The guitarist's resume doesn't shine quite as brightly, but he makes up for it by rocking the shit out of shit. These guys can play. Really really play. Throughout the course of the night I caught myself, slack-jawed and breathing through my mouth, in awe at each of them at least once.
I wish you could have heard what I heard Saturday night. I wish you could have seen what I saw. Since you can't, you'll have to settle for some songs streaming at myspace.com/sarahpedinotti (I guess they haven't gotten around to changing the URL yet), which pale in comparison to their live counterparts, but which will have to do. Listen to "Limousine" and "Locomotive" first.