Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: Ninth House at Hank’s, Brooklyn NY 7/18/08

The house was absolutely packed, especially since the smokers for once weren’t hanging outside the club: it was too hot. It was warm inside too, even though the air conditioning was running full blast. Tonight Ninth House sounded like a good Doors bootleg: say what you want about Morrison, but the band was great, especially live. Ninth House frontman Mark Sinnis has a similar dark baritone croon, although his band has a punk/postpunk feel with alternately country and classical overtones, switching between their self-styled “cemetery and western” and a more ornate, stately, often majestically powerful vibe. What differentiates Ninth House from the legions of Nashville gothic bands, and postpunk bands, is that they jam. Not in the way that Phish or the Moe would jam, everybody soloing at once and making fools of themselves. This band jams like a great blues or jazz band, with a lot of remarkably smart, beautifully lush interplay. You can tell that everyone in the band is listening to each other and playing off each other, and having a lot of fun. The high point was at the end of the slow, haunting minor-key blues song Jealousy, where Sinnis’s bass and Matt Dundas’ piano traded off for several minutes, slowly building to an evil crescendo that Sinnis ended coldly and somewhat brutally. And then it was over.

 

Otherwise, they roared through a typically powerful set, opening with the crashing, distorted guitar chords of the anguished anthem Long Stray Whim, following with another roaringly furious song set to a swaying country beat, Your Past May Come Back to Haunt Me, and eventually the long, artsy ballad When the Sun Bows to the Moon. Their violinist Susan Mitchell, one of the most exciting soloists in town, was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it, but Dundas stepped up delivered. After over an hour onstage, they closed the show with their usual final number, a punked-out version of Ghost Riders in the Sky which in this band’s hands is truly sinister rather than cheesy.

 

Hank’s is a great place. The sound tonight was crystal-clear, hard to imagine when you see this dump from the outside. There were no door Nazis with ID scanners – and no underage kids – inside either: it’s hard to imagine that a busload of post-prom children from some rich New Jersey suburb would find this place enticing. It’s just as hard to imagine a better time at any show anywhere in New York on what was such an otherwise depressing, lethally hot night.

July 19, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews

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