Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The Lost Crusaders at the Loving Cup Cafe, Brooklyn NY 1/11/09

Alana Amram & the Rough Gems opened, bringing a welcome sunny summer feel to a raw, nasty winter night. The latter half of their set was a soaring, fun mix of upbeat, major-key country-inflected songs. On Blackest Crow (it’s on her myspace; it’s got the same melody as the old Irish standard Rye Whiskey), they took a stark tune and made it a big anthem, bringing up half the crowd to gather around the various mics onstage and sing. Amram’s a fine singer, projecting strongly with a high, clear voice and an excellent band behind her including electric guitar, electric piano and pedal steel. She gets extra props for playing a twelve-string and managing to keep the thing in tune.


The sound in the back gallery, which had been absolutely pristine for Amram, took a sudden nosedive when the Lost Crusaders hit the stage, and it took a few songs to get everything right. But bandleader/harmonica player Michael Chandler and his tight backing unit (rhythm section, guitar, organ and a baritone sax player who doubled on keys on a few songs) didn’t let the late hour or the technical difficulties phase them a bit, barreling through an intense, high-energy set of twelve songs that proved their repertoire considerably more extensive than just the songs on their excellent debut cd Have You Heard About the World (reviewed here last year). Their songs are classic 60s style gospel delivered with a manic garage rock feel. Chandler (formerly of pioneering cowpunks the Raunch Hands) is a natural frontman and makes what he does look easy: the only indications that he was working hard were the sweat pouring down his face and the roar from the speakers. A lot of gospel involves testifying to the crowd, but other than just a brief ten-second interlude toward the end of the show, Chandler simply let the music summon the spirits. Didn’t take long for that to happen, with a pummeling version of the lickety-split I Don’t Ask Why. The bouncy I Don’t Believe You began with a tastily portentous Link Wray style intro. Chandler then invited Amram up for a duet on two songs, the first a sweetly swaying version of Arthur Alexander’s soul ballad Love’s Where Life Begins.


Predictably, nobody was dancing (this was Williamsburg, after all – forget about dancing, just cracking a smile in this part of town will earn you glares of disapproval). Until finally a couple of gay guys went up front and that finally loosened everybody up. Music like what the Lost Crusaders plays resonates in your muscles, the best thing you can do is not to fight it and just let it move you. The high points of the set were a roaring boogie number capped by a volcanically noisy guitar solo (the first of only two of the night for these guys) and a sprint through Where Did It Go, a straight-up gospel number from the latest cd. Watch this space for upcoming shows; in the meantime the band has a couple of free downloads on their myspace that you should get your hands on before they disappear.

January 13, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , ,

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