Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Kotorino at Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn NY 4/13/09

“It’s like they’re all Sufjahn Stevens,” a seemingly part-time band member (he played guitar and sang on a handful of songs) remarked. He was joking, of course. Other than the fact that pretty much everybody in Kotorino plays several instruments, they have about as much in common with Sufjahn Stevens as they do with Miley Cyrus. Alternately playful, haunting, phantasmagorical and carnivalesque, they came across as a cross between El Radio Fantastique and the badly missed Dimestore Dance Ensemble. In the course of just under an hour, the guitarist moved to harmonium, then banjo, then acoustic bass guitar, back to banjo and ended up on the harmonium. The violinist doubled on acoustic bass guitar and then acoustic guitar, taking a turn on lead vocals with a fetchingly ragtime-inflected lament, girl meets boy, girl loses boy and then wonders what to do next. The harmonium player doubled on accordion, the trumpeter switching to acoustic guitar for a song toward the end. Only the drummer stayed in one place, which was probably a good thing because somebody had to hold things together.


They started slow, swaying and off-kilter, like Dimestore’s tongue-in-cheek, Satie-esque swing but with more going on. Their bouncy, oldtimey songs have the same jazzy, saloony vibe as much of Tom Waits but without any of the stereotypical, over-the-top Waitsisms that so many imitators find impossible to resist (or replicate, for that matter). A jaunty, minor-key number featuring the violinist on bass and a soaring trumpet solo railed against “the way it has to be.” The next song began with an amusing and absolutely spot-on dub reggae rhythm, building to a dark, central European-inflected ballad that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Melomane songbook. They wound up the set with a rustic, upbeat yet ominous country banjo song – “There’s a sky in my eye, it’s on fire,” the frontman sang nonchalantly – and a harmonium tune in French which seemed to be an original. What an unexpectedly fun way to spend a drab Monday night. Kotorino is back at Pete’s for the next two Mondays, April 20 and 27, winding up their residency there: if you’re in the neighborhood, you could do an awful lot worse.


April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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