The Acoustics CD Release at Hamilton’s AGH Design Annex: Review April 25 Edition

I love the AGH Design Annex. The flexibility of seating (ie. folding chairs), the simple, clean bar, and the modern art on display combine with the knowledge of being in an “older” building. All these work together to create a favourable location for an intimate musical performance. Now all you need is to add some fine music.

The Acoustics launched their new CD Erie Long at The Annex last night. I’ve written previously about the band’s background here. It was a pleasure to be welcomed by Al Spoto once again and to be introduced to the other band members Enzo (guitar, vocals), Richard (drums), Bonnie (violin) and Andrew (acoustic bass).

The band was joined by the lovely Ally Jedrzejek on vocals.

The audience appeared to contain lots of family and friends of the band, totalling about fifty in number. The friendly banter of the musicians with the audience and with one another, including the occasional poking-of-fun, kept the atmosphere friendly and fun.

The Acoustics have lots of experience from their ten years of making music, and they were obviously well-prepared for tonight’s show. They have a polished sound that is largely defined by the interaction of the violin and the accordion, with an ever-present, subtle rhythm guitar. The musicians communicated well: beginnings were confident and endings were spot-on.

The sound levels were well-balanced and not too loud for the size of the room. I was surprised to see the main speakers placed back in the corners of the room, far away from and behind the musicians, rather than the usual close placement at the front of the stage area. Perhaps there were mitigating circumstances because of the room’s acoustics, I’m not sure. In any event, there were no problems with distinguishing any of the parts.

It was a good choice for Richard to keep to the cane sticks. It allowed for the subtle timbres of the other instruments to come through. He played an exciting solo which raised the excitement level just in time for the final two numbers. There’s an opportunity for him to cut loose a bit more to create some variety.

The lighting was controlled throughout the show in order to sync with the music. That was a very nice touch which is often ignored. Lighting is extremely important, especially when there are beautiful people and instruments to look at! It got a little too flashy for my tastes a couple of times, but only because there was no constant flood light to temper the flash contrasts against the darkened room. There were absolutely no other technical problems whatsoever.

Without question, the highlight of the show was the vocal selections sung by Enzo Spoto. For such an introspective musician, it must give him a wonderful sense of relief to be able to express his feelings in song and lyric. He put his all into delivering those songs.

I wonder where Enzo’s songwriting will take the Acoustics? Is there the possibility of doing further work with Ally? She would shine as a featured soloist in this setting, and the two of them would be brilliant doing selected duets. With the two of them sharing vocals and including some duets, the Acoustics would bring even much more to the stage. With so much talent equally tempered by experience, I see no reason to hold back.

As it is, the Acoustics have got a wonderful, unique sound. Al’s accordion and Bonnie’s violin blend beautifully through all of the huge variety of songs they play. At times I closed my eyes and felt like I was in a fine restaurant in Paris, or at a wedding reception for a billionaire. The Acoustics have that quality and presence that makes them suitable for all kinds of entertainment settings.

Pick up your copy of Erie Long now.

Glen T Brown is the creator of Google

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