Archive for the ‘country’ Category

Roots Rock in Brooklyn
June 16, 2012

The Pete Sinjin Band
Bar 4
Brooklyn, NY
Friday, June 15, 2012
9:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Otsego took the stage with a variety of instruments, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, violin, harmonica, piano, electric bass, and drums. Their textured folk rock instrumentation could have been improved perhaps only by substituting upright bass for electric.

By the second song, Otsego settled into a steady tempo, the strong bass drum inspiring foot stomps on every beat. Though a little tentative, you could tell they were having a good time. Even band members who were not mic’d were singing along at times, taken away with their own music.

The six-piece band demonstrated the breadth of their talent by switching instruments. The fiddle player picked up the banjo. He traded the banjo for the acoustic guitar. The harmonica player jumped on the piano. Four of the six sang.

Yet, the variety of instruments was somewhat undermined with a rhythm guitar-heavy mix. The color of accompaniment is in the banjo and harmonica. The intrigue of counter-melodies is in the fiddle and lead guitar. Partly the soundman is to blame, but better equipment, for example, using pickups instead of mics, would have helped.

The true potential of Otsego is in the song-writing and the vocals. Several songs wound themselves into a circular repetition of memorable and heart-heavy lines: “I would still take a bullet for you.”

The up-tempo songs featured back-up vocalists doubling the melody and shouting back, call-and-response style, approaching the Avett Brothers’ paradoxical mixture of violent cheer — that aggressive, almost dangerous, slap-happy drunken revelry. The highlight was the three-part harmonies on the ballads.

Otsego crafted their set well, ending with a genre-bending cover and a drinking song. The lead singer and rhythm guitar player went “Mutemath” at the end of the show, pulling out drum sticks and doubling on toms and cymbals.

Pete Sinjin and his band followed with a four-piece country rock set. The lead singer played acoustic guitar and sang with confidence about hard-won love: “My mouth is full of blood, but my heart is full of poetry.”

The bass player was solid and so was the drummer, although he could have backed off on the snare during the more gentle moments. The lead guitarist was a heavily bearded gentleman who had that desirable tone, gritty overdrive with bright reverb.

What set The Pete Sinjin Band apart was the lead guitarist’s work on the electric slide guitar. He could solo, play counter-melodies, accompany, and explore the soundscape with effects, all of it tasty and tasteful.

On the corner of 7th Ave. and 15th St. in Brooklyn, Bar 4 offers a conservative but solid list of beers on tap and hosts music events many nights of the week. It’s a cozy place and boasts a piano on the modest stage. Friends and family gathered on couches in the front while others lined the bar and stood in the back by the foosball table. Take the F or G train to 7th Ave.

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Pete Sinjin
Bar 4