This Week’s Debut Sunday Salon at Zirzamin – Slow But Auspicious

by delarue

This past weekend’s debut Sunday Salon at Zirzamin got off to a slow but promising start. Slow because there was only one subway line running between Manhattan and Brooklyn, promising because the playing was inspired. Cellist Calum Ingram saved the early part of the evening from being a total wash. Blues played on the cello always sounds good, but this guy’s blues are more funky than most. It’s obvious that he’s at least had an exposure to cello jazz, as well, as he and his cajon player spun through slinky polyrhythms and biting washes of microtones.

Then Rick Snyder made a welcome return to the New York stage; a prominent member of the old Banjo Jim’s scene, he’s been off the radar for awhile. But not anymore. On the spur of the moment, he invited Ingram up to join him for a bluesy Levon Helm-type number, and the cellist completely transformed the song with more of those lusciously uneasy harmonics.

Moments like that one are what the Salon is all about. The premise of the night is to give good songwriters and instrumentalists an opportunity to cross-pollinate and discover artists like themselves, in a supportive environment that operates on a high musical level without the endless parade of amateurs and creeps who tend to take over wherever there’s an open mic. There’s no cover charge for the Salon, and the public is always welcome to come out and watch the performance in the lowlit, Twin Peaks ambience of the club’s intimate back room.

After the salon, which runs from 5 to 7 PM, there’s a show by an invited artist or band. This past Sunday’s show featured dark Americana rocker Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons playing a rare acoustic set.

This time out, Leckie mixed it up. Backed by J Wallace on bass and Hugh Pool wailing as intensely on acoustic guitar as he typically does on electric, they opened with The Everywhere Man, a creepy serial killer chamber pop song from Leckie’s brilliant new collaboration with Anthony Haden-Guest, Rudely Interrupted. They revisited that offhand menace with the absolutely gorgeous, bittersweet piano ballad Happy City, channeled late-period Marc Bolan with Rainbow and You’re So Cool, and ripped through slightly quieter-than-usual versions of the snarling Canadian gothic Language of the Night and Ontario. Leckie and her band are playing the album release show for the new album on Nov 12 at 7 at the Mercury, with the excellent , intense Molly Ruth opening. The next edition of the Sunday Salon is on the 11th at Zirzamin (Houston and LaGuardia, downstairs) starting at 5 PM, followed at 7 by a rare acoustic performance by well-loved third-wave psychedelic rockers Love Camp 7.