New York, spring has arrived at last and with it some stellar music to enjoy. About a year ago I interviewed Devin Mauch of The Ballroom Thieves. Unfortunately, I was unable to see their performance that evening. Luckily, last week my chance came to not only see the trio, Devin, Martin Earley and Calin Peters, work their magic but they were accompanied with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra (MYRO). It was a perfect mesh of amazing music that made the loss of Prince earlier that day a bit more bearable.
I was already deep in Brooklyn that night so my trek over to The Knitting Factory was a little difficult. However, the cool breeze and somber feel in the city made the journey that much more rewarding in the end. On the way, I passed Spike Lee’s block party in honor of Prince that was filled with the color purple, people crying, dancing and remembering the legendary man. That definitely distracted me for a bit too. Thanks to all of that, I arrived a bit late. However, entering the stage area, I was greeted with a loud and optimistic blare of music from The Ballroom Thieves and MYRO. Every part of the space was unleashing a wild and rambunctious amount of pleasurable noise. They were already in it all the way. The Knitting Factory was engulfed with loud cheers from the crowd that plastered a smile on everyone’s face. It was sorely needed that night.
My eye was immediately drawn to Devin’s transparent plastic wall that surrounded the backside of him and his drum set. I later noticed that there was a GoPro attached to catch the intimate moments of their performance. All of the young musicians of MYRO were positioned around the trio and were extremely focused on their music at hand. You had to admire their dedication and skill. Alongside the strings was the master of cello, Ms. Peters who continued to unveil a distinct passion on the instrument. Her closed eyes and hair swinging past her face only added onto her beautiful presence up there. Martin was commanding his music every step of the way, as he always seems to do. The blonde locks amplified his guitar licks and he sang harmonies with the rest of them. Honky-tonk blues mixed well with the orchestra as the entire collection of musicians won over some new fans.
True to their sound they kept that enthusiastic flair alive with a rootsty vibe. The sudden pounding of the drums with the pluck of the guitars was powerfully intense. The orchestra deeply amplified their whole sound. It brought their classic appeal in a grander scale. Everyone in the audience was moving smoothly with ease to the music. Their harmonies mixed into the strings of the orchestra were peacefully composed with a sudden jolt of stimulating rock. There was a grinding folk blend that unleashed their true colors with the additional musicians on stage. Harmonic yells were great for the soul of the night. Calin sang some solo songs and man, what a wispy and soulful voice she had. Listeners all got lost in her vocals. The Ballroom Thieves kept their feelings in line with their tunes. God, the stings were just as good as a full horn section at a blues show.
After a little bit, the orchestra left to give the trio their time together on stage. It is worth noting that Devin loved the duo disco balls on the ceiling of The Knitting Factory. He made sure the audience was well aware. There is your fun fact for the night. Holding true to their recordings, their live harmonies the whole time were excellent. Each one of them was impeccably matched in their vocal range and power. It was hard to stay focused on the music, as a never-ending daydream would hit you square in the face. Listeners really got disoriented in it all. It felt wonderful.
Eventually, all of that daydreaming came to an end when each of the musicians of The Ballroom Thieves really began to scream. Devin stood up red in the face with his yells. I loved it when Calin sung to calm things down. She was totally in her element. I think she was seductively winning us over with her voice and her ever so slight rocking of the hips and arms, gracefully as always. They shifted gears a bit with a form of harmonic rock blues. Even the screams were blues-like at this point. Calin’s hair was a flowing as she worked her cello and in pairing with Martin’s contorted faces as he sang. It was too good not to watch.
Towards the end of the night, the best part of the evening came when the orchestra returned and the band went on to play the Game of Thrones theme song. I almost lost my mind at this point. By the old gods and the new, I was in heaven. All the nerds rejoiced. Even some of the drunken ladies loved it too. All in all, The Ballroom Thieves and MYRO honored music well that night. If this sounds good to you, I recommend you go see these folks in action. They are worth every penny.