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RocknRollCupcake: 11/13/2008

15 Nov

Gabriel Kahane at the 400 BarRunning over Gabriel Kahane‘s biography begs the question- What is he doing at the 400 Bar? The venerable rock n’ roll hole doesn’t often play host to acts endorsed by Brad Mehldau or whose previous projects include a “country-infused retelling of the story of the Prophet Mohammed”. It was in fact, that incongrous mix that was the draw to the 400, especially the promise of hearing Kahane’s Craigslistlieder, a cycle of songs based on random Craigslist posts. Kahane played two of the 8 songs, one as an encore, and his confident, light piano playing well accompanied his cabaret-inflected baritone to create songs that were absurd, powerful and human.

Touring in support of his self titled debut album, Kahane spent most of the time playing with his band of multi-instrumentalists and they worked best with songs like “Underberg” whose plaintive arrangement beautifully encapsulated the collapse and love in the lyrics. The backing group, sounding like Sufjan Stevens‘ orchestra (with whom Kahane has worked) or locally, Spaghetti Western String Company, were so obviously talented that the orchestration often out-shone Kahane as the band leader and overtook the astute lyrics. After the show, when asked about his musical background, Kahane was vague, saying he had studied at Brown and his father was a classical musician- there is no doubt that he is talented- but, he said conspiratorially, “Some of the ringers in the band, they, they’ve got some serious classical music chops.” Keep it all in balance and watch this pop composer to make a mark, by himself and with others.

Gabriel Kahane is available now on iTunes, Amie Street, and eMusic.

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