Folk Music on Houston Street

June 24th, 2010

Sam Amidon – Mercury Lounge – June 23, 2010

Sam Amidon - Mercury Lounge - June 23, 2010
Despite his resemblance to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, there is something anachronistic about Sam Amidon. And with his bandmate’s occasionally squealing electric guitar, there was something almost unsettling about hearing centuries-old music come from Amidon. That tension provided the backbone for the library-silent crowd that hung on his every word and banjo pluck last night at Mercury Lounge.

Amidon’s set was multifaceted: Led first by his music, he also mixed in one part humor and one part performance art. Whether it was a story about little people on a rubber-band bridge talking in a “strange dialect” or holding a tai chi pose, Amidon used many different things to play with those in the audience, and it was just when he’d gotten the biggest laugh that he’d abruptly start his next song. Comedic timing is a talent rarely used in a music venue, and Amidon made it work without just trying to tell jokes.

The bottom line is that Amidon’s music was stunning (at its best when it had a quicker bluegrass vibe to it), brimming with musical and lyrical style that hearkened back to early 20th-century hymns (like “When the sun and the moon shine there in yonder sea”). While simple, Amidon’s unique voice drew in an exceptionally large crowd for an early show on a Wednesday, and deservedly so. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |