We started the night at Montage without knowing anything about the band. The room was packed, standing room only, and it was about thirty degrees warmer than outside. Their air conditioning was not up to the task so they had the back door open and a large fan whirling away. Christian Sands Trio, piano, bass and drums, was tearing it up with a big back beat and showman-like piano swells that had the crowd cheering. They brought it way down for “Deep Purple” and still had the room in the palm of their hands as they had us with the melody. Sands does two solo piano sets at Hatch Recital Hall tonight.
Sonidos Unidos, the popular local Latin music band, had twelve people on the small RG&E tent stage and I counted seven strings on the bass player’s instrument. They always sound good.
It wasn’t until the third song that I realized there was no bass player in the trio at the Lutheran Church. Kuala Trio held themselves together with the space around their perfectly placed parts. Mostly slow, even mournful at times, and always pretty in a sad sort of way. They mixed European folk with classical and jazz and played like a chamber ensemble, at times just sax or sax and drums or long stretches of piano and drums. They were each such great players they made their instruments sound like a million bucks.
We pushed our earplugs in and stepped into the big tent for a few songs by Moon Hooch. Two tenor sax players darting around the stage like professional wrestlers with a great dancehall drummer. They augmented this sound with some keyboard programming and got the party going on a Sunday night.