Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hot Club Sandwich

Fans of Gypsy jazz got a rare treat this weekend when Hot Club Sandwich played a gig at Amnesia in the Mission. The Seattle-area band was in town to perform at the wedding of David Grisman's daughter, but the group managed to squeeze in a lively Friday night show at this laid-back bar on Valencia St.

The five-piece band (two guitars, upright bass, mandolin, and fiddle) played a number of tunes from their new CD Green Room, which I recommend highly. All the guys in the band have solid chops, and the level of musicianship is high. Our good friend James Schneider plays upright bass in the band, and was in fine form.

After the show ended, the band and a loose group of friends and fans gathered for food and drink at Radio Habana Social Club -- a tiny Mission bar that makes up in character what it lacks in square footage. With surreal pop art festooning the walls and ceiling, delicious sangria, great Cuban cuisine, and a friendly expat crowd, the club is a real gem.

Before long, guitarist Kevin Connor had persuaded the staff to green-light an impromptu acoustic gig in the back of the bar -- and for the next hour or so, the Radio Habana Social Club's denizens were treated to a blistering jam session in a salon-style setting dripping with atmosphere. It was a memorable evening.

Left to right: Violinist Tim Wetmiller and guitarist Kevin Connor.

Left to right: Guitarist Ray Wood, violinist Tim Wetmiller, guitarist Kevin Connor, and mandolinist Matt Sircely.