American Babies, ALO & Ryan Montbleau Band @ Highline Balllroom – April 24
Words and Photos: Andrew Blackstein
The Ryan Montbleau Band, ALO and American Babies entered the Highline Ballroom on April 24th with an apparent excitement to be playing before a New York City audience. This Wednesday night gig saw the American Babies open the bill. Led by Tommy Hamilton’s insightful songwriting approach, the Babies showcased a vibrant mesh of thick drum driven improvisation that displayed David Butler’s versatility. The 55-minute opening slot allowed guitarists Nick Bockrath and Hamilton to feed off each others’ parts with great energy and precision. The Babies are working on a studio record that will be out this fall, the new tunes should be a welcome addition to their already impressive live show.
[All Photos by Andrew Blackstein]
After a quick turnaround, California’s ALO was greeted by many audience members who shared their recent Jam Cruise vacation. Overhearing a dozen different requests to “get back on the boat” or “I can’t wait ’till next year’s Jam Cruise” proved that the power of music and a shared experience can long after be recalled for present pleasure. ALO shined on this night from the opening notes of Maria to their cover of Prince’s 1999. Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz’s acoustic guitar work has the ability to range from a Grateful Dead styled funk, to a Beach Boys infused rhythm. Zach Gill and Steve Adams sported smiles as they took turns on lead vocals. Having the first few rows of fans singing along probably helped those smiles move wider as well.