Mike and Ruthy, AA Bondy, and Elvis Perkins in Dearland at Colony Cafe

I know some people don’t like to go to concerts on weeknights (I used to be one of them), but I must say, I’ve been going to quite a few and the work week goes by faster and sure is a lot more fun! Yeah, I’m a little tired the next day, but it’s so worth it! A lot of great shows have been falling on weekdays, and I can’t resist the opportunity to go see them. I’ve written about past weeknight shows such as The Hunger Mountain Boys and The Wiyos at Iron Horse Music Hall and The Pine Leaf Boys at The Rosendale Cafe. The latest case in point? A delightful triple bill featuring Mike and Ruthy, AA Bondy, and Elvis Perkins in Dearland at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock this past Wednesday night.

Mike and Ruthy are Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda of the Mammals. They recently got married and have embarked on a new musical path, playing as a duo. Their debut cd together, “The Honeymoon Agenda,” was recorded by producer Jose Ayerve as a wedding gift. Mike and Ruthy were the first act on Wednesday night, and I loved their performance. Their music is refreshing, and as people, they exude a certain sweetness. Their vocals harmonize nicely with each other, in addition to sounding great individually. I really enjoyed their set, it was a nice opening for the evening.

AA Bondy played next. His music is heartbreaking, yet incredibly healing at the same time. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform a number of times, and I especially loved his phrasing on Wednesday night, both instrumentally and vocally. Bondy’s songwriting is quite poetic, and there’s something about the sparseness of a lone man with his guitar and harmonica on stage that accentuates that fact.

Elvis Perkins was last on the night’s program. He was playing with his band, “Elvis Perkins in Dearland.” The band’s sound is a fascinating and interesting blend… It’s sorta like 60’s inspired pop with a rock edge, an indie folk transfusion, and a hint of some old-time country undertones for good measure. Oh, and some marching band too, can’t forget to mention marching band… The drummer, Nicholas Kinsey, busted out a marching band drum for a couple of the songs and proceded to jump around the stage like a madman while playing the thing. It was awesome. The rest of Dearland is a talented crew as well: Wyndham Boylan-Garnett on keys, harmonium, guitar, vocals, and trombone, Brigham Brough on bass, guitar, and vocals, and of course, Elvis Perkins on guitar and vocals. There were also some flutes, tambourines, and whistles thrown in their somewhere… To confuse matters even more, a few of the songs had a slight 90’s punk sound to them (think Nirvana), while on one of two others, Elvis Perkins’ voice reminded me of Tim Buckley. Go figure. Their sound is truly unidentifiable. Just when you think you can classify them, they switch things up and you’re left a bit bewildered. All of the members of “Elvis Perkins in Dearland” are very odd (but in a good way!), and Elvis Perkins is the strangest and quirkiest of them all.

I had a great time listening to all three acts. To anyone out there who’s hesitant about going to mid-week shows, unless you’re a bus driver for school children, a computer programmer, or a construction worker (those are the first three jobs that came to mind which would most likely be disastrous to perform while drowsy), get out there and enjoy! I have been, and will continue to do so.

For your viewing and listening pleasure:

Mike and Ruthy: Beg and Borrow

Mike and Ruthy: Another Dawn, Another Day

AA Bondy: John The Revelator

AA Bondy: You Got To Die

AA Bondy: Vice Rag

Elvis Perkins in Dearland: Shampoo

Elvis Perkins in Dearland: All the Night Without Love

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